Back during our third week of class, I suggested there were (at least) six trajectories by which one became an anthropologist of America—
1) the career narrative (studying the United States from graduate school onwards)
2) the conversion narrative (cutting your ethnographic teeth elsewhere and then abandoning that region or nation-state for a career focused mostly or exclusively on the United States thereafter)
3) the single case narrative (undertaking some kind of single study in the United States)
4) the analytic afterthought narrative (foregrounding the investigation of problems and practices that happen to take place in the United States)
5) the intertextual narrative (treating America as an object “good to think with” in illustrating dynamics explored in other sites and scales of analysis)
6) the comparative narrative (positioning oneself as an anthropologist of more than one region or nation-state of which the United States is but one in your multi-sited, transnational and/or comparative fieldwork experiences)
Obviously these trajectories are not mutually exclusive. Nor is my list exhaustive. But they do represent what I see as the dominant intellectual styles and tactics involved in the making of the anthropologist of the United States.