Drawing on more than two years of participant observation in the American Midwest and in Madagascar among Lutheran clinicians, volunteer laborers, healers, evangelists, and former missionaries, Conversionary Sites investigates the role of religion in the globalization of medicine. Based on immersive research of a transnational Christian medical aid program, Britt Halvorson tells the story of a thirty-year-old initiative that aimed to professionalize and modernize colonial-era evangelism. Creatively blending perspectives on humanitarianism, global medicine, and the anthropology of Christianity, she argues that the cultural spaces created by these programs operate as multistranded “conversionary sites,” where questions of global inequality, transnational religious fellowship, and postcolonial cultural and economic forces are negotiated.
A nuanced critique of the ambivalent relationships among religion, capitalism, and humanitarian aid, Conversionary Sites draws important connections between religion and science, capitalism and charity, and the US and the Global South.
Distant Madagascar, the island at the end of the world, has many lessons to teach. The ancestors of the Malagasy people established themselves at least 1500 years ago. Again and again since their arrival, the Malagasy have created new kinds of political communities. This study concerns archaeological survey and excavations in the indigenous state of Imerina in the central highlands.
The landscapes of Madagascar have long delighted zoologists, who have discovered, in and among the island’s baobab trees and thickets, a dizzying array of animals, including something approaching one hundred species of lemur. Madagascar’s mammal fauna, for example, is far more diverse, and more endemic, than early explorers and naturalists ever dreamed of. But in the past 2,500 or so years—a period associated with natural climatic shifts and ecological change, as well as partially coinciding with the arrival of the island’s first human settlers—a considerable proportion of Madagascar’s forests have disappeared; and in the wake of this loss, a number of species unique to Madagascar have vanished forever into extinction.
In Extinct Madagascar, noted scientists Steven M. Goodman and William L. Jungers explore the recent past of these land animal extinctions. Beginning with an introduction to the geologic and ecological history of Madagascar that provides context for the evolution, diversification, and, in some cases, rapid decline of the Malagasy fauna, Goodman and Jungers then seek to recapture these extinct mammals in their environs. Aided in their quest by artist Velizar Simeonovski’s beautiful and haunting digital paintings—images of both individual species and ecosystem assemblages reproduced here in full color—Goodman and Jungers reconstruct the lives of these lost animals and trace their relationships to those still living.
Published in conjunction with an exhibition of Simeonovski’s artwork set to open at the Field Museum, Chicago, in the fall of 2014, Goodman and Jungers’s awe-inspiring book will serve not only as a sobering reminder of the very real threat of extinction, but also as a stunning tribute to Madagascar’s biodiversity and a catalyst for further research and conservation.
Between 1600 and 1800, the promise of fresh food attracted more than seven hundred English, French, and Dutch vessels to Madagascar. Throughout this period, European ships spent months at sea in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but until now scholars have not fully examined how crews were fed during these long voyages. Without sustenance from Madagascar, European traders would have struggled to transport silver to Asia and spices back to Europe. Colonies in Mozambique, Mauritius, and at the Cape relied upon frequent imports from Madagascar to feed settlers and slaves.
In Feeding Globalization, Jane Hooper draws on challenging and previously untapped sources to analyze Madagascar’s role in provisioning European trading networks within and ultimately beyond the Indian Ocean. The sale of food from the island not only shaped trade routes and colonial efforts but also encouraged political centralization and the slave trade in Madagascar. Malagasy people played an essential role in supporting European global commerce, with far-reaching effects on their communities.
Feeding Globalization reshapes our understanding of Indian Ocean and global history by insisting historians should pay attention to the role that food played in supporting other exchanges.
As part of a global effort to identify those areas where conservation measures are needed most urgently, World Wildlife Fund has assembled teams of scientists to conduct ecological assessments of all seven continents. Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar is the latest contribution, presenting in a single volume the first in-depth analysis of the state of freshwater biodiversity across Africa, Madagascar, and the islands of the region. Looking at biodiversity and threats in terms of biological units rather than political units, the book offers a comprehensive examination of the entire range of aquatic systems.
In addition to its six main chapters, the book includes nineteen essays by regional experts that provide more depth on key issues, as well as six detailed appendixes that present summary data used in the analyses, specific analytical methodologies, and a thorough text description for each of Africa's ninety-three freshwater ecoregions.
Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar provides a blueprint for conservation action and represents an unparalleled guide for investments and activities of conservation agencies and donor organizations.
This is a practical field manual for the identification of the 500 genera of native and naturalized Malagasy trees. Identification keys emphasise vegetative and gross morphological features. All genera are provided with full descriptions, distribution information, key characteristics, up-to-date taxonomic references and over 3,000 Malagasy vernacular names, and almost all are illustrated.
The family containing grasses and bamboos, Poaceae, includes an estimated 12,000 species. Grasses and bamboos have always been a central pillar of people’s lives, providing rice, maize, sugarcane, and bread wheat for humans and livestock. Despite their importance, Madagascar’s grasses are still poorly known. This guide provides a practical means of identifying these beautiful and interesting plants at the generic level, featuring 144 grasses described with life size color photographs.
Long considered both best friend and worst enemy to humankind, fire is at once creative and destructive. On the endangered tropical island of Madagascar, these two faces of fire have fueled a century-long conflict between rural farmers and island leaders. Based on detailed fieldwork in Malagasy villages and a thorough archival investigation, Isle of Fire offers a detailed analysis of why Madagascar has always been aflame, why it always will be aflame, and ultimately, as Christian Kull argues, why it should remain aflame.
Madagascar: A Short History
Solofo Randrianja and Stephen Ellis University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress DT469.M285R365 2009 | Dewey Decimal 969.1
Two thousand years ago, the island of Madagascar was likely uninhabited. Its unique flora and fauna had gone totally undisturbed by human contact until the first navigators landed on its shores. No one knows where those first inhabitants hailed from, but over the centuries Madagascar developed its own distinctive language and cultural systems. The only recent history of its kind in English, Madagascar, traces two millennia of human activity in one of the world’s most fascinating, yet least-known, societies.
In graceful prose, Solofo Randrianja and Stephen Ellis, both leading historians of Madagascar, elucidate the three main phases of its history: the earliest settlements, the age of kingdoms, and the island’s entry into intercontinental systems of commerce and exchange, including over sixty years under French rule. Through the course of this colorful and turbulent history, Randrianja and Ellis explore the tensions between the development of a unique culture and the absorption of immigrants, the development of strong social hierarchies, and the long-lasting effects of slavery and the slave trade.
From the seventeenth century into the nineteenth, thousands of Madagascar’s people were brought to American ports as slaves. In Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic, Wendy Wilson-Fall shows that the descendants of these Malagasy slaves in the United States maintained an ethnic identity in ways that those from the areas more commonly feeding the Atlantic slave trade did not. Generations later, hundreds, if not thousands, of African Americans maintain strong identities as Malagasy descendants, yet the histories of Malagasy slaves, sailors, and their descendants have been little explored.
Wilson-Fall examines how and why the stories that underlie this identity have been handed down through families—and what this says about broader issues of ethnicity and meaning-making for those whose family origins, if documented at all, have been willfully obscured by history.
By analyzing contemporary oral histories as well as historical records and examining the conflicts between the two, Wilson-Fall carefully probes the tensions between the official and the personal, the written and the lived. She suggests that historically, the black community has been a melting pot to which generations of immigrants—enslaved and free—have been socially assigned, often in spite of their wish to retain far more complex identities. Innovative in its methodology and poetic in its articulation, this book bridges history and ethnography to take studies of diaspora, ethnicity, and identity into new territory.
The Natural History of Madagascar
Edited by Steven M. Goodman and Jonathan P. Benstead University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress QH195.M2N38 2003 | Dewey Decimal 508.691
Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized species of lemurs—a primate group found only here—to the numerous species of tiny dwarf chameleons. With astounding frequency scientists discover a previously unknown species in Madagascar—and at almost the same rate another natural area of habitat is degraded or destroyed, a combination that recently led conservation organizations to name Madagascar one of the most important and threatened conservation priorities on the planet.
The Natural History of Madagascar provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date synthesis available of this island nation's priceless biological treasures. Contributions by nearly three hundred world-renowned experts cover the history of scientific exploration in Madagascar, its geology and soils, climate, forest ecology, human ecology, marine and coastal ecosystems, plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Detailed discussions of conservation efforts in Madagascar highlight several successful park reserve programs that could serve as models for other areas. Beautifully illustrated throughout, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations, with fifty color photos by nature photographer Harald Schütz, as well as more than three hundred black-and-white photographs and line drawings.
The Natural History of Madagascar will be the invaluable reference for anyone interested in the Malagasy environment, from biologists and conservationists to policymakers and ecotourists.
Politics and culture are at once semi-autonomous and intertwined. Nowhere is this more revealingly illustrated than in urban design, a field that encompasses architecture and social life, traditions and modernization. Here aesthetic goals and political intentions meet, sometimes in collaboration, sometimes in conflict. Here the formal qualities of art confront the complexities of history. When urban design policies are implemented, they reveal underlying aesthetic, cultural, and political dilemmas with startling clarity.
Gwendolyn Wright focuses on three French colonies—Indochina, Morocco, and Madagascar—that were the most discussed, most often photographed, and most admired showpieces of the French empire in the early twentieth century. She explores how urban policy and design fit into the French colonial policy of "association," a strategy that accepted, even encouraged, cultural differences while it promoted modern urban improvements that would foster economic development for Western investors. Wright shows how these colonial cities evolved, tracing the distinctive nature of each locale under French imperialism. She also relates these cities to the larger category of French architecture and urbanism, showing how consistently the French tried to resolve certain stylistic and policy problems they faced at home and abroad.
With the advice of architects and sociologists, art historians and geographers, colonial administrators sought to exert greater control over such matters as family life and working conditions, industrial growth and cultural memory. The issues Wright confronts—the potent implications of traditional norms, cultural continuity, modernization, and radical urban experiments—still challenge us today.
In his now classic volume Prospero and Caliban, Octave Mannoni gives his firsthand account of a 1948 revolt in Madagascar that led to one of the bloodiest episodes of colonial repression on the African continent. It is in Prospero and Caliban that Mannoni constructs the notion of the “dependency complex,” for which his book has since been remembered and widely discussed in both psychoanalytical and anthropological writing. Prospero and Caliban was one of the first books to challenge traditional approaches to the study of native American societies by Western colonizers and anthropologists; and Mannoni is recognized today for his close association with and influence on the French psychoanalyst Lacan.
Noted anthropologist Maurice Bloch has written a powerful and critical new foreword to the English translation, which allows the reader to view Mannoni’s unique work in its historical and intellectual context.
Sex and Salvation chronicles the coming of age of a generation of women in Tamatave in the years that followed Madagascar’s economic liberalization. Eager to forge a viable future amid poverty and rising consumerism, many young women have entered the sexual economy in hope of finding a European husband. Just as many Westerners believe that young people break with the past as they enter adulthood, Malagasy citizens fear that these women have severed the connection to their history and culture.
Jennifer Cole’s elegant analysis shows how this notion of generational change is both wrong and consequential. It obscures the ways young people draw on long-standing ideas of gender and sexuality, it ignores how urbanites relate to their rural counterparts, and it neglects the relationship between these husband-seeking women and their elders who join Pentecostal churches. And yet, as talk about the women circulates through the city’s neighborhoods, bars, Internet cafes, and churches, it teaches others new ways of being.
Cole’s sophisticated depiction of how a generation’s coming of age contributes to social change eschews a narrow focus on crisis. Instead, she reveals how fantasies of rupture and conceptions of the changing life course shape the everyday ways that people create the future.
As part of a global effort to identify those areas where conservation measures are needed most urgently, World Wildlife Fund has assembled teams of scientists to conduct ecological assessments of all five continents. Terrestrial Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar is the latest contribution, presenting in a single volume the first comprehensive assessment of biodiversity patterns, threats to biodiversity, and resulting conservation priorities across the African continent and its islands. Looking at biodiversity and threats in terms of biological units rather than political units, the book offers a comprehensive examination of African biodiversity across all biomes and multiple taxonomic groups.
In addition to the seven main chapters, the book includes twenty essays by regional experts that provide more depth on key issues, as well as nine detailed appendixes that present summary data used in the analyses, specific analytical methodologies, and a thorough text description for each of Africa's 119 terrestrial ecoregions.
Terrestrial Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar provides a blueprint for conservation action and represents an unparalleled guide for investments and activities of conservation agencies and donor organizations.
In 1989, a book written by Martin E. Nicoll and Olivier Langrand was published on the protected areas of Madagascar, which heralded in a new era of conservation for this island nation. In the subsequent three decades, there was an important increase in inventories and studies on Madagascar’s terrestrial biota. This work led to significant changes in the systematics of Malagasy plants and animals, a large percentage unique to the island, and a notable augmentation in knowledge on Malagasy biodiversity. In addition, the considerable expansion of the protected area network, reinforcement of legal tools, and the development of new management modes and tools have contributed to a modernization of the protected area network.
The purpose of these bilingual, French-English books is to present a large-scale update of information available from 98 terrestrial protected areas, various analyses to understand general trends in the conservation of these sites, and a synthesis to assess the needs for future scientific programs. Beautifully illustrated throughout with color maps, graphs, and photos, these three volumes will be an important reference for students, researchers, protected area managers, conservationists, and visiting ecotourists.
There is currently in Madagascar a rich literary production (short stories, poetry, novels, plays) that has not yet reached the United States for lack of diffusion outside the country. Until recently, Madagascar suffered from political isolation resulting from its breakup with France in the 1970s and the eighteen years of Marxism that followed.
With little hope that their voices would be heard outside the island, writers nevertheless have continued to express themselves in French (alongside a literature written in the Malagasy language). Malagasy literature in French had begun in the colonial era with three poets: Jean–Joseph Rabearivelo, Jacques Rabemananjara, and Flavien Ranaivo, all three presented in Léopold Senghor’s celebrated Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache (1948).
More recently, although a few Malagasy writers living outside the country have been published in France, the bulk of Malagasy literature today has remained largely unpublished, circulating locally mostly in manuscript form. Voices from Madagascar will bring a wide selection of these texts, both in French and in English, to the North American public.