Based on his first fieldwork in Ghana in the 1960s, the author recounts a story of being offered Confederate US banknotes for conversion, and uses this story to recount how he funded his initial period of anthropological research through money changing and money lending. He made quite a good living this way, so much so that he began to feel guilty about amassing such wealth. So, he spread it around, hiring research assistants. Instead of discharging the debt he felt he owed, however, this only increased it, as he became positioned as a big man who was expected to redistribute wealth to the people. Such grey zones in fieldwork spotlight the ethical quandaries of credit, debt and money in the anthropological encounter as well as in the making of the modern world.
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