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The Israel Levin Senior Center in Venice, California

The Israel Levin Senior Center in Venice, California

"The decision to include myself [as part of the story I was telling] was immensely liberating. I was able to expose and explore my conflicts and choices instead of presenting them as hardened, closed states or facts; I could unfold them as processes, resonant with elements originating from the research situation and my own personal reactions. It felt more honest, deeper, and finally simpler than any anthropological work I had ever done. I felt more of my reactions being used, wholistically, the way we are taught to study societies. I was thinking with my viscera, feeling with my brain, learning from all my history and hunches and senses. This notion of wholistic knowledge was part of the lecture I was used to giving my students when introducing them to the idea of participant-observation, but it felt as though I was practicing it for the first time, and I could never imagine trusting my own or anyone else's work as fully again without some signposts as to how the interpretations were arrived at and how the anthropologist felt while doing so."


1. Barbara, Myerhoff, ""Surviving Stories," Remembered Lives: the Work of Ritual, Storytelling, and Growing Older, ed. Marc Kaminsky (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992) 294-5.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "The Israel Levin Senior Center in Venice, California." (Viewed on February 11, 2016) <>.


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