TESTIMONY: DEATH OF A GUATEMALAN VILLAGE is an eyewitness account by a Guatemalan primary school teacher detailing one instance of violent conflict between the indigenous Maya people and the army. An accidental clash between the village's "civil patrol" and a Guatemalan army troop leads to the execution or imprisonment of many villagers. Written in clear, direct prose, this account reads like an adventure story while conveying an historical reality. This vital and essential record captures how Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which reached its most violent peak in the 1980s, ripped the traditional fabric of Guatemalan society.
The Vaqueiros de Alzada, a cattle-herding people in the Asturian mountains of Spain, have one of the highest suicide rates in Europe—and an attitude toward death that gives this statistic unusual meaning. This World, Other Worlds considers death among the Vaqueiros as a central cultural fact which reveals local ideas about the origin and destiny of humans, the relations of humans and animals, the configuration of the universe, and the nature of society. Interested chiefly in the conceptual and meaningful aspects of death, María Cátedra focuses on the cultural resources with which the Vaqueiros confront their own mortality—how they experience death and what this reveals about the way they see this world and other worlds.
Applying sensitive ethnographic insight to a rich body of oral testimony, Cátedra discloses an unsuspected symbolic universe native to the Vaqueiros. Death is seen here in close, coherent relation to pain, age, and suffering; sickness and suicide, one must understand the cultural valuation of different ways of dying and the conditions under which suicides take place. To understand what it means to be a Vaqueiro is to understand how suicide can be perceived by a people as acceptable.
A groundbreaking work in European ethnography, This World, Other Worlds takes symbolic analysis to a new level. In its illumination of local conceptions of death, grace, and sainthood, the book also makes a substantial contribution to the anthropology of religion.
This book offers a new way of looking at Saint Thomas Aquinas-not as a living man, but as a posthumous source of relics. Marika Räsänen delves deep into the strange relationship between Aquinas's physical remains and the devotional moments they enabled-in many cases in situations where the actual relics were not present, but were recreated verbally, pictorially, or allegorically. Both the actual relics and these extended manifestations of them, Räsänen shows, were equally real to the medieval spectator, though the question of the material presence of Aquinas's remains became increasingly important over time amid the political tumult of southern Italy.
This latest volume in the acclaimed AATSEEL series assembles fact and informed opinion on the most celebrated work of Tolstoy's later period. Published for the first time are a new stylistic analysis of the novel by C.J.G. Turner and a psychological commentary by Daniel Rancour-Laferriere. Reprinted work includes landmark papers on the symbolism of the novel by Rimgaila Salys and on its central thematic concerns by George J. Gutsche. Completing the volume is Philip Rogers's discussion of the novel from the point of view of the comparatist. Editor Gary R. Jahn adds both factual and interpretative annotations to the novel.
Tracing the erosion of democratic norms in the US and the conditions that make it possible
Jonathan Beecher Field tracks the permutations of the town hall meeting from its original context as a form of democratic community governance in New England into a format for presidential debates and a staple of corporate governance. In its contemporary iteration, the town hall meeting models the aesthetic of the former but replaces actual democratic deliberation with a spectacle that involves no immediate electoral stakes or functions as a glorified press conference. Urgently, Field notes that though this evolution might be apparent, evidence suggests many US citizens don’t care to differentiate.
Forerunners: Ideas First
Short books of thought-in-process scholarship, where intense analysis, questioning, and speculation take the lead
Two Moon Journey tells the story of a young Potawatomi Indian named Simu-quah and her family and friends who were forced from their village at Twin Lakes, near Rochester, Indiana, where they had lived for generations, to beyond the Mississippi River in Kansas. Historically the journey is known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Like the real Potawatomi, Simu-quah would live forever with the vision of her home and the rest of the Twin Lakes village being burnt to the ground by the soldiers as she took her first steps to a distant and frightening westward land. She experiences the heat and exhaustion of endless days of walking; helps nurse sick children and the elderly in a covered wagon that was ill-smelling, hot, and airless; sleeps beside strange streams and caves—and turns from hating the soldiers to seeing them as people. In Kansas, as she planted corn seeds she had saved from her Indiana home, she turns away from the bitterness of removal and finds forgiveness, the first step in the journey of her new life in Kansas.