Shelly Errington is a Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Shelly doodled in class in her youth, continuing the practice in graduate school and as
a faculty member during meetings and lectures at Institutes and Centers. Her main influences,
absorbed unconsciously, are James Thurber, Jules Feiffer, and Saul Steinberg. Her amusing line
drawings, often gently ironic, illustrate quotes from great thinkers, make abstractions visible, and illustrate theories. They owe more to informational graphic designers than they do to
conventional cartoons or comics, so she prefers to call them simply “amusing lines.” Her amusing lines have been published in several venues, most recently in Gastronomica: the
Journal of Critical Food Studies (she stopped after two years, because she ran out of food-
Aside from drawing, Shelly is a photographer, filmmaker, and anthropologist. The
photographs are of the genre called Intimate Landscapes. Collaborating with the Mexican
cinematographer José Luis Reza, she has produced and directed a documentary film about
artisans in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, called “The Work of Art” (El Oficio del Arte), which is being
entered into film festivals during 2020. And she is an anthropologist whose main research was
Indonesia, Mexico, and, opportunistically and briefly wherever she visited in the world. Her
most recent book is The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress (1998),
and her most significant recent article is “Entangled Subjects and (Art) Objects,” a chapter in the
Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology (2017).