I first visited Santa Fe in 1989, when I presented a paper at the
annual meeting of the American Ethnological Society. While
passing through a crowd of fellow conventioneers, I overheard a
remark I would often recall when I went back to live there the following
year. Mingling outside the art galleries and boutiques lining San Francisco
Street, a woman turned to her companions and observed, in a tone suggest-
ing a combination of wry amusement and mild embarrassment, that in
Santa Fe, ‘‘you can hardly tell the anthropologists from the tourists.’’ It is
still not entirely clear to me what particular commonalities were being
remarked on, though at this point I could hazard a guess. A student at the
time, I was working at the intersection of several academic disciplines
(anthropology, history, literature), and it had never occurred to me that one
might distinguish, on the basis of appearance, anthropologists from anyone
else. But regardless of its ambiguity, the observation intrigued me in its
suggestion of unusually blurred boundaries between anthropologists and
other travelers, an academic discipline and a broader public, and the acad-
emy and the marketplace.
Apart from not wanting to be mistaken for tourists, there are a number
of reasons why anthropologists might well be disconcerted by Santa Fe, a
city where one is confronted with a striking degree of popular enthusiasm
for ideas and sensibilities historically associated with anthropology and an-
thropologists. Santa Fe, marketed to tourists and convention-goers as ‘‘the
City Di√erent’’ and a ‘‘city of three cultures,’’ is a place where art galleries
specialize in the ‘‘tribal’’ and the ‘‘primitive’’ and advertise ‘‘ethnographic
weekends’’ and ‘‘the art of ethnographic peoples.’’ If, in other locales,
where disdain for cultural di√erence of any kind remains alive and well,
many anthropologists still imagine themselves rare specialists in the exotic,
in Santa Fe they find themselves in plenty of company. If they have mixed
feelings about this company, the reasons are more complicated than a fear
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