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The Hau of Theory: The Kept-Gift of Theory Itself in American Anthropology



In this essay, I deploy anthropological theories of exchange to trace contemporary practices of theory exchange in the academy, most specifically in anthropology. I examine participation in various sites of theory exchange from classroom to conference, from citer to cited, and from writer to reader and back again. By explicitly deploying the theoretical toolkit of anthropology that we have at our disposal, we can and should simultaneously examine our own knowledge production practices with more deliberateness even as we seek to understand our subjects' varied worldviews.