Since World War I, the Natuurkundig Laboratorium has been a crucial center of industrial research for Philips, one of the world’s largest electronics companies. In this study, Marc J. de Vries demonstrates how the history of the laboratory can help us understand important changes in the production and uses of technology in the twentieth century.
Breaking their study into three periods, each characterized by different research goals and approaches, the authors augment this general history with detailed case studies. The result will be of value to anyone studying the history and philosophy of technology.
In The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru, Ignacio López-Calvo rises above the political emergence of the Fujimori phenomenon and uses politics and literature to provide one of the first comprehensive looks at how the Japanese assimilated and inserted themselves into Peruvian culture. Through contemporary writers’ testimonies, essays, fiction, and poetry, López-Calvo constructs an account of the cultural formation of Japanese migrant communities. With deftly sensitive interviews and comments, he portrays the difficulties of being a Japanese Peruvian. Despite a few notable examples, Asian Peruvians have been excluded from a sense of belonging or national identity in Peru, which provides López-Calvo with the opportunity to record what the community says about their own cultural production. In so doing, López-Calvo challenges fixed notions of Japanese Peruvian identity.
The Affinity of the Eye scrutinizes authors such as José Watanabe, Fernando Iwasaki, Augusto Higa, Doris Moromisato, and Carlos Yushimito, discussing their literature and their connections to the past, present, and future. Whether these authors push against or accept what it means to be Japanese Peruvians, they enrich the images and feelings of that experience. Through a close reading of literary and cultural productions, López-Calvo’s analysis challenges and reframes the parameters of being Nikkei in Peru.
Covering both Japanese issues in Peru and Peruvian issues in Japan, the book is more than a compendium of stories, characters, and titles. It proves the fluid, enriching, and ongoing relationship that exists between Peru and Japan.
Judith Farquhar’s innovative study of medicine and popular culture in modern China reveals the thoroughly political and historical character of pleasure. Ranging over a variety of cultural terrains--fiction, medical texts, film and television, journalism, and observations of clinics and urban daily life in Beijing—Appetites challenges the assumption that the mundane enjoyments of bodily life are natural and unvarying. Farquhar analyzes modern Chinese reflections on embodied existence to show how contemporary appetites are grounded in history. From eating well in improving economic times to memories of the late 1950s famine, from the flavors of traditional Chinese medicine to modernity’s private sexual passions, this book argues that embodiment in all its forms must be invented and sustained in public reflections about personal and national life. As much at home in science studies and social theory as in the details of life in Beijing, this account uses anthropology, cultural studies, and literary criticism to read contemporary Chinese life in a materialist and reflexive mode. For both Maoist and market reform periods, this is a story of high culture in appetites, desire in collective life, and politics in the body and its dispositions.
At Home Among Strangers presents an engrossing portrait of the Deaf community as a complex, nationwide social network that offers unique kinship to deaf people across the country. Schein depicts in striking detail the history and culture of the Deaf community, its structural underpinnings, the intricacies of family life, issues of education and rehabilitation, economic factors, and interaction with the medical and legal professions. This book is a fascinating, provocative exploration of the Deaf community in the United States for scholars and lay people alike.
Between Foreign and Family explores the impact of inconsistent rules of ethnic inclusion and exclusion on the economic and social lives of Korean Americans and Korean Chinese living in Seoul. These actors are part of a growing number of return migrants, members of an ethnic diaspora who migrate “back” to the ancestral homeland from which their families emigrated. Drawing on ethnographic observations and interview data, Helene K. Lee highlights the “logics of transnationalism” that shape the relationships between these return migrants and their employers, co-workers, friends, family, and the South Korean state.
While Koreanness marks these return migrants as outsiders who never truly feel at home in the United States and China, it simultaneously traps them into a liminal space in which they are neither fully family, nor fully foreign in South Korea. Return migration reveals how ethnic identity construction is not an indisputable and universal fact defined by blood and ancestry, but a contested and uneven process informed by the interplay of ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, gender, and history.
Over the course of 130 years, Italian American Catholics in New York City have developed a varied repertoire of devotional art and architecture to create community-based sacred spaces in their homes and neighborhoods. These spaces exist outside of but in relationship to the consecrated halls of local parishes and are sites of worship in conventionally secular locations. Such ethnic building traditions and urban ethnic landscapes have long been neglected by all but a few scholars. Joseph Sciorra’s Built with Faith offers a place-centric, ethnographic study of the religious material culture of New York City’s Italian American Catholics.
Sciorra spent thirty-five years researching these community art forms and interviewing Italian immigrant and U.S.-born Catholics. By documenting the folklife of this group, Sciorra reveals how Italian Americans in the city use expressive culture and religious practices to transform everyday urban space into unique, communal sites of ethnically infused religiosity. The folk aesthetics practiced by individuals within their communities are integral to understanding how art is conceptualized, implemented, and esteemed outside of museum and gallery walls. Yard shrines, sidewalk altars, Nativity presepi, Christmas house displays, a stone-studded grotto, and neighborhood processions—often dismissed as kitsch or prized as folk art—all provide examples of the vibrant and varied ways contemporary Italian Americans use material culture, architecture, and public ceremonial display to shape the city’s religious and cultural landscapes.
Written in an accessible style that will appeal to general readers and scholars alike, Sciorra’s unique study contributes to our understanding of how value and meaning are reproduced at the confluences of everyday life.
Joseph Sciorra is the director of Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College. He is the editor of Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives and co-editor of Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women's Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora.
Offers a new model for interpreting popular national culture through Uruguay's carnival theater troupes.
The murgas are troupes of performers, musicians, writers, and creators who, during Montevideo's Carnival, perform on the tablados, temporary stages built in the neighborhoods of Uruguay's capital city each year. Throughout the period of Uruguay's subjection to a brutal dictatorship and in the following era of "democratization," the murgas, envisioned originally as popular theater, were transformed into a symbol of social resistance, celebrated by many and perceived by others as menacing and subversive.
Focusing on the cultural practices of the lower classes and more specifically on the processes and productions of the murgas, Gustavo Remedi's Carnival Theater is a deeply thoughtful consideration of Uruguayan society's identity crisis and subsequent redefinition in the wake of the authoritarian-bureaucratic-technocratic regimes of the 1970s. A revealing work of cultural criticism, the book proposes a new set of criteria for the interpretation and critique of national culture.
Gustavo Remedi is associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Trinity College.
Amy Ferlazzo teaches at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Black Friday. The War on Christmas. Miracle on 34th Street and Elf. From shopping malls and Fox News to movie theaters, Christmas no longer solely celebrates to the birth of Christ. Considering the holiday in its global context, Christmas journeys from its historical origins to its modern incarnation as a global commercial event, stopping along the way to look at the controversies and traditions of the celebratory day.
Delving into the long story of this unifying but also divisive holiday, Tara Moore describes the evolution of Christmas and the deep traditions that bind a culture to its version of it. She probes the debates that have long accompanied the season—from questions of the actual date of Christ’s birth to frictions between the sacred and the secular—and discusses the characters associated with the holiday’s celebration, including Saint Nicholas, the Magi, Scrooge, and Krampus. She also explores how customs such as Christmas trees, feasting, and gift giving first emerged and became central facets of the holiday, while also examining how Christmas has been portrayed in culture—from the literary works of Charles Dickens to the yearly bout of holiday films, television specials, traditional carols, and modern tracks. Ultimately, Moore reveals, Christmas’s longevity has depended on its ability to evolve. Packed with illustrations, Christmas is a fascinating look at the holiday we only think we know.
Monsters, ghosts, the supernatural, the fantastic, the mysterious. These are not usually considered the “stuff” of modernism. More often they are regarded as inconsequential to the study of the modern, or, at best, seen as representative of traditional beliefs that are overcome and left behind in the transformation toward modernity. In Civilization and Monsters Gerald Figal asserts that discourse on the fantastic was at the heart of the historical configuration of Japanese modernity—that the representation of the magical and mysterious played an integral part in the production of modernity beginning in Meiji Japan (1868–1912). After discussing the role of the fantastic in everyday Japan at the eve of the Meiji period, Figal draws new connections between folklorists, writers, educators, state ideologues, and policymakers, all of whom crossed paths in a contest over supernatural terrain. He shows the ways in which a determined Meiji state was engaged in a battle to suppress, denigrate, manipulate, or reincorporate folk belief as part of an effort toward the consolidation of a modern national culture. Modern medicine and education, functioning as a means for the state to exercise its power, redefined folk practices as a source of evil. Diverse local spirits were supplanted by a new Japanese Spirit, embodied by the newly constituted emperor, the supernatural source of the nation’s strength. The monsters of folklore were identified, catalogued, and characterized according to a new regime of modern reason. But whether engaged to support state power and forge a national citizenry or to critique the arbitrary nature of that power, the fantastic, as Figal maintains, is the constant condition of Japanese modernity in all its contradictions. Furthermore, he argues, modernity in general is born of fantasy in ways that have scarcely been recognized. Bringing unexplored and provocative new ideas to the Japan specialist, Civilization and Monsters will also appeal to readers concerned with issues of modernity in general.
Svetlana BOYM Harvard University Press, 1994 Library of Congress DK266.4.B69 1994 | Dewey Decimal 947.08
Boym provides a view of Russia that is historically informed, replete with unexpected detail, and stamped with authority. Alternating analysis with personal accounts of Russian life, she conveys the foreignness of Russia and examines its peculiar conceptions of private life and common good, of Culture and Trash, of sincerity and banality.
Brenton D. Faber’s spirited account of an academic consultant’s journey through banks, ghost towns, cemeteries, schools, and political campaigns explores the tenuous relationships between cultural narratives and organizational change.
Blending Faber’s firsthand experiences in the study and implementation of change with theoretical discussions of identity, agency, structure, and resistance within contexts of change, this innovative bookis among the first such communications studies to profile a scholar who is also a full participant in the projects. Drawing on theories of Michel Foucault, Anthony Giddens, and Pierre Bourdieu, Faber notes that change takes place in the realm of narrative, in the stories people tell.
Faber argues that an organization’s identity is created through internal stories. When the organization’s internal stories are consistent with its external stories, the organization’s identity is consistent and productive. When internal stories contradict the external stories, however, the organization’s identity becomes discordant. Change is the process of realigning an organization’s discordant narratives.
Faber discusses the case studies of a change management plan he wrote for a city-owned cemetery, a cultural change project he created for a downtown trade school, and a political campaign he assisted that focused on creating social change. He also includes detailed reflections on practical ways academics can become more involved in their communities as agents of progressive social change. Featuring six illustrations, Faber’s unique study demonstrates in both style and substance how stories work as agents of change.
Inquiries into marital patterns can serve as an effective lens to analyze social structures and material cultures not only on the question of sexuality, but also on the nature of a private citizen’s engagement with state and law. Through ethnographic research in courtrooms, community,and kinship spaces, the author outlines the transformations in material culture and political economy that have led to renewed negotiations on the institution of marriage in North India, especially in legal spaces. Tracing organically evolving notions of sexual consent and legal subjectivity, Courting Desire underlines how non-normative decisions regarding marriage become possible in a region otherwise known for high instances of honor killings and rigid kinship structures. Aspirations for consensual relationships have led to a tentative attempt to forge relationships that are non-normative but grudgingly approved after state intervention. The book traces this nascent and under-explored trend in the North Indian landscape.
Our conception of cultures and cultural change has altered dramatically in recent decades: no longer do we understand cultures as isolated units; rather, we see them as hybrid formations constantly engaged in a multidirectional process of exchange and influence with other cultures. Yet the very process by which we represent these cultural transfers is itself subject to cultural, political, and ideological conditions that affect our understanding, acknowledgment, and representation of them. Built around concrete examples of controversial representations of cultural transfer from Asia, the Arab world, and Europe, Cultural Transfers in Dispute presents a critical self-reflection on the scholarly practices that underpin our attempts to study and describe other cultures.
Cultures of the City explores the cultural mediation of relationships between people and urban spaces in Latin/o America and how these mediations shape the identities of cities and their residents.
Addressing a broad spectrum of phenomena and disciplinary approaches, the contributors to this volume analyze lived urban experiences and their symbolic representation in cultural texts. Individual chapters explore Havana in popular music; Mexico City in art; Buenos Aires, Recife, and Salvador in film; and Asuncion and Buenos Aires in literature. Others focus on particular events, conditions, and practices of urban life including the Havana book fair, mass transit in Bogotá, the restaurant industry in Los Angeles, the media in Detroit, Andean festivals in Lima, and the photographic record of a visit by members of the Zapatista Liberation Army to Mexico City.
The contributors examine identity and the sense of place and belonging that connect people to urban environments, relating these to considerations of ethnicity, social and economic class, gender, everyday life, and cultural practices. They also consider history and memory and the making of places through the iterative performance of social practices. As such, places are works in progress, a condition that is particularly evident in contemporary Latin/o American cities where the opposition between local and global influences is a prominent facet of daily life.
These core issues are theorized further in an afterword by Abril Trigo, who takes the chapters as a point of departure for a discussion of the dialectics of identity in the Latin/o American global city.
Challenging conventional understandings of time and memory, Christopher T. Nelson examines how contemporary Okinawans have contested, appropriated, and transformed the burdens and possibilities of the past. Nelson explores the work of a circle of Okinawan storytellers, ethnographers, musicians, and dancers deeply engaged with the legacies of a brutal Japanese colonial era, the almost unimaginable devastation of the Pacific War, and a long American military occupation that still casts its shadow over the islands. The ethnographic research that Nelson conducted in Okinawa in the late 1990s—and his broader effort to understand Okinawans’ critical and creative struggles—was inspired by his first visit to the islands in 1985 as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Nelson analyzes the practices of specific performers, showing how memories are recalled, bodies remade, and actions rethought as Okinawans work through fragments of the past in order to reconstruct the fabric of everyday life. Artists such as the popular Okinawan actor and storyteller Fujiki Hayato weave together genres including Japanese stand-up comedy, Okinawan celebratory rituals, and ethnographic studies of war memory, encouraging their audiences to imagine other ways to live in the modern world. Nelson looks at the efforts of performers and activists to wrest the Okinawan past from romantic representations of idyllic rural life in the Japanese media and reactionary appropriations of traditional values by conservative politicians. In his consideration of eisā, the traditional dance for the dead, Nelson finds a practice that reaches beyond the expected boundaries of mourning and commemoration, as the living and the dead come together to create a moment in which a new world might be built from the ruins of the old.
At a glance, 'borders' and 'boundaries' may seem synonymous. But in the real (geopolitical) world, they coexist as distinct, albeit overlapping entities: the former a state's delimitation of territory; the latter the social delineation of differences. The refugee crisis in Europe showed how racial and ethnic boundaries are often instrumentalised to justify the strengthening of state borders - regardless of the cost in human life. But there are other, less tragic, examples that illustrate this overlapping as well, and ultimately demonstrate that the oft-differentiated spheres of borders and boundaries are best understood through their relationship to one another. Deepening Divides explores this relationship from many distinct perspectives and national contexts, with case studies covering five continents and drawing on anthropology, gender studies, law, political science and sociology for a truly interdisciplinary collection.
The Enigma of the Gift
Maurice Godelier University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress GN449.8.G6313 1999 | Dewey Decimal 394
When we think of giving gifts, we think of exchanging objects that carry with them economic or symbolic value. But is every valuable thing a potentially exchangeable item, whose value can be transferred? In The Enigma of the Gift, the distinguished French anthropologist Maurice Godelier reassesses the significance of gifts in social life by focusing on sacred objects, which are never exchanged despite the value they possess.
Beginning with an analysis of the seminal work of Marcel Mauss and Claude Lévi-Strass, and drawing on his own fieldwork in Melanesia, Godelier argues that traditional theories are flawed because they consider only exchangeable gifts. By explaining gift-giving in terms of sacred objects and the authoritative conferral of power associated with them, Godelier challenges both recent and traditional theories of gift-giving, provocatively refreshing a traditional debate.
Elegantly translated by Nora Scott, The Enigma of the Gift is at once a major theoretical contribution and an essential guide to the history of the theory of the gift.
The study of the New South has in recent decades been greatly enriched by research into gender, reshaping our understanding of the struggle for woman suffrage, the conflicted nature of race and class in the South, the complex story of politics, and the role of family and motherhood in black and white society. This book brings together nine essays that examine the importance of gender, race, and culture in the New South, offering a rich and varied analysis of the multifaceted role of gender in the lives of black and white southerners in the troubled decades of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Ranging widely from conservative activism by white women in 1920s Georgia to political involvement by black women in 1950s Memphis, many of these essays focus on southern women’s increasing public activities and high-profile images in the twentieth century. They tell how women shouldered responsibilities for local, national, and international interests; but just as nineteenth-century women’s status could be at risk from too much public presence, women of the New South stepped gingerly into the public arena, taking care to work within what they considered their current gender limitations.
The authors—both established and up-and-coming scholars—take on subjects that reflect wide-ranging, sophisticated, and diverse scholarship on black and white women in the New South. They include the efforts of female Home Demonstration Agents to defeat debilitating diseases in rural Florida and the increasing participation of women in historic preservation at Monticello. They also reflect unique personal stories as diverse as lobbyist Kathryn Dunaway’s efforts to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia and Susan Smith’s depiction by the national media as a racist southerner during coverage of her children’s deaths.
Taken together, these nine essays contribute to the picture of women increasing their movement into political and economic life while all too often still maintaining their gendered place as determined by society. Their rich insights provide new ways to consider the meaning and role of gender in the post–Civil War South.
In this lively and engaging history, Madelon Powers recreates the daily life of the barroom, exploring what it was like to be a "regular" in the old-time saloon of pre-prohibition industrial America. Through an examination of saloongoers across America, her investigation offers a fascinating look at rich lore of the barroom—its many games, stories, songs, free lunch customs, and especially its elaborate system of drinking rituals that have been passed on for decades.
"A free-pouring blend of astonishing facts, folklore and firsthand period observations. . . . It's the rich details that'll inspire the casual reader to drink deep from this tap of knowledge."—Don Waller, USA Today recommended reading
"A surprise on every page."—Publishers Weekly
"Here we get social history that appreciates the bar talk even while dissecting its marvelous rituals."—Library Journal, starred review
"Careful scholarship with an anecdotal flair to please even the most sober of readers."—Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education
As a stabilizing force in the American West, ranch families play a critical role in our country. They contribute to our nation with the food they raise, the resources they manage, and the environments and heritage they preserve. Award-winning author Linda Hussa offers readers an intimate view into the lives of six diverse ranching families. Photographer Madeleine Graham Blake provides engaging and often moving images that portray each family at work and at play. Chapters on the critical issues facing them, such as grazing rights, water use, and education, set these profiles in a larger context. This is family ranching as it is now, a tracing of how it always was, but made far more complex in modern times. The family ranch in the twenty-first century faces many challenges, from competition with government-subsidized agribusiness corporations to tax laws that encourage development over agriculture and prevent the smooth transfer of land from one generation to the next. By combining their traditions with the tools of modern technology, these people strengthen the ideal of family and give their business a vibrant and viable future. The text and photographs of The Family Ranch will inspire fresh thinking about tradition, values, and responsibility.
Fear and Conventionality
Elsie Clews Parsons University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress GT75.P3 1997 | Dewey Decimal 390
Widely admired by the cultural critics and the avant garde in the 1910s, Fear and Conventionality broke new ground for American anthropology. Elsie Clews Parsons—an anthropologist, cultural critic, feminist, and author—turns a cool and ironic eye on the mores and customs of her own upper-class New York society. Influenced by Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas, William James and Havelock Ellis, Parsons's work is informed by a modernist and feminist approach to cultural anthropology and social psychology. Parsons draws on a wide range of cultural texts as well as her own experiences of daily life to argue that the fear of change prompted many social conventions, such as gift-giving, hospitality, and sexual taboos, and to make predictions about American society today, such as the plight to end intolerance.
A modern mind at the turn of the century, Parsons challenged social conventions at a time when it was less than popular to do so. Witty, graceful, and impassioned, this book will be of interest to social and cultural historians and anyone interested in early twentieth-century America.
Elsie Clews Parsons (1874-1941) is the author of many books, including The Family, The Old-Fashioned Woman, Pueblo Indian Religion, and Mitla. Available from the University of Chicago Press is Elsie Clews Parsons: Constructing Sex and Culture in Modernist America, a biography by Desley Deacon.
The banquet gives rise to a special moment when thought and the senses—words and food—enhance each other. Throughout history, the ideal of the symposium has reconciled the angel and the beast in the human, renewing the interdependence between the mouth that speaks and the mouth that eats. Michel Jeanneret's lively book explores the paradigm of the banquet as a guide to significant tendencies in Renaissance Humanist culture and shows how this culture in turn illuminates the tensions between physical and mental pleasures. Ranging widely over French, Italian, German, and Latin texts, Jeanneret not only investigates the meal as a narrative artefact but enquires as well into aspects of sixteenth-century anthropology and aesthetics.
Simon J. Bronner Utah State University Press, 1998 Library of Congress GR105.B67 1998 | Dewey Decimal 398.0973
Following Tradition is an expansive examination of the history of tradition—"one of the most common as well as most contested terms in English language usage"—in Americans' thinking and discourse about culture. Tradition in use becomes problematic because of "its multiple meanings and its conceptual softness." As a term and a concept, it has been important in the development of all scholarly fields that study American culture. Folklore, history, American studies, anthropology, cultural studies, and others assign different value and meaning to tradition. It is a frequent point of reference in popular discourse concerning everything from politics to lifestyles to sports and entertainment. Politicians and social advocates appeal to it as prima facie evidence of the worth of their causes. Entertainment and other media mass produce it, or at least a facsimile of it. In a society that frequently seeks to reinvent itself, tradition as a cultural anchor to be reverenced or rejected is an essential, if elusive, concept. Simon Bronner's wide net captures the historical, rhetorical, philosophical, and psychological dimensions of tradition. As he notes, he has written a book "about an American tradition—arguing about it." His elucidation of those arguments makes fascinating and thoughtful reading. An essential text for folklorists, Following Tradition will be a valuable reference as well for historians and anthropologists; students of American studies, popular culture, and cultural studies; and anyone interested in the continuing place of tradition in American culture.
“Cultural instructions.” Everyone who has handled a package of seedlings has encountered that enigmatic advisory. This much water and that much sun, certain tips about fertilizer, soil, and drainage. Planting one sort of flower nearby keeps the bugs away but proximity to another sort makes bad things happen. Young shoots might need stakes, and watch out for beetles, weeds, and unseasonable frosts. It’s a complicated business.
But at least since Cicero introduced the term cultura animi (“cultivation of the mind or spirit”), such “cultural instructions” have applied as much to the realm of civilization as to horticulture. In this wide-ranging investigation into the vicissitudes of culture in the twenty-first century, the distinguished critic Roger Kimball traces the deep filiations between cultivation as a spiritual enterprise and the prerequisites of political freedom. Drawing on figures as various as James Burnham, Richard Weaver, G. K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, John Buchan, Friedrich von Hayek, and Leszek Kolakowski, Kimball traces the interconnections between what he calls the fortunes of permanence and such ambassadors of anarchy as relativism, multiculturalism, and the socialist-utopian imperative.
With his signature blend of wit and erudition, Kimball deftly draws on the resources of art, literature, and political philosophy to illuminate some of the wrong turns and dead ends our culture has recently pursued, while also outlining some of the simple if overlooked alternatives to the various tyrannies masquerading as liberation we have again and again fallen prey to. This rich, rewarding, and intelligent volume bristles with insights into what the nineteenth-century novelist Anthony Trollope called “The Way We Live Now.”
Partly an exercise in cultural pathology, The Fortunes of Permanence is also a forward-looking effort of cultural recuperation. It promises to be essential reading for anyone concerned about the direction of Western culture in an age of anti-Western animus and destructive multicultural fantasy.
The Japanese have ambivalent attitudes toward death, deeply rooted in pre-Buddhist traditions. In this scholarly but accessible work, authors Iwasaka and Toelken show that everyday beliefs and customs--particularly death traditions--offer special insight into the living culture of Japan.
In the first systematic documentation of New Guinea rituals of manhood, Gilbert Herdt places the homosexual customs of the Sambia in their ecological and ideological contexts while exploring what they mean to the individuals who practice them. Raising a host of issues concerning gender identity, hostility between the sexes, and the relationships between myth, culture, and personal experience, Herdt provides a vivid and convincing portrait of how Sambia men experience their sexual development.
Drawing attention to domestic space as the critical juncture between the global and the local, Home Away from Home is an innovative ethnography of the daily lives of middle-class Japanese housewives who accompany their husbands on temporary corporate job assignments in the United States. These women are charged with the task of creating and maintaining restful Japanese homes in a foreign environment so that their husbands are able to remain productive, loyal workers for Japanese multinationals and their children are properly socialized and educated as Japanese citizens abroad. Arguing that the homemaking components of transnational communities have not received adequate attention, Sawa Kurotani demonstrates how gender dynamics and the politics of the domestic sphere are integral to understanding national identity and transnational mobility.
Kurotani interviewed and spent time with more than 120 women in three U.S. locations with sizable expatriate Japanese communities: Centerville, a pseudonymous Midwestern town; the New York metropolitan area; and North Carolina’s Research Triangle area. She highlights the contradictory situations faced by the transient wives. Their husbands’ assignments in the United States typically last from three to five years, and they frequently emphasize the temporariness of their situation, referring to it as a “long vacation.” Yet they are responsible for creating comfortable homes for their families, which necessitates producing a familiar and permanent environment. Kurotani looks at the dynamic friendships that develop among the wives and describes their feelings about returning to Japan. She conveys how their sense of themselves as Japanese women, of home, and of their relationships with family members are altered by their personal experiences of transnational homemaking.
The Hungry Soul is a fascinating exploration of the natural and cultural act of eating. Kass brilliantly reveals how the various aspects of this phenomenon, and the customs, rituals, and taboos surrounding it, relate to universal and profound truths about the human animal and its deepest yearnings.
"Kass is a distinguished and graceful writer. . . . It is astonishing to discover how different is our world from that of the animals, even in that which most evidently betrays that we too are animals—our need and desire for food."—Roger Scruton, Times Literary Supplement
Incest and Influence
Adam Kuper Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress HQ1026.K87 2009 | Dewey Decimal 306.850862209421
Like many gentlemen of his time, Charles Darwin married his first cousin. In fact, marriages between close relatives were commonplace in nineteenth-century England, and Adam Kuper argues that they played a crucial role in the rise of the bourgeoisie. This groundbreaking study brings out the connection between private lives, public fortunes, and the history of imperial Britain.
In Indian Voices, Alison Owings takes readers on a fresh journey across America, east to west, north to south, and around again. Owings's most recent oral history—engagingly written in a style that entertains and informs—documents what Native Americans say about themselves, their daily lives, and the world around them.
Young and old from many tribal nations speak with candor, insight, and (unknown to many non-Natives) humor about what it is like to be a Native American in the twenty-first century. Through intimate interviews many also express their thoughts about the sometimes staggeringly ignorant, if often well-meaning, non-Natives they encounter—some who do not realize Native Americans still exist, much less that they speak English, have cell phones, use the Internet, and might attend powwows and power lunches.
Indian Voices, an inspiring and important contribution to the literature about the original Americans, will make every reader rethink the past—and present—of the United States.
Indigenous knowledge has become a catchphrase in global struggles for environmental justice. Yet indigenous knowledges are often viewed, incorrectly, as pure and primordial cultural artifacts. This collection draws from African and North American cases to argue that the forms of knowledge identified as “indigenous” resulted from strategies to control environmental resources during and after colonial encounters.
At times indigenous knowledges represented a “middle ground” of intellectual exchanges between colonizers and colonized; elsewhere, indigenous knowledges were defined through conflict and struggle. The authors demonstrate how people claimed that their hybrid forms of knowledge were communal, religious, and traditional, as opposed to individualist, secular, and scientific, which they associated with European colonialism.
Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment offers comparative and transnational insights that disturb romantic views of unchanging indigenous knowledges in harmony with the environment. The result is a book that informs and complicates how indigenous knowledges can and should relate to environmental policy-making.
Contributors: David Bernstein, Derick Fay, Andrew H. Fisher, Karen Flint, David M. Gordon, Paul Kelton, Shepard Krech III, Joshua Reid, Parker Shipton, Lance van Sittert, Jacob Tropp, James L. A. Webb, Jr., Marsha Weisiger
The general stereotype regarding interaction between American Sign Language and English is a model of oversimplification: ASL signers are direct and English speakers are indirect. Jack Hoza’s study It’s Not What You Sign, It’s How You Sign It: Politeness in American Sign Language upends this common impression through an in-depth comparison of the communication styles between these two language communities. Hoza investigates relevant social variables in specific contexts and explores the particular linguistic strategies ASL signers and English speakers employ when they interact in these contexts.
It’s Not What You Sign, It’s How You Sign It is framed within politeness theory, an apt model to determine various interpretations of what speakers or signers mean in respect to the form of that which they say or sign. The variations reveal how linguistic and cultural differences intersect in ways that are often misinterpreted or overlooked in cross-cultural communication. To clarify these cross-linguistic differences, this volume explores two primary types of politeness and the linguistic strategies used by English speakers and ASL signers to express politeness concerns in face-to-face interaction. Hoza’s final analysis leads to a better understanding of the rich complexity of the linguistic choices of these language groups.
Kaiaulu: Gathering Tides
Mehana Blaich Vaughan Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress S932.H3V38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 333.720996941
The tide is rising ahead of the early morning sun on the northeast coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. Waves rush singing onto the outer reef where two throw net fishermen stalk the surge. An elderly woman with her silver hair in a kerchief makes her way toward shore, two octopuses tucked in her mesh bag. Within hours, two hundred tourists will snorkel, sunbathe, and teeter on the coral, few ever knowing that people fish here or that their catch sustains an entire kaiāulu (community) connected to this stretch of reef.
This coast is known as a playground for tourists and backdrop for Hollywood movies, but catch from small local reefs, and the sharing of this abundance, has sustained area families for centuries, helping them to thrive through tidal waves, hurricanes, an influx of new residents, and economic recessions. Yet fishing families are increasingly invisible and many have moved away, threatened by global commodification and loss of access to coastal lands that are now private retreats for star entertainers, investors, and dot-com millionaires.
Building on two decades of interviews with more than sixty Hawaiian elders, leaders, and fishermen and women, Kaiāulu shares their stories of enduring community efforts to perpetuate kuleana, often translated to mean “rights and responsibilities.” Community actions extend kuleana to include nurturing respectful relationships with resources, guarding and cultivating fishing spots, perpetuating collective harvests and sharing, maintaining connection to family lands, reasserting local governance rooted in ancestral values, and preparing future generations to carry on.
An important contribution to scholarship in the fields of natural resource management, geography, Indigenous Studies, and Hawaiian Studies, Kaiāulu is also a skillfully written and deeply personal tribute to a community based not on ownership, but reciprocity, responsibility, and caring for the places that shape and sustain us all.
From the late Middle Ages to The Marriage of Figaro to Mel Gibson's Braveheart, the ultimate symbol of feudal barbarism has been the droit de cuissage, or right of a feudal lord to sleep with the bride of a vassal on her wedding night. The droit de cuissage even resurfaced in the debate over the French Penal Code of 1992 as a synonym for sexual harassment.
But, as Alain Boureau elegantly demonstrates in this book, the droit de cuissage is a myth. Under contextual examination, nearly all the supposed evidence for this custom melts away—yet belief in it has survived for seven hundred years. Boureau shows how each era turned the mythical custom to its own ends. For instance, in the late Middle Ages, monarchists raised the specter of the droit de cuissage to rally public opinion against local lords, and partisans of the French Revolution pointed to it as proof of the corruption of the Ancien Régime.
A fascinating case study of the folklore of sexuality, The Lord's First Night also offers evocative insights into popular (mis)conceptions of the Middle Ages.
On the French edition: "A richly informative study of attitudes to the past and the manipulation of history down the ages."—Peter Linehan, Times Literary Supplement
We’re losing our culture… our heritage… our traditions… everything is being swept away.
Such sentiments get echoed around the world, from aging Trump supporters in West Virginia to young villagers in West Africa. But what is triggering this sense of cultural loss, and to what ends does this rhetoric get deployed?
To answer these questions, anthropologist David Berliner travels around the world, from Guinea-Conakry, where globalization affects the traditional patriarchal structure of cultural transmission, to Laos, where foreign UNESCO experts have become self-appointed saviors of the nation’s cultural heritage. He also embarks on a voyage of critical self-exploration, reflecting on how anthropologists handle their own sense of cultural alienation while becoming deeply embedded in other cultures. This leads into a larger examination of how and why we experience exonostalgia, a longing for vanished cultural heydays we never directly experienced.
Losing Culture provides a nuanced analysis of these phenomena, addressing why intergenerational cultural transmission is vital to humans, yet also considering how efforts to preserve disappearing cultures are sometimes misguided or even reactionary. Blending anthropological theory with vivid case studies, this book teaches us how to appreciate the multitudes of different ways we might understand loss, memory, transmission, and heritage.
At the center of this subtle ethnographic account of the Haya communities of Northwest Tanzania is the idea of a lived world as both the product and the producer of everyday practices. Drawing on his experience living with the Haya, Brad Weiss explores Haya ways of constructing and inhabiting their community, and examines the forces that shape and transform these practices over time. In particular, he shows how the Haya, a group at the fringe of the global economy, have responded to the processes and material aspects of money, markets, and commodities as they make and remake their place in a changing world. Grounded in a richly detailed ethnography of Haya practice, Weiss’s analysis considers the symbolic qualities and values embedded in goods and transactions across a wide range of cultural activity: agricultural practice and food preparation, the body’s experience of epidemic disease from AIDS to the infant affliction of “plastic teeth,” and long-standing forms of social movement and migration. Weiss emphasizes how Haya images of consumption describe the relationship between their local community and the global economy. Throughout, he demonstrates that particular commodities and more general market processes are always material and meaningful forces with the potential for creativity as well as disruption in Haya social life. By calling attention to the productive dimensions of this spatial and temporal world, his work highlights the importance of human agency in not only the Haya but any sociocultural order. Offering a significant contribution to the anthropological theories of practice, embodiment, and agency, and enriching our understanding of the lives of a rural African people, The Making and Unmaking of the Haya Lived World will interest historians, anthropologists, ethnographers, and scholars of cultural studies.
Composed over several decades, the essays here are remarkably fresh and relevant. They offer instruction for the student just beginning the study of folklore as well as repeated value for the many established scholars who continue to wrestle with issues that Wilson has addressed. As his work has long offered insight on critical matters—nationalism, genre, belief, the relationship of folklore to other disciplines in the humanities and arts, the currency of legend, the significance of humor as a cultural expression, and so forth—so his recent writing, in its reflexive approach to narrative and storytelling, illuminates today’s paradigms. Its notable autobiographical dimension, long an element of Wilson’s work, employs family and local lore to draw conclusions of more universal significance. Another way to think of it is that newer folklorists are catching up with Wilson and what he has been about for some time.
As a body, Wilson’s essays develop related topics and connected themes. This collection organizes them in three coherent parts. The first examines the importance of folklore—what it is and its value in various contexts. Part two, drawing especially on the experience of Finland, considers the role of folklore in national identity, including both how it helps define and sustain identity and the less savory ways it may be used for the sake of nationalistic ideology. Part three, based in large part on Wilson’s extensive work in Mormon folklore, which is the most important in that area since that of Austin and Alta Fife, looks at religious cultural expressions and outsider perceptions of them and, again, at how identity is shaped, by religious belief, experience, and participation; by the stories about them; and by the many other expressive parts of life encountered daily in a culture.
Each essay is introduced by a well-known folklorist who discusses the influence of Wilson’s scholarship. These include Richard Bauman, Margaret Brady, Simon Bronner, Elliott Oring, Henry Glassie, David Hufford, Michael Owen Jones, and Beverly Stoeltje.
An ambitious reassessment of the political uses of masking.
Does the mask reveal more than it conceals? What, this book asks, becomes visible and invisible in the masking practiced in Caribbean cultures-not only in the familiar milieu of the carnival but in political language, social conduct, and cultural expressions that mimic, misrepresent, and mislead? Focusing on masking as a socially significant practice in Caribbean cultures, Gerard Aching's analysis articulates masking, mimicry, and misrecognition as a means of describing and interrogating strategies of visibility and invisibility in Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, and beyond.
Masking and Power uses ethnographic fieldwork, psychoanalysis, and close literary readings to examine encounters between cultural insiders as these locals mask themselves and one another either to counter the social invisibility imposed on them or to maintain their socioeconomic privileges. Aching exposes the ways in which strategies of masking and mimicry, once employed to negotiate subjectivities within colonial regimes, have been appropriated for state purposes and have become, with the arrival of self-government in the islands, the means by which certain privileged locals make a show of national and cultural unity even as they engage in the privatization of popular culture and its public performances.
Gerard Aching is associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University.
From the sculptured peaks of Mount Rushmore to the Coloradan prairie lands at Sand Creek to the idyllic islands of the Pacific, the West’s signature environments add a new dimension to the study of memorials. In such diverse and often dramatic landscapes, how do the natural and built environments shape our emotions?
In Memorials Matter, author Jennifer Ladino investigates the natural and physical environments of seven diverse National Park Service (NPS) sites in the American West and how they influence emotions about historical conflict and national identity. Chapters center around the region’s diverse inhabitants (Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, African, and Native Americans) and the variously traumatic histories these groups endured—histories of oppression, exploitation, incarceration, slavery, and genocide. Drawing on material ecocritical theory, Ladino emphasizes the ideological and political importance of memorials and how they evoke visceral responses that are not always explicitly “storied,” but nevertheless matter in powerful ways.
In this unique blend of narrative scholarship and critical theory, Ladino demonstrates how these memorial sites and their surrounding landscapes, combined with written texts, generate emotion and shape our collective memory of traumatic events. She urges us to consider our everyday environments and to become attuned to features and feelings we might have otherwise overlooked.
Is conventional money simply a discourse? Is it merely a socially constructed unit of exchange? If money is not an actual thing, are people then free to make collective agreements to use other forms of currency that might work more effectively for them? Proponents of “better money” argue that they have created currencies that value people more than profitability, ensuring that human needs are met with reasonable costs and decent wages—and supporting local economies that emphasize local sustainability. How did proponents develop these new economies? Are their claims valid?
Grappling with these questions and more, Money and Liberation examines the experiences of groups who have tried to build a more equitable world by inventing new forms of money. Presenting in-depth profiles of the trading networks that have been constructed both historically and more recently, including Local Exchange Trading Schemes (England), Green Dollars (New Zealand), Talente (Hungary), and the barter system in Argentina, Peter North shows how the use of currency has been redefined as part of political action, revealing surprising political ambiguity and a nuanced understanding of the potential and limits on alternative currencies as a resistance practice.
Peter North is lecturer in geography at the University of Liverpool.
The West Virginia University Mountaineer is not just a mascot: it is a symbol of West Virginia history and identity embraced throughout the state. In this deeply informed but accessible study, folklorist Rosemary Hathaway explores the figure’s early history as a backwoods trickster, its deployment in emerging mass media, and finally its long and sometimes conflicted career—beginning officially in 1937—as the symbol of West Virginia University.
Alternately a rabble-rouser and a romantic embodiment of the state’s history, the Mountaineer has been subject to ongoing reinterpretation while consistently conveying the value of independence. Hathaway’s account draws on multiple sources, including archival research, personal history, and interviews with former students who have portrayed the mascot, to explore the complex forces and tensions animating the Mountaineer figure. Often serving as a focus for white, masculinist, and Appalachian identities in particular, the Mountaineer that emerges from this study is something distinct from the hillbilly. Frontiersman and rebel both, the Mountaineer figure traditionally and energetically resists attempts (even those by the university) to tame or contain it.
Narrating Love and Violence is an ethnographic exploration of women’s stories from the Himalayan valley of Lahaul, in the region of Himachal Pradesh, India, focusing on how both, love and violence emerge (or function) at the intersection of gender, tribe, caste, and the state in India. Himika Bhattacharya privileges the everyday lives of women marginalized by caste and tribe to show how state and community discourses about gendered violence serve as proxy for caste in India, thus not only upholding these social hierarchies, but also enabling violence.
The women in this book tell their stories through love, articulated as rejection, redefinition and reproduction of notions of violence and solidarity. Himika Bhattacharya centers the women’s narratives as a site of knowledge—beyond love and beyond violence. This book shows how women on the margins of tribe and caste know both, love and violence, as agents wishing to re-shape discourses of caste, tribe and community.
In the Andean city of Otavalo, Ecuador, a cultural renaissance is now taking place against a backdrop of fading farming traditions, transnational migration, and an influx of new consumer goods. Recently, Otavalenos have transformed their textile trade into a prosperous tourist industry, exporting colorful weavings around the world.
Tracing the connections among newly invented craft traditions, social networks, and consumption patterns, Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld highlights the way ethnic identities and class cultures materialize in a sensual world that includes luxurious woven belts, powerful stereos, and garlic roasted cuyes (guinea pigs). Yet this case reaches beyond the Andes. He shows how local and global interactions intensify the cultural expression of the world's emerging "native middle classes," at times leaving behind those unable to afford the new trappings of indigenous identity.
Colloredo-Mansfeld also comments on his experiences working as an artist in Otavalo. His drawings, along with numerous photographs, animate this engaging study in economic anthropology.
The Next Conservatism
Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind St. Augustine's Press, 2009 Library of Congress JC573.2.U6W47 2009 | Dewey Decimal 320.520973
Since November’s election, conservative columnists have filled the op-ed pages with calls for a new conservative agenda. In The Next Conservatism, two of the conservative movement’s best-known thinkers, Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind, offer exactly that. More, they offer a new kind of conservative agenda, one that reaches far beyond politics to grapple with the sources of our nation’s cultural decay. The Next Conservatism recognizes that culture is more powerful than politics. Nevertheless, it offers an engaging menu of political reforms, all under the rubric of “Restore the Republic!” No enthusiasts of Imperial America at home or abroad, Weyrich and Lind seek limited government, jealous guardianship of civil liberties, and a Washington liberated from the power of the New Class, the interests that feed off our nation’s decay. To these frequent conservative themes, Weyrich and Lind offer something new: a warning of a general crisis of legitimacy of the state itself, which can lead to a Hobbesian state of anarchy. How might we save the state while avoiding the jaws of Leviathan? The Next Conservatism offers innovative ways to thread that needle.
Meanwhile, what of America’s culture? Did its decay over the past half-century “just happen”? Weyrich and Lind argue no; rather, much of our degradation was deliberate, the work of the poisonous ideology of cultural Marxism, aka “Political Correctness.” The Next Conservatism takes the reader on a fascinating historical tour of the origins of Political Correctness in the infamous Frankfurt School, a gathering of heretical Marxists whose goal from the outset was the destruction of Western culture.
Weyrich and Lind then proceed to “deconstruct” the left’s program for America, debunking Feminism, “racism,” and environmentalism along the way. Reflecting the thought of Russell Kirk, The Next Conservatism condemns ideologies left and right, calling instead for a return to traditional ways of living, ways that reflect wisdom accumulated generation by generation. Only thus, they argue, can conservatives win a culture war many regard as hopelessly lost.
Old ways, in turn, lead to a Next Conservatism appropriate for hard times. Virtue, Weyrich and Lind offer, is to be found in modest living, not conspicuous consumption. The Next Conservative agenda rejects environmentalism but includes conservation, the return of the family farm, New Urbanism and the revival of such ‘oldies but goodies” as streetcars and passenger trains. A new theme, Retroculture, sums up a conservatism that recognizes that what worked in the past can work again today, and in the future as well. Our ancestors were no fools, the authors suggest, and “Back to the Future!” can serve as a powerful conservative rallying cry.
Having laid the political and cultural groundwork, The Next Conservatism then turns to conservative governance. In foreign policy, the authors call for minimizing foreign entanglements, though with a strong national defense and a military reform to adapt to face Fourth Generation warfare rather than the Second Generation America adheres to. For the economy, the authors call for repairing and expanding our national infrastructure, sound money, and protecting American industry, seeing labor as a potential ally. In both national security and economic security, the authors insist that good governance include moral security; drawing from the New Urbanism, they offer a “moral transect” that allows everyone to do what he wants, but not always where he wants. The public square, they suggest, should be safe for families.
Respecting the careful limits on government power a restored republic would embody, The Next Conservatism calls for redeeming America not through legislation but through a new conservative movement. Unlike the old movement, the next conservative movement would be a league of people who pledged to live their lives by the old rules. While conservatives would remain engaged in politics, they would rely on a vastly more powerful force of example, the examples of lives lived well in traditional ways. This next conservative movement would appeal far beyond the ranks of political conservatives, to all Americans who know that something has gone tragically wrong in the life of our nation. The Next Conservatism offers a vision of vast sweep, far beyond anything coming out of Washington. At a time when most Americans find life growing more difficult, it proposes a path to a new America that is also the old America, the good, comfortable America we had and have lost.
In Nightwork, Anne Allison opens a window onto Japanese corporate culture and gender identities. Allison performed the ritualized tasks of a hostess in one of Tokyo's many "hostess clubs": pouring drinks, lighting cigarettes, and making flattering or titillating conversation with the businessmen who came there on company expense accounts. Her book critically examines how such establishments create bonds among white-collar men and forge a masculine identity that suits the needs of their corporations.
Allison describes in detail a typical company outing to such a club—what the men do, how they interact with the hostesses, the role the hostess is expected to play, and the extent to which all of this involves "play" rather than "work." Unlike previous books on Japanese nightlife, Allison's ethnography of one specific hostess club (here referred to as Bijo) views the general phenomenon from the eyes of a woman, hostess, and feminist anthropologist.
Observing that clubs like Bijo further a kind of masculinity dependent on the gestures and labors of women, Allison seeks to uncover connections between such behavior and other social, economic, sexual, and gendered relations. She argues that Japanese corporate nightlife enables and institutionalizes a particular form of ritualized male dominance: in paying for this entertainment, Japanese corporations not only give their male workers a self-image as phallic man, but also develop relationships to work that are unconditional and unbreakable. This is a book that will appeal to anyone interested in gender roles or in contemporary Japanese society.
The Other Face of the Moon
Claude Lévi-Strauss Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress GN635.J2.L3913 2013 | Dewey Decimal 306.0952
Gathering all of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s writings on Japan, this sustained meditation follows his dictum that to understand one’s own culture, one must see it from another’s point of view. For Lévi-Strauss, Japan occupied a unique place among world cultures. This English translation presents one of France’s most public figures at his most personal.
Vance Randolph was perfectly constituted for his role as the chronicler of Ozark folkways. As a self-described “hack writer,” he was as much a figure of the margins as his chosen subjects, even as his essentially romantic identification with the region he first visited as the vacationing child of mainstream parents was encouraged by editors and tempered by his scientific training. In The Ozarks, originally published in 1931, we have Randolph’s first book-length portrait of the people he would spend the next half-century studying. The full range of Randolph’s interests—in language, in hunting and fishing, in folksongs and play parties, in moonshining—is on view in this book that made his name; forever after he was “Mr. Ozark,” the region’s preeminent expert who would, in collection after collection, enlarge and deepen his debut effort. With a new introduction by Robert Cochran, The Ozarks is the second entry in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, a reprint series that will make available some of the Depression Era’s Ozarks books. An image shaper in its day, a cultural artifact for decades to come, this wonderful book is as entertaining as ever.
Plain But Wholesome presents a groundbreaking foray into Mormon history. Brock Cheney explores the foodways of Mormon pioneers from their trek west through the arrival of the railroad and reveals new perspectives on the fasci-nating Mormon settlement era. Relying on original diaries, newspaper accounts, and recipe books from the 1850s, Cheney draws a vivid portrait of what Mormon pioneers ate and drank. Although other authors have sketched the subject before, this portrait is the first effort that might be described as scholarly, though the lively prose will interest a broad general audience.
Presented here are the first explicit descriptions of the menus, food processes, and recipes of the Mormon pioneers. While many have supposed that earlier pioneer foodways continued to be handed down through Mormon families, Cheney has confirmed traditions going back generations and covering more than a century. The book also exposes myths and clichés about pioneer piety and hardships, as Cheney examines such pioneer extravagances as fresh “oysters on the half shell” and pioneer trends of alcohol consumption.
A perfect gift for the history buff or Dutch oven chef, Plain But Wholesome will also prove its place among scholars and historians. With its rollicking blend of historical source material and modern interpretation, this book will entertain and educate novice and expert alike.
As the Grim Reaper pulls a student out of class to be a “victim” of drunk driving in a program called “Every 15 Minutes,” Montana Miller observes the ritual through a folklorist’s lens. Playing Dead examines why hundreds of American schools and communities each year organize these mock tragedies without any national sponsorship or coordination. Often, the event is complete with a staged accident in the parking lot, a life-flight helicopter, and faux eulogies for the “dead” students read in school assemblies. Grounding her research in play theory, frame theory, and theory of folk drama, Miller investigates key aspects of this emergent tradition, paying particular attention to its unplanned elements—enabled by the performance’s spontaneous nature and the participants’ tendency to stray from the intended frame. Miller examines such variations in terms of the program as a whole, analyzing its continued popularity and weighing its success as perceived by participants. Her fieldwork reveals a surprising aspect of Every 15 Minutes that typical studies of ritual do not include: It can be fun. Playing Dead is volume two of the series Ritual, Festival, and Celebration, edited by Jack Santino.
The Poison in the Gift is a detailed ethnography of gift-giving in a North Indian village that powerfully demonstrates a new theoretical interpretation of caste. Introducing the concept of ritual centrality, Raheja shows that the position of the dominant landholding caste in the village is grounded in a central-peripheral configuration of castes rather than a hierarchical ordering. She advances a view of caste as semiotically constituted of contextually shifting sets of meanings, rather than one overarching ideological feature. This new understanding undermines the controversial interpretation advanced by Louis Dumont in his 1966 book, Homo Hierarchicus, in which he proposed a disjunction between the ideology of hierarchy based on the "purity" of the Brahman priest and the "temporal power" of the dominant caste or the king.
Scholars increasingly view the arts, creativity, and the creative economy as engines for regenerating global citizenship, renewing decayed local economies, and nurturing a new type of all-inclusive politics. Dia Da Costa delves into these ideas with a critical ethnography of two activist performance groups in India: the Communist-affiliated Jana Natya Manch, and Bhutan Theatre, a community-based group of the indigenous Chhara people. As Da Costa shows, commodification, heritage, and management discussions inevitably creep into performance. Yet the ability of performance to undermine such subtle invasions make street theater a crucial site for considering what counts as creativity in the cultural politics of creative economy. Da Costa explores the precarious lives, livelihoods, and ideologies at the intersection of heritage projects, planning discourse, and activist performance. By analyzing the creators, performers, and activists involved--individuals at the margins of creative economy as well as society--Da Costa builds a provocative argument. Their creative economy practices may survive, challenge, and even reinforce the economies of death, displacement, and divisiveness used by the urban poor to survive.
To remain unconsumed by consumer society—this was the goal, pursued through a world of subtle and practical means, that beckoned throughout the first volume of The Practice of Everyday Life. The second volume of the work delves even deeper than did the first into the subtle tactics of resistance and private practices that make living a subversive art. Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Pierre Mayol develop a social history of “making do” based on microhistories that move from the private sphere (of dwelling, cooking, and homemaking) to the public (the experience of living in a neighborhood). A series of interviews—mostly with women—allows us to follow the subjects’ individual routines, composed of the habits, constraints, and inventive strategies by which the speakers negotiate daily life. Through these accounts the speakers, “ordinary” people all, are revealed to be anything but passive consumers. Amid these experiences and voices, the ephemeral inventions of the “obscure heroes” of the everyday, we watch the art of making do become the art of living.This long-awaited second volume of de Certeau’s masterwork, updated and revised in this first English edition, completes the picture begun in volume 1, drawing to the last detail the collective practices that define the texture, substance, and importance of the everyday.Michel de Certeau (1925-1986) wrote numerous books that have been translated into English, including Heterologies (1986), The Capture of Speech (1998), and Culture in the Plural (1998), all published by Minnesota. Luce Giard is senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and is affiliated with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She is visiting professor of history and history of science at the University of California, San Diego. Pierre Mayol is a researcher in the French Ministry of Culture in Paris.Timothy J. Tomasik is a freelance translator pursuing a Ph.D. in French literature at Harvard University.
Colonialist, nationalist, and regionalist ideologies have profoundly influenced folk music and related musical practices among the Garhwali and Kumaoni of Uttarakhand. Stefan Fiol blends historical and ethnographic approaches to unlock these influences and explore a paradox: how the œfolk designation can alternately identify a universal stage of humanity, or denote alterity and subordination. Fiol explores the lives and work of Gahrwali artists who produce folk music. These musicians create art as both a discursive idea and as a set of expressive practices across strikingly different historical and cultural settings. Juxtaposing performance contexts in Himalayan villages with Delhi recording studios, Fiol shows how the practices have emerged within and between sites of contrasting values and expectations. Throughout, Fiol presents the varying perspectives and complex lives of the upper-caste, upper-class, male performers spearheading the processes of folklorization. But he also charts their resonance with, and collision against, the perspectives of the women and hereditary musicians most affected by the processes. Expertly observed, Recasting Folk in the Himalayas offers an engaging immersion in a little-studied musical milieu.
There is a rich body of literature on the experience of Japanese immigrants in the United States, and there are also numerous accounts of the cultural dislocation felt by American expats in Japan. But what happens when Japanese Americans, born and raised in the United States, are the ones living abroad in Japan?
Redefining Japaneseness chronicles how Japanese American migrants to Japan navigate and complicate the categories of Japanese and “foreigner.” Drawing from extensive interviews and fieldwork in the Tokyo area, Jane H. Yamashiro tracks the multiple ways these migrants strategically negotiate and interpret their daily interactions. Following a diverse group of subjects—some of only Japanese ancestry and others of mixed heritage, some fluent in Japanese and others struggling with the language, some from Hawaii and others from the US continent—her study reveals wide variations in how Japanese Americans perceive both Japaneseness and Americanness.
Making an important contribution to both Asian American studies and scholarship on transnational migration, Redefining Japaneseness critically interrogates the common assumption that people of Japanese ancestry identify as members of a global diaspora. Furthermore, through its close examination of subjects who migrate from one highly-industrialized nation to another, it dramatically expands our picture of the migrant experience.
Birth, puberty, marriage, and death are, in all cultures, marked by ceremonies which may differ but are universal in function. Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) was the first anthropologist to note the regularity and significance of the rituals attached to the transitional stages in man's life, and his phrase for these, "the rites of passage," has become a part of the language of anthropology and sociology.
Trick-or-treating. Flower girls. Bedtime stories. Bar and bat mitvah. In a nation of increasing ethnic, familial, and technological complexity, the patterns of children's lives both persist and evolve. This book considers how such events shape identity and transmit cultural norms, asking such questions as:
* How do immigrant families negotiate between old traditions and new?
* What does it mean when children engage in ritual insults and sick jokes?
* How does playing with dolls reflect and construct feelings of racial identity?
* Whatever happened to the practice of going to the Saturday matinee to see a Western?
* What does it mean for a child to be (in the words of one bride) "flower-girl material"? How does that role
cement a girl's bond to her family and initiate her into society?
* What is the function of masks and costumes, and why do children yearn for these accoutrements of disguise?
Rituals and Patterns in Children's Lives suggests the manifold ways in which America's children come to know their society and themselves.
In 2005, Tony Perman attended a ceremony alongside the living and the dead. His visit to a Zimbabwe farm brought him into contact with the madhlozi, outsider spirits that Ndau people rely upon for guidance, protection, and their collective prosperity.
Perman's encounters with the spirits, the mediums who bring them back, and the accompanying rituals form the heart of his ethnographic account of how the Ndau experience ceremonial musicking. As Perman witnessed other ceremonies, he discovered that music and dancing shape the emotional lives of Ndau individuals by inviting them to experience life's milestones or cope with its misfortunes as a group. Signs of the Spirit explores the historical, spiritual, and social roots of ceremonial action and details how that action influences the Ndau's collective approach to their future. The result is a vivid ethnomusicological journey that delves into the immediacy of musical experience and the forces that transform ceremonial performance into emotions and community.
So They Understand
William Schneider Utah State University Press, 2002 Library of Congress GR72.S35 2002 | Dewey Decimal 398.35
Illustrated with numerous stories collected from Alaska, the Yukon, and South Africa and further enlivened by the author's accessible style and experiences as a longtime oral historian and archivist, So They Understand is a comprehensive study of the special challenges and concerns involved in documenting, representing, preserving, and interpreting oral narratives. The title of the book comes from a quotation by Chief Peter John, the traditional chief of the Tanana Chiefs region in central Alaska: "In between the lines is something special going on in their minds, and that has got to be brought to light, so they understand just exactly what is said."
William Schneider discusses how stories work in relation to their cultures and performance settings, sorts out different types of stories-from broad genres such as personal narratives and life histories to such more specific and less-often considered types as presentations at hearings and other public gatherings-and examines a variety of critical issues, including the roles and relationships of storytellers and interviewers, accurate representation and preservation of stories and their performances, understanding and interpreting their cultural backgrounds and meanings, and intellectual property rights. Throughout, he blends a diverse selection of stories, including his own, into a text rich with pertinent examples.
William Schneider is curator of oral history and associate in anthropology at the Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he introduced oral history "jukeboxes," innovative interactive, multimedia computer files that present and cross-reference audio oral history and related photos and maps. Among other works, his publications include, as editor, Kusiq: An Eskimo Life History from the Arctic Coast of Alaska and, with Phyllis Morrow, When Our Words Return: Writing, Hearing, and Remembering Oral Traditions of Alaska and the Yukon.
The Veiled Prophet organization has been a vital institution in St. Louis for more than a century. Founded in March 1878 by a group of prominent St. Louis businessmen, the organization was fashioned after the New Orleans Carnival society the Mystick Krewe of Comus. In The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Celebration, Thomas Spencer explores the social and cultural functions of the organization's annual celebration—the Veiled Prophet parade and ball—and traces the shifts that occurred over the years in its cultural meaning and importance. Although scholars have researched the more pluralistic parades of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, very little has been done to examine the elite-dominated parades of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This study shows how pluralistic parades ceased to exist in St. Louis and why the upper echelon felt it was so important to end them.
Spencer shows that the celebration originated as the business elite's response to the St. Louis general strike of 1877. Symbolically gaining control of the streets, the elites presented St. Louis history and American history by tracing the triumphs of great men—men who happened to be the Veiled Prophet members' ancestors. The parade, therefore, was intended to awe the masses toward passivity with its symbolic show of power. The members believed that they were helping to boost St. Louis economically and culturally by enticing visitors from the surrounding communities. They also felt that the parades provided the spectators with advice on morals and social issues and distracted them from less desirable behavior like drinking and carousing.
From 1900 to 1965 the celebration continued to include educational and historical elements; thereafter, it began to resemble the commercialized leisure that was increasingly becoming a part of everyday life. The biggest change occurred in the period from 1965 to 1980, when the protests of civil rights groups led many St. Louisans to view the parade and ball as wasteful conspicuous consumption that was often subsidized with taxpayers' money. With membership dropping and the news media giving the organization little notice, it soon began to wither. In response, the leaders of the Veiled Prophet organization decided to have a "VP Fair" over the Fourth of July weekend. The 1990s brought even more changes, and the members began to view the celebration as a way to unite the St. Louis community, with all of its diversity, rather than as a chance to boost the city or teach cultural values. The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Celebration is a valuable addition not only to the cultural history of Missouri and St. Louis but also to recent scholarship on urban culture, city politics, and the history of public celebrations in America.
Incorporating human sacrifice, flaying, and mock warfare, the pre-Columbian Mexican ceremony known as Ochpaniztli, or “Sweeping,” has long attracted attention. Although among the best known of eighteen annual ceremonies, Ochpaniztli’s significance has nevertheless been poorly understood. Ochpaniztli is known mainly from early colonial illustrated manuscripts produced in cross-cultural collaboration between Spanish missionary-chroniclers and native Mexican informants and artists.
Although scholars typically privilege the manuscripts’ textual descriptions, Sweeping the Way examines the fundamental role of their pictorial elements, which significantly expand the information contained in the texts. DiCesare emphasizes the primacy of the regalia, ritual implements, and adornments of the patron “goddess” as the point of intersection between sacred, cosmic forces and ceremonial celebrants. The associations of these paraphernalia indicate that Ochpaniztli was a period of purification rituals, designed to transform and protect individual and communal bodies alike. Spanish friars were unable to apprehend the complex nature of the festival’s patroness, ultimately fragmenting her identity into categories meeting their expectations, which continues to vex modern investigations.
Taken together, the variety of Ochpaniztli sources offer a useful tool for addressing myriad issues of translation and transformation in pre-Columbian and post-conquest Mexico, as Christian friars and native Mexicans together negotiated a complex body of information about outlawed ritual practices and proscribed sacred entities.
In Tavern League, photographer Carl Corey documents a unique and important segment of the Wisconsin community. Our bars are unique micro-communities, offering patrons a sense of belonging. Many of these bars are the only public gathering place in the rural communities they serve. These simple taverns offer the individual the valuable opportunity for face to face conversation and camaraderie, particularly as people become more physically isolated through the accelerated use of the internet’s social networking, mobile texting, gaming, and the rapid-fire of email.
This collection of 60 pictures captures the Wisconsin tavern as it is today. Carl Corey’s view is both familiar and undeniably unique, his pictures resonant with anyone who has set foot in a Wisconsin tavern. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Mary Louise Schumacher has written, “Carl Corey’s photographs . . . document iconic American places that are taken for granted. . . . They are comforting images, places we know, but also eerie and remote, presented with a sense of romance and nostalgia that suggests they are already past.”
Thrift: A Cyclopedia
David Blankenhorn Templeton Press, 2008 Library of Congress HC110.C6B57 2008 | Dewey Decimal 332.0240097303
In today's consumer-driven society, extolling the virtues of thrift might seem like a quaint relic of a bygone era. Americans have embraced the ideas of easy credit, instant gratification, and spending as a tool to combat everything from recessions to the effects of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. In David Blankenhorn's new compendium, Thrift: A Cyclopedia, he reminds readers of a time when thrift was one of America's most cherished cultural values.
Gathering hundreds of quotes, sayings, proverbs, and photographs of Blankenhorn's vast personal collection of thrift memorabilia, this handsome book is a treasure trove of wisdom from around the world and throughout the ages. Readers will find insights from such varied sources as the Bible, the Qur'an, William Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, J. C. Penney, and Warren Buffett. Entries are serious, inspiring, occasionally humorous, and they will go a great way toward expanding the narrow perception of thrift as simple penny pinching; replacing that myopic view with one of a broader thrift—one that, as William H. Kniffen puts it, "earns largely and spends wisely" and leads to a life of independence and comfort well into old age.
Educators and parents will find ample wisdom to pass on to the next generation about the value of hard work, saving for the future, and generosity. Historians will delight in the glimpses into the U.S. thrift movement of the 1920s. Those seeking encouragement and inspiration will find much material here for reflection on the ideals of good stewardship, diligence, and sound financial planning. As our society ails from wastefulness, growing economic inequality, indebtedness, and runaway consumerism, there could be no stronger cure than this powerful little word, "thrift", which finds its root meaning in the word "thrive."
The creative traditions and expressive culture of students' families, neighborhoods, towns, religious communities, and peer groups provide opportunities to extend classrooms, sustain learning beyond school buildings, and better connect students and schools with their communities. Folklorists and educators have long worked together to expand curricula through engagement with local knowledge and informal cultural arts-folk arts in education is a familiar rubric for these programs-but the unrealized potential here, for both the folklore scholar and the teacher, is large. The value folklorists "place on the local, the vernacular, and the aesthetics of daily life does not reverberate" throughout public education, even though, in the words of Paddy Bowman and Lynne Hamer, "connecting young people to family and community members and helping them to develop self-identity are vital to civic well-being and to school success."
Through the Schoolhouse Door offers a collection of experiences from exemplary school programs and the analysis of an expert group of folklorists and educators who are dedicated not only to getting students out the door and into their communities to learn about the folk culture all around them but also to honoring the culture teachers and students bring to the classroom.
To Swim with Crocodiles: Land, Violence, and Belonging in South Africa, 1800–1996 offers a fresh perspective on the history of rural politics in South Africa, from the rise of the Zulu kingdom to the civil war at the dawn of democracy in KwaZulu-Natal. The book shows how Africans in the Table Mountain region drew on the cultural inheritance of ukukhonza—a practice of affiliation that binds together chiefs and subjects—to seek social and physical security in times of war and upheaval. Grounded in a rich combination of archival sources and oral interviews, this book examines relations within and between chiefdoms to bring wider concerns of African studies into focus, including land, violence, chieftaincy, ethnic and nationalist politics, and development. Colonial indirect rule, segregation, and apartheid attempted to fix formerly fluid polities into territorial “tribes” and ethnic identities, but the Zulu practice of ukukhonza maintained its flexibility and endured. By exploring what Zulu men and women knew about and how they remembered ukukhonza, Kelly reveals how Africans envisioned and defined relationships with the land, their chiefs, and their neighbors as white minority rule transformed the countryside and local institutions of governance.
Before the Second Vatican Council, America’s Catholics operated largely as a coherent voting bloc, usually in connection with the Democratic Party. Their episcopal leaders generally spoke for Catholics in political matters; at least, where America’s bishops asserted themselves in public affairs there was little audible dissent from the faithful.
More than occasionally, the immigrant Church’s eagerness to demonstrate its patriotic bona fides furthered its tendency to speak with one voice about national matters, and in line with the broader societal consensus. And, notwithstanding the considerable conflict which Catholics encountered, and generated, in American political life, there was before the Council broad agreement in American culture about the centrality of Biblical morality to the success of Americans’ experiment with republican government.
In other words: before the Council, American Catholics’ relationship to the political common good was mediated, somewhat uncritical, and insulated from conflict (both within and without the Church) over such fundamental matters as protection of innocent life, marriage and family life, and (to a lesser extent) religious liberty.
This has all changed since the mid-1960s. For the first time in the Church’s pilgrimage on these shores, controversial questions about the basic moral requirements of the political common good are front and center for America’s Catholics. These questions require Catholics to confront matters which heretofore they either took for granted, read off from the background culture, or which they left to the bishops to handle. But the Council Fathers rightly recognized that Jesus calls upon a formed and informed laity to act as leaven in the public realm, to bring Gospel values to the temporal sphere. In this book of essays touching upon Catholic social doctrine, the truth about human equality and political liberty, and religious faith as it bears upon public life and the public engagement of lay Catholics, Gerard Bradley supplies indispensable aid to those seeking to answer Jesus’ call.
In Unveiling Traditions Anouar Majid issues a challenge to the West to reimagine Islam as a progressive world culture and a participant in the building of a multicultural and more egalitarian world civilization. From within the highly secularized space it inhabits, a space endemically suspicious of religion, the West must find a way, writes Majid, to embrace Islamic societies as partners in building a more inclusive and culturally diverse global community. Majid moves beyond Edward Said’s unmasking of orientalism in the West to examine the intellectual assumptions that have prevented a more nuanced understanding of Islam’s legacies. In addition to questioning the pervasive logic that assumes the “naturalness” of European social and political organizations, he argues that it is capitalism that has intensified cultural misunderstanding and created global tensions. Besides examining the resiliency of orientalism, the author critically examines the ideologies of nationalism and colonialist categories that have redefined the identity of Muslims (especially Arabs and Africans) in the modern age and totally remapped their cultural geographies. Majid is aware of the need for Muslims to rethink their own assumptions. Addressing the crisis in Arab-Muslim thought caused by a desire to simultaneously “catch up” with the West and also preserve Muslim cultural authenticity, he challenges Arab and Muslim intellectuals to imagine a post-capitalist, post-Eurocentric future. Critical of Islamic patriarchal practices and capitalist hegemony, Majid contends that Muslim feminists have come closest to theorizing a notion of emancipation that rescues Islam from patriarchal domination and resists Eurocentric prejudices. Majid’s timely appeal for a progressive, multicultural dialogue that would pave the way to a polycentric world will interest students and scholars of postcolonial, cultural, Islamic, and Marxist studies.
In Usable Pasts, fourteen authors examine the manipulation of traditional expressions among a variety of groups from the United States and Canada: the development of a pictorial style by Navajo weavers in response to traders, Mexican American responses to the appropriation of traditional foods by Anglos, the expressive forms of communication that engender and sustain a sense of community in an African American women's social club and among elderly Yiddish folksingers in Miami Beach, the incorporation of mass media images into the "C&Ts" (customs and traditions) of a Boy Scout troop, the changing meaning of their defining Exodus-like migration to Mormons, Newfoundlanders' appropriation through the rum-drinking ritual called the Schreech-In of outsiders' stereotypes, outsiders' imposition of the once-despised lobster as the emblem of Maine, the contest over Texas's heroic Alamo legend and its departures from historical fact, and how yellow ribbons were transformed from an image in a pop song to a national symbol of "resolve."
The grand palaces and princely villas of the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty—Nymphenburg, Schleissheim, the vast Residenzschloss in Munich, and others—impress visitors with their great halls and intimate cabinets, dramatic stairhalls and seemingly endless rows of sumptuously decorated rooms. But these dazzling residences did not exist solely to delight the eye. In The Utility of Splendor, Samuel John Klingensmith discusses how, over the years, successive rulers reshaped the internal spaces of their residences to reflect changes in the elaborate ceremony that regulated daily life at court.
Drawing on a broad range of sources, including building documents, correspondence, diaries, and court regulations, Klingensmith investigates the intricacies of Bavarian court practice and shows that Versailles was only one among several influences on German palace planning. Klingensmith offers a cogent, detailed understanding of the relations between architectural spaces and the ceremonial, social, and private life that both required and used them. Handsomely illustrated with photographs and plans, The Utility of Splendor will appeal to anyone interested in how life was lived among the nobility during the last centuries of the old regime.
Samuel John Klingensmith (1949-1986) was assistant professor of art history at Tulane University.
Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England's response to the Duke's death.
The Wake of Wellington considers Wellington's spectacular funeral pageant in the fall of 1852—an unprecedented event that attracted one and a half million spectators to London—as a threshold event against which the life of the soldier-hero and High-Tory statesman could be re-viewed and represented.
Canvassing a profuse and dramatically proliferating Wellingtoniana, Sinnema examines the various assumptions behind, and implications of, the Times's celebrated claim that the Irish-born Wellington “was the very type and model of an Englishman.” The dead duke, as Sinnema demonstrates, was repeatedly caught up in interpretive practices that stressed the quasi-symbolic relations between hero and nation.
The Wake of Wellington provides a unique view of how in death Wellington and his career were promoted as the consummation of a national destiny intimately bound up with Englishness itself, and with what it meant to be English at midcentury.
Warrior Ways is one of the first book-length explorations of military folklife, and focuses on the lore produced by modern American warriors, illuminating the ways in which members of the armed services creatively express the complex experience of military life. In short, lively essays, contributors to the volume, all of whom have close personal or professional relationships to the military, examine battlefield talismans, personal narrative (storytelling), “Jody calls” (marching and running cadences), slang, homophobia and transgressive humor, music, and photography, among other cultural expressions.
Military folklore does not remain in an isolated subculture; it reveals our common humanity by delighting, disturbing, infuriating, and inspiring both those deeply invested in and those peripherally touched by military life. Highlighting the contemporary and historical importance of the military in American life, Warrior Ways will be of interest to scholars and students of folklore, anthropology, and popular culture; those involved in veteran services and education; and general readers interested in military culture.
Held annually, the McCall, Idaho, winter carnival has become a modern tradition. A festival and celebration, it is also a source of community income and opportunity for shared community effort; a chance to display the town attractively to outsiders and to define and assert McCall's identity; and consequently, a source of disagreement among citizens over what their community is, how it should be presented, and what the carnival means.
Though rooted in the broad traditions of community festival, annual civic events, often sponsored by chambers of commerce, such as that in McCall, are as much expressions of popular culture and local commerce as of older traditions. Yet they become dynamic, newer community traditions, with artistic, informal, and social meanings and practices that make them forms of folklore as well as commoditized culture. Winter Carnival is the first volume in a new Utah State University Press series titled Ritual, Festival, and Celebration and edited by folklorist Jack Santino.