This paper presents part of my current work in progress on the micro- and macro-processes of leave-taking in Nepal. The paper will eventually be one quarter of a book, tentatively entitled Anthropologies of Language: Lessons from the Field, that I am co-authoring with Alessandro Duranti, Paul Garrett, and Justin Richland. Linguistic anthropologists have paid a great deal of attention to greetings, which do indeed accomplish a substantial amount socially, but scholars have paid relatively little attention to how individuals have taken their leave from one another in different communities of practice. Drawing on three decades of interactions with villagers in Junigau, Nepal, including experiences from my most recent visit in 2010 when I traveled to the village with the intention of saying goodbye, at least for a long while, to the people I have come to care for deeply, I reflect upon leave-taking from several different perspectives and argue close analysis of these processes can be extremely illuminating.
Laura Ahearn, Rutgers University