Patricia C. Henderson, a South African anthropologist, resided from March 2003 to February 2006 in Okhahlamba, a municipality in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. In this book, she recounts her experience among this rural population who lived under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Spanning a period that starts before antiretrovirals were readily available to a time when these treatments were finally used to care for the ill, this powerful account of a terrible disease and the communities which it affects focuses on the ties between suffering and kinship in South Africa.
Why does passion bewilder and torment so many Victorian protagonists? And why do so many literary characters experience moments of ecstasy before their deaths? In this original study, Christopher Lane shows why Victorian fiction conveys both the pleasure and anguish of intimacy. Examining works by Bulwer-Lytton, Swinburne, Schreiner, Hardy, James, Santayana, and Forster, he argues that these writers struggled with aspects of psychology that were undermining the utilitarian ethos of the Victorian age.
Lane discredits the conservative notion that Victorian literature expresses only a demand for repression and moral restraint. But he also refutes historicist and Foucauldian approaches, arguing that they dismiss the very idea of repression and end up denouncing psychoanalysis as complicit in various kinds of oppression. These approaches, Lane argues, reduce Victorian literature to a drama about politics, power, and the ego. Striving instead to reinvigorate discussions of fantasy and the unconscious, Lane offers a clear, often startling account of writers who grapple with the genuine complexities of love, desire, and friendship.
For centuries, French was the language of international commercial and diplomatic relations, a near-dominant language in literature and poetry, and was widely used in teaching. It even became the fashionable language of choice in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for upper class Dutch, Russians, Italians, Egyptians, and others for personal correspondence, travel journals, and memoirs. This book is the first to take a close look at how French was used in that latter context: outside of France, in personal and private life. It gathers contributions from historians, literary scholars, and linguists and covers a wide range of geographical areas.
A milestone in U.S. historiography, Haunted by Empire brings postcolonial critiques to bear on North American history and draws on that history to question the analytic conventions of postcolonial studies. The contributors to this innovative collection examine the critical role of “domains of the intimate” in the consolidation of colonial power. They demonstrate how the categories of difference underlying colonialism—the distinctions advanced as the justification for the colonizer’s rule of the colonized—were enacted and reinforced in intimate realms from the bedroom to the classroom to the medical examining room. Together the essays focus attention on the politics of comparison—on how colonizers differentiated one group or set of behaviors from another—and on the circulation of knowledge and ideologies within and between imperial projects. Ultimately, this collection forces a rethinking of what historians choose to compare and of the epistemological grounds on which those choices are based.
Haunted by Empire includes Ann Laura Stoler’s seminal essay “Tense and Tender Ties” as well as her bold introduction, which carves out the exciting new analytic and methodological ground animated by this comparative venture. The contributors engage in a lively cross-disciplinary conversation, drawing on history, anthropology, literature, philosophy, and public health. They address such topics as the regulation of Hindu marriages and gay sexuality in the early-twentieth-century United States; the framing of multiple-choice intelligence tests; the deeply entangled histories of Asian, African, and native peoples in the Americas; the racial categorizations used in the 1890 U.S. census; and the politics of race and space in French colonial New Orleans. Linda Gordon, Catherine Hall, and Nancy F. Cott each provide a concluding essay reflecting on the innovations and implications of the arguments advanced in Haunted by Empire.
Contributors. Warwick Anderson, Laura Briggs, Kathleen Brown, Nancy F. Cott, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Linda Gordon, Catherine Hall, Martha Hodes, Paul A. Kramer, Lisa Lowe, Tiya Miles, Gwenn A. Miller, Emily S. Rosenberg, Damon Salesa, Nayan Shah, Alexandra Minna Stern, Ann Laura Stoler, Laura Wexler
Gabeba Baderoon’s The History of Intimacy is a tender, tangled account of the heady days in South Africa following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. This award-winning poetry collection portrays the innovative forms of music, kinship, and even self in “the new, intricate country / we understood was impossible.” Gazing at black-and-white photos from back home, a woman who has moved to the United States realizes, “Memory doesn’t come to me straight.” Conversations overheard in line at the DMV reveal the complex nature of identity. When asked to name the color of her skin, a girl confides, “It was the first time I admitted / I loved the skin of white boys.” The poems are also light-hearted. In “Ghost Technologies,” about romance in the early days of the internet, the speaker recalls “when we loved each other on dial-up.” The collection begins and ends with poems on writing, paying tribute to poets such as Keorapetse Kgositsile and Archie Markham who taught her that “a border / is a place of yielding or refusing to yield / for after refusal might lie a new country.”
Born on the coastal shores of Port Elizabeth, Baderoon is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed literary voices. In The History of Intimacy—originally published by Kwela Books—she crafts resonant poems about a writer’s beginnings, love across boundaries, and “how not to be alone.”
As we live longer and die slower and differently than our ancestors, we have come to rely more and more on end-of-life caregivers. These workers navigate a changing landscape of old age and death that many of us have little preparation to encounter. How We Die Now is an absorbing and sensitive investigation of end-of-life issues from the perspectives of patients, relatives, medical professionals, and support staff.
Karla Erickson immersed herself in the daily life of workers and elders in a Midwestern community for over two years to explore important questions around the theme of “how we die now.” She moves readers through and beyond the many fears that attend the social condition of old age and reveals the pleasures of living longer and the costs of slower, sometimes senseless ways of dying.
For all of us who are grappling with the “elder boom,” How We Die Now offers new ways of thinking about our longer lives.
Catherine Imbriglio University Press of Colorado, 2013 Library of Congress PS3609.M37A6 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Winner of the 2013 Colorado Prize for Poetry
Intimacy is a series of experimental poems that play with, resist, and acknowledge complicity with received concepts of intimacy that circulate in this media-centric age. Undertaking an expansive understanding of the word “intimacy”, each poem contains a word or set of words that modifies the noun, uncovering the attending, associative and often contradictory obligations that arise in our relations with one another.
Edited by Lauren Berlant University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress BF575.I5I57 2000 | Dewey Decimal 302
Last year's impeachment of President Bill Clinton demonstrated the paradox, but did not begin to explain it.
How is it that "private matters" are analyzed endlessly in public forums on a daily basis? Why is it assumed that "getting a life" means having a private relationship? Intended to unravel some of the tangled relations that fall under the broad category of "intimacy," this provocative collection of sixteen essays articulates the ways in which intimate lives are connected with the institutions, ideologies, and desires that organize people's worlds.
Locating its domain in the familiar spaces of friendship, love, sex, family, and feeling "at home," Intimacy also examines the estrangement, betrayal, loneliness, and even violence that may accompany the demise of relationships, both personal and political. These include intimacies among strangers, such as happens in times of national scandal or habits of everyday life. The contributors to this volume traverse many disciplines and cultures, tracking the processes by which intimate lives absorb and repel the dominant rhetoric, law, ethics, and ideologies of public spheres. Drawing on examples from contemporary culture, history, art, literature, and music, this book illuminates the ways in which intimacy has become linked with stories of citizenship, capitalism, aesthetic forms, and the writing of history. As it challenges conventional notions of private life, Intimacy is sure to spark controversy about its institutions as well.
Some of these essays in this book were previously published in an award-winning issue of the journal "Critical Inquiry."
Contributors include Lauren Berlant, Svetlana Boym, Steven Feld, Deborah R. Grayson, Michael Hanchard, Dagmar Herzog, Annamarie Jagose, Laura Kipnis, Laura Letinsky, Biddy Martin, Maureen McLane, Mary Poovey, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, Joel Snyder, Candace Vogler, Michael Warner, and others.
Intimacy: A Novel
Stanley Crawford University of Alabama Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3553.R295I58 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Intimacy is the story of an unnamed narrator ruminating on suicide. He reflects on the origins and significance of his material possessions, and on the seemingly inconsequential moments in his life, while he prepares to carry out his plans.
In this melancholy novel about a man on the brink of suicide, Stanley Crawford allows readers to question what it really means to be close to a person. Intimacy follows an unnamed narrator planning his own death. His preparations become a trigger and occasion for him to revisit key moments in his life and his material possessions, which are the solid artifacts from his life’s journey.
As sparrows in flight might form a single arrow, the life of the narrator comes into focus as a collage of fleeting events and images. Readers gain insights into tiny moments that slowly build into a picture of a man who seems to have very little, aside from material possessions, to lose.
The narrative pulls the reader along a trail of digressions—about running shoes, about the symbolism of rings—that lead down a proverbial rabbit hole until we realize the narrator’s intentions. Despite our lack of concrete knowledge about the narrator’s life, he allows us to share his thought processes: how every thought leads to the next, how memories seep upward when he picks up a particular T-shirt, or when he glimpses his car keys. And alongside our growing understanding of the narrator comes a recognition of our own thought processes: how we, like him, relate to our bodies; how we, too, cannot break away from the constant motion of our thoughts.
Intimacy is a brief, intense novel charged with the heightened sense of closeness that comes from watching a man’s last hours. It illuminates how brief snapshots of memory can trace the outline of an entire life.
Nineteenth-century America was a sprawling new nation unmoored from precedent and the mainstays of European nationalism. In their search for nationality, Americans sought coherence in a feeling of belonging shared among diverse and scattered strangers. Reading seminal works by Thomas Jefferson, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Walt Whitman, Peter Coviello traces these writers' enthusiasms and their ambivalences about the dream of an intimate nationality, revealing how race and sexuality were used as vehicles for an assumed national coherence. As Coviello shows, race - and especially whiteness - functioned less as a form of identity than as a model of attachment and identification, a language of affiliation. Whiteness created an imaginary fraternity that symbolized citizenship, the ownership of property, and an affinity between strangers, which became entangled in the nation's evolving codes of sexuality. Bringing race theory and "white studies" into dialogue with questions of intimacy and affect, Coviello provides a practical rapprochement between historicist and psychoanalytic methodologies. Intimacy in America gives us a new perspective on the national meanings of race and sex in American literature, as well as on the still-current dream of American-ness as an impassioned relation to far-flung, anonymous others.
The true scale of paper production in America from 1690 through the end of the nineteenth century was staggering, with a range of parties participating in different ways, from farmers growing flax to textile workers weaving cloth and from housewives saving rags to peddlers collecting them. Making a bold case for the importance of printing and paper technology in the study of early American literature, Jonathan Senchyne presents archival evidence of the effects of this very visible process on American writers, such as Anne Bradstreet, Herman Melville, Lydia Sigourney, William Wells Brown, and other lesser-known figures.
The Intimacy of Paper in Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature reveals that book history and literary studies are mutually constitutive and proposes a new literary periodization based on materiality and paper production. In unpacking this history and connecting it to cultural and literary representations, Senchyne also explores how the textuality of paper has been used to make social and political claims about gender, labor, and race.
A photograph of two men, cowboy-hatted and -booted and discreetly holding hands, is the departure point in a groundbreaking study on masculinity and homosexuality in Mexico. Just Between Us, an ethnography of intimacy and affection between men, explores the concept of masculine identity and homoeroticism, expressing the difficulties men face in maintaining their masculinity while expressing intimacy and affection.
Using fieldwork from rural Sonora, Mexico, Guillermo Núñez Noriega posits that men accept this intimacy outside gender categories and stereotypes, despite the traditional patriarchal society. This work contests homophobia and the heterosexual ideal of men and attempts to break down the barriers between genders.
The photograph Núñez Noriega uses to explore the shifting attitudes and perceptions of sexuality and gender provokes more questions than answers. Recognizing the societal regulations at play, the author demonstrates the existence in contemporary Mexico of an invisible regime of power that constructs and regulates the field of possibilities for men’s social actions, especially acts of friendship, affection, and eroticism with other men. The work investigates “modes of speaking” about being a man, on being gay, on the implicit meanings of the words homosexual, masculine, trade, fairy, and others—words that construct possibilities for intimacy, particularly affective and erotic intimacy among men.
Multiple variants of homoeroticism fall outside the dominant model, Núñez Noriega argues, a finding that offers many lessons on men and masculine identities. This book challenges patriarchal definitions of sex, gender, and identity; it promotes the unlearning of dominant conventions of masculinity to allow new ways of being.
Now part and parcel of everyday life almost everywhere, mobile phones have radically transformed how we acquire and exchange information. Many anticipated that in Africa, where most have gone from no phone to mobile phone, improved access to telecommunication would enhance everything from entrepreneurialism to democratization to service delivery, ushering in socio-economic development.
With Mobile Secrets, Julie Soleil Archambault offers a complete rethinking of how we understand uncertainty, truth, and ignorance by revealing how better access to information may in fact be anything but desirable. By engaging with young adults in a Mozambique suburb, Archambault shows how, in their efforts to create fulfilling lives, young men and women rely on mobile communication not only to mitigate everyday uncertainty but also to juggle the demands of intimacy by courting, producing, and sustaining uncertainty. In their hands, the phone has become a necessary tool in a wider arsenal of pretense—a means of creating the open-endedness on which harmonious social relations depend in postwar postsocialist Mozambique. As Mobile Secrets shows, Mozambicans have harnessed the technology not only to acquire information but also to subvert regimes of truth and preserve public secrets, allowing everyone to feign ignorance about the workings of the postwar intimate economy.
Winner of the Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies
One of the first books on “Gays in the Military” published following the historic repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011, Napoleonic Friendship examines the history of male intimacy in the French military, from Napoleon to the First World War. Echoing the historical record of gay soldiers in the United States, Napoleonic Friendship is the first book-length study on the origin of queer soldiers in modern France. Based on extensive archival research in France, the book traces the development of affectionate friendships in the French Army from 1789 to 1916. Following the French Revolution, radical military reforms created conditions for new physical and emotional intimacy between soldiers, establishing a model of fraternal affection during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars that would persist amid the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War and World War I. Through readings of Napoleonic military memoirs (and other non-fiction archival material) and French military fiction (from Hugo and Balzac to Zola and Proust), Martin examines a broad range of emotional and erotic relationships, from combat buddies to soldier lovers. He argues that the French Revolution’s emphasis on military fraternity evolved into an unprecedented sense of camaraderie in the armies of Napoleon. For many soldiers, the hardships of combat led to intimate friendships. For some, the homosociality of military life inspired mutual affection, lifelong commitment, and homoerotic desire.
What is the relationship between our isolated and our social selves, between aloneness and interconnection? Constance M. Furey probes this question through a suggestive literary tradition: early Protestant poems in which a single speaker describes a solitary search for God.
As Furey demonstrates, John Donne, George Herbert, Anne Bradstreet, and others describe inner lives that are surprisingly crowded, teeming with human as well as divine companions. The same early modern writers who bequeathed to us the modern distinction between self and society reveal here a different way of thinking about selfhood altogether. For them, she argues, the self is neither alone nor universally connected, but is forever interactive and dynamically constituted by specific relationships. By means of an analysis equally attentive to theological ideas, social conventions, and poetic form, Furey reveals how poets who understand introspection as a relational act, and poetry itself as a form ideally suited to crafting a relational self, offer us new ways of thinking about selfhood today—and a resource for reimagining both secular and religious ways of being in the world.
In early nineteenth-century Russia, members of jocular literary societies gathered to recite works written in the lightest of genres: the friendly verse epistle, the burlesque, the epigram, the comic narrative poem, the prose parody. In a period marked by the Decembrist Uprising and heightened state scrutiny into private life, these activities were hardly considered frivolous; such works and the domestic, insular spaces within which they were created could be seen by the Russian state as rebellious, at times even treasonous.
Joe Peschio offers the first comprehensive history of a set of associated behaviors known in Russian as “shalosti,” a word which at the time could refer to provocative behaviors like practical joking, insubordination, ritual humiliation, or vandalism, among other things, but also to literary manifestations of these behaviors such as the use of obscenities in poems, impenetrably obscure allusions, and all manner of literary inside jokes. One of the period’s most fashionable literary and social poses became this complex of behaviors taken together. Peschio explains the importance of literary shalosti as a form of challenge to the legitimacy of existing literary institutions and sometimes the Russian regime itself. Working with a wide variety of primary texts—from verse epistles to denunciations, etiquette manuals, and previously unknown archival materials—Peschio argues that the formal innovations fueled by such “prankish” types of literary behavior posed a greater threat to the watchful Russian government and the literary institutions it fostered than did ordinary civic verse or overtly polemical prose.
Debates on the end-of-life controversy are complex because they seem to highjack national and cultural traditions. Where previous books have focused on ideological grounds, The Politics of Intimacy explores dying as the site where policies are negotiated and implemented. Intimacy comprises the emotional experience of the end of life and how we acknowledge it—or not—through institutions. This process shows that end-of-life controversy relies on the conflict between the individual and these institutions, a relationship that is the cornerstone of Western liberal democracies.
Through interviews with mourners, stakeholders, and medical professionals, examination of media debates in France and the Czech Republic, Durnová shows that liberal institutions, in their attempts to accommodate the emotional experience at the end of life, ultimately fail. She describes this deadlock as the “politics of intimacy,” revealing that political institutions deploy power through collective acknowledgment of individual emotions but fail to maintain this recognition because of this same experience.
In the global imagination, Paris is the city's glamorous center, ignoring the Muslim residents in its outskirts except in moments of spectacular crisis such as terrorist attacks or riots. But colonial immigrants and their French offspring have been a significant presence in the Parisian landscape since the 1940s. Expanding the narrow script of what and who is Paris, Laila Amine explores the novels, films, and street art of Maghrebis, Franco-Arabs, and African Americans in the City of Light, including fiction by Charef, Chraïbi, Sebbar, Baldwin, Smith, and Wright, and such films as La haine, Made in France, Chouchou, and A Son.
Spanning the decades from the post–World War II era to the present day, Amine demonstrates that the postcolonial other is both peripheral to and intimately entangled with all the ideals so famously evoked by the French capital—romance, modernity, equality, and liberty. In their work, postcolonial writers and artists have juxtaposed these ideals with colonial tropes of intimacy (the interracial couple, the harem, the Arab queer) to expose their hidden violence. Amine highlights the intrusion of race in everyday life in a nation where, officially, it does not exist.
In November 2001, the state of Alabama opened a referendum on its long-standing constitutional prohibition against interracial marriage. A bill on the state ballot offered the opportunity to relegate the state's antimiscegenation law to the dustbin of history. The measure passed, but the margin was alarmingly slim: more than half a million voters, 40 percent of those who went to the polls, voted to retain a racist and constitutionally untenable law.
Julie Novkov's Racial Union explains how and why, nearly forty years after the height of the civil rights movement, Alabama struggled to repeal its prohibition against interracial marriage---the last state in the Union to do so. Novkov's compelling history of Alabama's battle over miscegenation shows how the fight shaped the meanings of race and state over ninety years. Novkov's work tells us much about the sometimes parallel, sometimes convergent evolution of our concepts of race and state in the nation as a whole.
"A remarkably nuanced account of interlocked struggles over race, gender, class and state power. Novkov's site is Alabama, but her insights are for all America."
---Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
"Hannah Arendt shocked Americans in the 1950s by suggesting that interracial intimacy was the true measure of a society's racial order. Julie Novkov's careful, illuminating, powerful book confirms Arendt's judgment. By ruling on who may be sexually linked with whom, Alabama's courts and legislators created a racial order and even a broad political order; Novkov shows us just how it worked in all of its painful, humiliating power."
---Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor
In 1345, when Petrarch recovered a lost collection of letters from Cicero to his best friend Atticus, he discovered an intimate Cicero, a man very different from either the well-known orator of the Roman forum or the measured spokesman for the ancient schools of philosophy. It was Petrarch’s encounter with this previously unknown Cicero and his letters that Kathy Eden argues fundamentally changed the way Europeans from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries were expected to read and write.
The Renaissance Rediscovery of Intimacy explores the way ancient epistolary theory and practice were understood and imitated in the European Renaissance.Eden draws chiefly upon Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca—but also upon Plato, Demetrius, Quintilian, and many others—to show how the classical genre of the “familiar” letter emerged centuries later in the intimate styles of Petrarch, Erasmus, and Montaigne. Along the way, she reveals how the complex concept of intimacy in the Renaissance—leveraging the legal, affective, and stylistic dimensions of its prehistory in antiquity—pervades the literary production and reception of the period and sets the course for much that is modern in the literature of subsequent centuries. Eden’s important study will interest students and scholars in a number of areas, including classical, Renaissance, and early modern studies; comparative literature; and the history of reading, rhetoric, and writing.
In Reproducing the French Race, Elisa Camiscioli argues that immigration was a defining feature of early-twentieth-century France, and she examines the political, cultural, and social issues implicated in public debates about immigration and national identity at the time. Camiscioli demonstrates that mass immigration provided politicians, jurists, industrialists, racial theorists, feminists, and others with ample opportunity to explore questions of French racial belonging, France’s relationship to the colonial empire and the rest of Europe, and the connections between race and national anxieties regarding depopulation and degeneration. She also shows that discussions of the nation and its citizenry consistently returned to the body: its color and gender, its expenditure of labor power, its reproductive capacity, and its experience of desire. Of paramount importance was the question of which kinds of bodies could assimilate into the “French race.”
By focusing on telling aspects of the immigration debate, Camiscioli reveals how racial hierarchies were constructed, how gender figured in their creation, and how only white Europeans were cast as assimilable. Delving into pronatalist politics, she describes how potential immigrants were ranked according to their imagined capacity to adapt to the workplace and family life in France. She traces the links between racialized categories and concerns about industrial skills and output, and she examines medico-hygienic texts on interracial sex, connecting those to the crusade against prostitution and the related campaign to abolish “white slavery,” the alleged entrapment of (white) women for sale into prostitution abroad. Camiscioli also explores the debate surrounding the 1927 law that first made it possible for French women who married foreigners to keep their French nationality. She concludes by linking the Third Republic’s impulse to create racial hierarchies to the emergence of the Vichy regime.
Los Angeles, called Tehrangeles because it is home to the largest concentration of Iranians outside of Iran, is the birthplace of a distinctive form of postrevolutionary pop music. Created by professional musicians and media producers fleeing Iran's revolutionary-era ban on “immoral” popular music, Tehrangeles pop has been a part of daily life for Iranians at home and abroad for decades. In Tehrangeles Dreaming Farzaneh Hemmasi draws on ethnographic fieldwork in Los Angeles and musical and textual analysis to examine how the songs, music videos, and television made in Tehrangeles express modes of Iranianness not possible in Iran. Exploring Tehrangeles pop producers' complex commercial and political positioning and the histories, sensations, and fantasies their music makes available to global Iranian audiences, Hemmasi shows how unquestionably Iranian forms of Tehrangeles popular culture exemplify the manner in which culture, media, and diaspora combine to respond to the Iranian state and its political transformations. The transnational circulation of Tehrangeles culture, she contends, transgresses Iran's geographical, legal, and moral boundaries while allowing all Iranians the ability to imagine new forms of identity and belonging.
Generations of social thinkers have assumed that access to legitimate paid employment and a decline in the ‘double standard’ would eliminate the reasons behind women’s participation in prostitution. Yet in both the developing world and in postindustrial cities of the West, sexual commerce has continued to flourish, diversifying along technological, spatial, and social lines. In this deeply engaging and theoretically provocative study, Elizabeth Bernstein examines the social features that undergird the expansion and diversification of commercialized sex, demonstrating the ways that postindustrial economic and cultural formations have spawned rapid and unforeseen changes in the forms, meanings, and spatial organization of sexual labor.
Drawing upon dynamic and innovative research with sex workers, their clients, and state actors, Bernstein argues that in cities such as San Francisco, Stockholm, and Amstersdam, the nature of what is purchased in commercial sexual encounters is also new. Rather than the expedient exchange of cash for sexual relations, what sex workers are increasingly paid to offer their clients is an erotic experience premised upon the performance of authentic interpersonal connection. As such, contemporary sex markets are emblematic of a cultural moment in which the boundaries between intimacy and commerce—and between public life and private—have been radically redrawn. Not simply a compelling exploration of the changing landscape of sex-work, Temporarily Yours ultimately lays bare the intimate intersections of political economy, desire, and culture.
Refrains about financial hardship are ubiquitous in contemporary Nigeria, frequently expressed through the idiom “to be a man is not a one-day job.” But while men talk constantly about money, underlying their economic worries are broader concerns about the shifting meanings of masculinity, amid changing expectations and practices of intimacy.
Drawing on twenty-five years of experience in southeastern Nigeria, Daniel Jordan Smith takes readers through the principal phases and arenas of men’s lives: the transition to adulthood; searching for work and making a living; courtship, marriage, and fatherhood; fraternal and political relationships; and finally, the attainment of elder status and death. He relates men’s struggles both to fulfill their own aspirations and to meet society’s expectations. He also considers men who behave badly, mistreat their wives and children, or resort to crime and violence. All of these men face similar challenges as they navigate the complex geometry of money and intimacy. Unraveling these connections, Smith argues, provides us with a deeper understanding of both masculinity and society in Nigeria.
Many authors have been accused of betraying their loved ones by turning them into fictional characters. In The Treacherous Imagination, Robert McGill examines the ethics of writing such stories. He argues that while fiction has long appealed to readers with its narratives of private life, contemporary autobiographical fiction channels a widespread ambivalence about the value of telling all in a confessional age—an age in which fiction has an unprecedented power to leave people feeling libeled or exposed when they recognize themselves in it.
Observing that the interests of authors and their loved ones in such cases are often less divergent than they appear, McGill assess strategies by which both parties might use fiction not to hurt each other but to revise and revitalize intimacy. Discussing authors such as Philip Roth, Alice Munro, A. S. Byatt, and Hanif Kureishi, McGill questions whether people should always require exclusivity of each other with regard to the stories they tell about private life. Instead, authors and their intimates might jointly embrace fiction’s playful, transgressive qualities, even while reexamining the significance of that fiction’s intimations.
In treating autobiographical fiction as both a willful public indiscretion and a mediator of intimate relations, The Treacherous Imagination provides a comprehensive account of the various potentials that fiction holds to harm and to help those who write it, those who read it, and those who see themselves in it.
The nation's leading minister stands accused of adultery. He vehemently denies the charge but confesses to being on "the ragged edge of despair." His alleged lover is a woman of mystical faith, nearly "Catholic" in her piety. Her husband, a famous writer, sues the minister for damages. A six-month trial ends inconclusively, but it holds the nation in thrall. It produces gripping drama, scathing cartoons, and soul-searching editorials. Trials of Intimacy is the story of a scandal that shook American culture to the core in the 1870s because the key players were such vaunted moral leaders. In that respect there has never been another case like it—except The Scarlet Letter, to which it was constantly compared.
Henry Ward Beecher was pastor of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church and for many the "representative man" of mid-nineteenth century America. Elizabeth Tilton was the wife of Beecher's longtime intimate friend Theodore. His accusation of "criminal conversation" between Henry and Elizabeth confronted the American public with entirely new dilemmas about religion and intimacy, privacy and publicity, reputation and celebrity. The scandal spotlighted a series of comic and tragic loves and betrayals among these three figures, with a supporting cast that included Victoria Woodhull, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
To readers at the time, the Beecher-Tilton Scandal was an irresistible mystery. Richard Fox puts his readers into that same reverberating story, while offering it as a timeless tale of love, deception, faith, and the confounding indeterminacy of truth. Trials of Intimacy revises our conception of nineteenth-century morals and passions. And it is an American history richly resonant with present-day dramas.
In Dante’s Inferno, the lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors, those who betrayed their closest companions. In a wide range of literatures and mythologies such intimate aggression is a source of ultimate terror, and in Witchcraft, Intimacy, and Trust, Peter Geschiere masterfully sketches it as a central ember at the core of human relationships, one brutally revealed in the practice of witchcraft. Examining witchcraft in its variety of forms throughout the globe, he shows how this often misunderstood practice is deeply structured by intimacy and the powers it affords. In doing so, he offers not only a comprehensive look at contemporary witchcraft but also a fresh—if troubling—new way to think about intimacy itself.
Geschiere begins in the forests of southeast Cameroon with the Maka, who fear “witchcraft of the house” above all else. Drawing a variety of local conceptions of intimacy into a global arc, he tracks notions of the home and family—and witchcraft’s transgression of them—throughout Africa, Europe, Brazil, and Oceania, showing that witchcraft provides powerful ways of addressing issues that are crucial to social relationships. Indeed, by uncovering the link between intimacy and witchcraft in so many parts of the world, he paints a provocative picture of human sociality that scrutinizes some of the most prevalent views held by contemporary social science.
One of the few books to situate witchcraft in a global context, Witchcraft, Intimacy, and Trust is at once a theoretical tour de force and an empirically rich and lucid take on a difficult-to-understand spiritual practice and the private spaces throughout the world it so greatly affects.