A postmodern romp through the rain forest, Equatoria is both travelogue and cultural critique. On the right-hand pages, the Prices chronicle their 1990 artifact-collecting expedition up the rivers of French Guiana, and on the left, stage an accompanying sideshow that enlists the help of Jonathan Swift, Joseph Conrad, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Alex Haley, James Clifford, Eric Hobsbawn, Germaine Greer, and even the noted anthropologist James Goodfellow. Charged with acquiring objects for a new museum, the Prices kept a log of their day-to-day adventures and misadventures, constantly confronting their ambivalence about the act of collecting, the very possibility of exhibiting cultures and the future of anthropology. Probing the nature of museums, collecting, and power relations between "us" and "them," the Prices raise many troubling questions.
Richard and Sally Price have been learning and writing about Afro-Caribbean life for 30 years. Richard Price's most recent books are First-Time and Alabi's World. Sally Price's publications include Co-Wives and Calabashes and Primitive Art in Civilized Places. Together they have written Afro-American Arts of the Suriname Rain Forest, Two Evenings in Saramaka and Stedman's Surinam. They have taught at Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of Minnesota, Stanford, Princeton and the University of Paris.
"Richard and Sally Price are the very model of the modern anthropologist, and Equatoria is appropriately state-of-the-art. . . . The ethnographer's mandate is to maintain a low profile, and this the Prices do faithfully, though it doesn't prevent them from leaving behind, as a sense of themselves, a Cheshire Cat whiff of whimsy." -- Boston Globe
"Equatoria takes us on a moral journey along a continuum of immorality called museum collecting. Sometimes pained, sometimes ironic, always insightful. The Prices' offer an ethical tour of the ethnic . . . a journey that anyone interested in turning the lived and the lively into the dead and desiccated ought to take, at least once." -- Brackette F. Williams, University of Arizona
"Scholarly, up-to-date, and sophisticated in its understanding of the many fields in which it is implicated, [Equatoria] is a deft way of opening up a lot of thorny issues in current debates . . . where anthropology, racism, postcoloniality, surrealism, and writing overlap. . . . This is an unusual and strikingly well done text which will intrigue and stoke the fires of key debates in cultural criticism, cultural doubt." -- Michael Taussig, Columbia University
"The latest in a series of volumes by the Prices that is proving to be the most interesting and most sustained body of experimental work in anthropology. Equatoria operates through an ingenious format that calibrates travel narrative to pastiche. In so doing, the Prices deliver in their account of an ethnographic mission upriver an ironic and irresistable meditation on collecting as an activity through which the sign of the primitive perpetually emerges in modernist, and for that matter, postmodernist, discourses." -- George E. Marcus, Department of Anthropology, Rice University
"Everything conspires to remind the Prices of the debate raging over Western museums as theaters of cultural hegemony. From the first entry of the Prices' journal virtually to the last, they bravely reflect on the meaning of their enterprise, given current perceptions of the curatorial project as one part of humanity collecting the rest." -- The New York Times Book Review
"Equatoria is a courageously self-revealing patrol though this intellectual territory." -- Times Literary Supplement
"Over the last two decades, Richard and Sally Price have succeeded in creating an oeuvre unparalled in the field of Afro-American studies since the days of Melville and Francis Herskovits." -- H. U. E. Thoden van Velzen, Amsterdam School for Social Research