The Body Impolitic is a critical study of tradition, not merely as an ornament of local and national heritage, but also as a millstone around the necks of those who are condemned to produce it.
Michael Herzfeld takes us inside a rich variety of small-town Cretan artisans' workshops to show how apprentices are systematically thwarted into learning by stealth and guile. This harsh training reinforces a stereotype of artisans as rude and uncultured. Moreover, the same stereotypes that marginalize artisans locally also operate to marginalize Cretans within the Greek nation and Greece itself within the international community. What Herzfeld identifies as "the global hierarchy of value" thus frames the nation's ancient monuments and traditional handicrafts as evidence of incurable "backwardness."
Herzfeld's sensitive observations offer an intimately grounded way of understanding the effects of globalization and of one of its most visible offshoots, the heritage industry, on the lives of ordinary people in many parts of the world today.
Crete and James is a collection of letters exchanged by James A. Garfield and Lucretia Randolph Garfield during the mid-nineteenth century. Of the 1,200 or so letters written, the 300 included this work chronicle their courtship and marriage, and also discuss the Civil War, political affairs, and the details of daily life during the years 1853-1881. In them, we watch Crete grow from a shy girl into a self-confident woman who guides her husband in social and political matters. Through James’s flamboyant yet scholarly style, and Lucretia’s detailed, perceptive insights, we come to know them as though they were our close friends. Through their correspondence, the reader also meets the many people involved in their lives. Crete and James will be of great interest to those studying women’s history.
For Somerville this was a kind of pilgrimage, a journey unlike any he had undertaken in 20 years of travel-writing. It was an expedition where he traded the usual comforts and certainties for a real physical and mental challenge, with no mobile phone or other technological aids. The only plan for his journey was to begin in the East at Easter and finish at Whitsun in the extreme West, at the Monastery of the Golden Step, whose gold step, legend says, can only be seen by those who have purged themselves into purity. During his 300-mile walk, he tackled four mountain ranges, high slopes and the numerous gorges of the West. Speaking only basic Greek and trying to follow a poorly way-marked path, he had to rely on his own instincts when climbing mountain passes and crossing high plateaux, farming and shepherding country, where villages are scarce and each night's accommodation was uncertain. He saw a Crete few ever encounter.
Known by the Greeks as ‘Megalónisos,’ or the ‘Great Island,’ the island of Crete has a long and varied history. Steeped in historical and cultural heritage, Crete is the most visited of the Greek islands. It has also been of paramount strategic importance for thousands of years, thanks to its location close to the junction of three continents and at the heart of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. For much of its long history, the island has been ruled by foreign invaders. Under the rule of the Mycenaeans, Dorians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Ottoman Turks and, briefly, the Third Reich, Cretans, who are fierce lovers of freedom, have adapted to living with their conquerors and to the influence of foreign rule on their culture. In a dazzling contrast to these three thousand years of domination, we see two periods of the island’s independence: the vibrant apogee of the Minoan civilization and the brief period of autonomy before union with Greece at the beginning of the twentieth century.
To guide us through this spectacular history, Chris Moorey, who has lived in Crete for over twenty years, provides an engaging and lively account of the island spanning from the Stone Age to the present day. A History of Crete steps in to fill a gap in scholarship on this fascinating island, providing the first complete history of Crete to be published for over twenty years, and the first ever that is written with a wide readership in mind.
While scholars have long acknowledged the importance of artistic relationships between ancient Greece and the Near East, recent discourse on multi-culturalism and diversity has ignited new debate over these issues both among scholars and in the broader public. Charges and countercharges of historical revisionism and systematic undervaluation of the debt owed by ancient Greece to the Near East and Africa have polarized the debate and obscured the actual evidence. In Imports and Immigrants, Gail L. Hoffman explores the primary archaeological basis for such discussions, namely the preserved physical remains, providing a foundation for constructive discussion of the relations and exchanges between ancient Greece and the Near East.
Drawing together all the evidence and arguments for Near Eastern immigrants in Crete, Hoffman demonstrates there are basic problems with the accepted interpretations. Evidence of continued technical expertise casts doubt on the necessity of reintroduction, while careful scrutiny of the evidence supporting immigrant craftsmen reveals many inadequacies in the currently accepted analyses.
Imports and Immigrants identifies the need for reassessing all dimensions of the question of artistic relationships between ancient Greece and other regions of the Aegean basin and suggests new avenues of inquiry in this important debate. The volume also reassesses arguments made for the presence of Near Eastern immigrants in Crete. This book includes a catalogue indispensable for future work on these issues and illustrations of most of the known imports to Crete.
Gail L. Hoffman is Associate Professor of Greek Art and Archaeology, Department of Classics, Yale University.
In Subversive Archaism, Michael Herzfeld explores how individuals and communities living at the margins of the modern nation-state use nationalist discourses of tradition to challenge state authority under both democratic and authoritarian governments. Through close attention to the claims and experiences of mountain shepherds in Greece and urban slum dwellers in Thailand, Herzfeld shows how these subversive archaists draw on national histories and past polities to claim legitimacy for their defiance of bureaucratic authority. Although vilified by government authorities as remote, primitive, or dangerous—often as preemptive justification for violent repression—these groups are not revolutionaries and do not reject national identity, but they do question the equation of state and nation. Herzfeld explores the political strengths and vulnerabilities of their deployment of heritage and the weaknesses they expose in the bureaucratic and ethnonational state in an era of accelerated globalization.