Now in paperback, Anthropology and the Dance is a lively, controversial examination and discussion of theories of dance by the pioneer of the anthropology of human movement. Drid Williams's definitive text is explicitly intended for graduate students in anthropology faced with the wide spectrum of theories of human movement, including the dance, sign language, martial arts, and rituals. With its groundbreaking approach to this previously unexamined field, however, Anthropology and the Dance brings the study of human movement to readers in fields such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, ethnomusicology, library science, physical education, history, music, linguistics, dance, and dance education.
Williams examines subjects ranging from Aboriginal and African dances to the Royal Ballet, and makes a compelling case for moving beyond the Western view of the dance as mere entertainment, locating human movement firmly and irrefutably within the sphere of serious study.
Anthropology and the Dance: Ten Lectures is the thoroughly rewritten second edition of Ten Lectures on Theories of the Dance (1991). Included are a glossary of terms, indexes and notes, an updated bibliography, and an appendix, "An Exercise in Applied Personal Anthropology."
In Caribbean and Atlantic Diaspora Dance: Igniting Citizenship, Yvonne Daniel provides a sweeping cultural and historical examination of diaspora dance genres. In discussing relationships among African, Caribbean, and other diasporic dances, Daniel investigates social dances brought to the islands by Europeans and Africans, including quadrilles and drum-dances as well as popular dances that followed, such as Carnival parading, Pan-Caribbean danzas,rumba, merengue, mambo, reggae, and zouk. Daniel reviews sacred dance and closely documents combat dances, such as Martinican ladja, Trinidadian kalinda, and Cuban juego de maní. In drawing on scores of performers and consultants from the region as well as on her own professional dance experience and acumen, Daniel adeptly places Caribbean dance in the context of cultural and economic globalization, connecting local practices to transnational and global processes and emphasizing the important role of dance in critical regional tourism.
Choreographies of African Identities traces interconnected interpretative frameworks around and about the National Ballet of Senegal. Using the metaphor of a dancing circle Castaldi's arguments cover the full spectrum of performance, from production to circulation and reception. Castaldi first situates the reader in a North American theater, focusing on the relationship between dancers and audiences as that between black performers and white spectators. She then examines the work of the National Ballet in relation to Léopold Sédar Senghor's Négritude ideology and cultural politics. Finally, the author addresses the circulation of dances in the streets, discotheques, and courtyards of Dakar, drawing attention to women dancers' occupation of the urban landscape.
The Crown Games were the apex of competition in ancient Greece. Along with prestigious athletic contests in honor of Zeus at Olympia, they comprised the Pythian Games for Apollo at Delphi, the Isthmian Games for Poseidon, and the Nemean Games, sacred to Zeus. For over nine hundred years, the Greeks celebrated these athletic and religious festivals, a rare point of cultural unity amid the fierce regional independence of the numerous Greek city-states and kingdoms.
The Crown Games of Ancient Greece examines these festivals in the context of the ancient Greek world, a vast and sprawling cultural region that stretched from modern Spain to the Black Sea and North Africa. Illuminating the unique history and features of the celebrations, David Lunt delves into the development of the contest sites as sanctuaries and the Panhellenic competitions that gave them their distinctive character. While literary sources have long been the mainstay for understanding the evolution of the Crown Games and ancient Greek athletics, archaeological excavations have significantly augmented contemporary understandings of the events. Drawing on this research, Lunt brings deeper context to these gatherings, which were not only athletics competitions but also occasions for musical contests, dramatic performances, religious ceremonies, and diplomatic summits—as well as raucous partying. Taken as a circuit, the Crown Games offer a more nuanced view of ancient Greek culture than do the well-known Olympian Games on their own. With this comprehensive examination of the Crown Games, Lunt provides a new perspective on how the ancient Greeks competed and collaborated both as individuals and as city-states.
"Ambitious in its scope and interdisciplinary in its purview. . . . Without doubt future researchers will want to refer to Hanna's study, not simply for its rich bibliographical sources but also for suggestions as to how to proceed with their own work. Dance, Sex, and Gender will initiate a discussion that should propel a more methodologically informed study of dance and gender."—Randy Martin, Journal of the History of Sexuality
This groundbreaking collection combines ethnographic and historic strategies to reveal how dance plays crucial cultural roles in various regions of the world, including Tonga, Java, Bosnia-Herzegovina, New Mexico, India, Korea, Macedonia, and England. The essays find a balance between past and present and examine how dance and bodily practices are core identity and cultural creators. Reaching beyond the typically Eurocentric view of dance, Dancing from Past to Present opens a world of debate over the role dance plays in forming and expressing cultural identities around the world.
Winner, Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize in Dance Research, 2014
Honorable Mention, Sally Banes Publication Prize, American Society for Theatre Research, 2014
de la Torre Bueno® Special Citation, Society of Dance History Scholars, 2013
From Christopher Columbus to “first anthropologist” Friar Bernardino de Sahagún, fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorers, conquistadors, clerics, scientists, and travelers wrote about the “Indian” dances they encountered throughout the New World. This was especially true of Spanish missionaries who intensively studied and documented native dances in an attempt to identify and eradicate the “idolatrous” behaviors of the Aztec, the largest indigenous empire in Mesoamerica at the time of its European discovery.
Dancing the New World traces the transformation of the Aztec empire into a Spanish colony through written and visual representations of dance in colonial discourse—the vast constellation of chronicles, histories, letters, and travel books by Europeans in and about the New World. Scolieri analyzes how the chroniclers used the Indian dancing body to represent their own experiences of wonder and terror in the New World, as well as to justify, lament, and/or deny their role in its political, spiritual, and physical conquest. He also reveals that Spaniards and Aztecs shared an understanding that dance played an important role in the formation, maintenance, and representation of imperial power, and describes how Spaniards compelled Indians to perform dances that dramatized their own conquest, thereby transforming them into colonial subjects. Scolieri’s pathfinding analysis of the vast colonial “dance archive” conclusively demonstrates that dance played a crucial role in one of the defining moments in modern history—the European colonization of the Americas.
In Designs for the Pluriverse Arturo Escobar presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design's world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Noting that most design—from consumer goods and digital technologies to built environments—currently serves capitalist ends, Escobar argues for the development of an “autonomous design” that eschews commercial and modernizing aims in favor of more collaborative and placed-based approaches. Such design attends to questions of environment, experience, and politics while focusing on the production of human experience based on the radical interdependence of all beings. Mapping autonomous design’s principles to the history of decolonial efforts of indigenous and Afro-descended people in Latin America, Escobar shows how refiguring current design practices could lead to the creation of more just and sustainable social orders.
Both a symbol of the Mubarak government’s power and a component in its construction of national identity, football served as fertile ground for Egyptians to confront the regime’s overthrow during the 2011 revolution. With the help of the state, appreciation for football in Egypt peaked in the late 2000s. Yet after Mubarak fell, fans questioned their previous support, calling for a reformed football for a new, postrevolutionary nation.
In Egypt’s Football Revolution, Carl Rommel examines the politics of football as a space for ordinary Egyptians and state forces to negotiate a masculine Egyptian chauvinism. Basing his discussion on several years of fieldwork with fans, players, journalists, and coaches, he investigates the increasing attention paid to football during the Mubarak era; its demise with the 2011 uprisings and 2012 Port Said massacre, which left seventy-two fans dead; and its recent rehabilitation. Cairo’s highly organized and dedicated Ultras fans became a key revolutionary force through their antiregime activism, challenging earlier styles of fandom and making visible entrenched ties between sport and politics. As the appeal of football burst, alternative conceptions of masculinity, emotion, and politics came to the fore to demand or prevent revolution and reform.
Written over a thirty-year span, Michael Lambek’s essays in this collection point with definitive force toward a single central truth: ethics is intrinsic to social life. As he shows through rich ethnographic accounts and multiple theoretical traditions, our human condition is at heart an ethical one—we may not always be good or just, but we are always subject to their criteria. Detailing Lambek’s trajectory as one anthropologist thinking deeply throughout a career on the nature of ethical life, the essays accumulate into a vibrant demonstration of the relevance of ethics as a practice and its crucial importance to ethnography, social theory, and philosophy.
Organized chronologically, the essays begin among Malagasy speakers on the island of Mayotte and in northwest Madagascar. Building from ethnographic accounts there, they synthesize Aristotelian notions of practical judgment and virtuous action with Wittgensteinian notions of the ordinariness of ethical life and the importance of language, everyday speech, and ritual in order to understand how ethics are lived. They illustrate the multiple ways in which ethics informs personhood, character, and practice; explore the centrality of judgment, action, and irony to ethical life; and consider the relation of virtue to value. The result is a fully fleshed-out picture of ethics as a deeply rooted aspect of the human experience.
This volume's contributors explore the links among sexuality, ethnography, race, and colonial rule through an examination of ethnopornography—the eroticized observation of the Other for supposedly scientific or academic purposes. With topics that span the sixteenth century to the present in Latin America, the United States, Australia, the Middle East, and West Africa, the contributors show how ethnopornography is fundamental to the creation of race and colonialism as well as archival and ethnographic knowledge. Among other topics, they analyze eighteenth-century European travelogues, photography and the sexualization of African and African American women, representations of sodomy throughout the Ottoman empire, racialized representations in a Brazilian gay pornographic magazine, colonial desire in the 2007 pornographic film Gaytanamo, the relationship between sexual desire and ethnographic fieldwork in Africa and Australia, and Franciscan friars' voyeuristic accounts of indigenous people's “sinful” activities. Outlining how in the ethnopornographic encounter the reader or viewer imagines direct contact with the Other from a distance, the contributors trace ethnopornography's role in creating racial categories and its grounding in the relationship between colonialism and the erotic gaze. In so doing, they theorize ethnography as a form of pornography that is both motivated by the desire to render knowable the Other and invested with institutional power.
Contributors. Joseph A. Boone, Pernille Ipsen, Sidra Lawrence, Beatrix McBride, Mireille Miller-Young, Bryan Pitts, Helen Pringle, Pete Sigal, Zeb Tortorici, Neil L. Whitehead
Anthropology has recently seen a lively interest in the subject of ethics and comparative notions of morality and freedom. This masterclass brings together four of the most eminent anthropologists working in this field—Michael Lambek, Veena Das, Didier Fassin, and Webb Keane—to discuss, via lectures and responses, important topics facing anthropological ethics and the theoretical debates that surround it.
The authors explore the ways we understand morality across many different cultural settings, asking questions such as: How do we recognize the ethical in different ethnographic worlds? What constitutes agency and awareness in everyday life? What might an anthropology of ordinary ethics look like? And what happens when ethics approaches the political in both Western and non-Western societies. Contrasting perspectives and methods—and yet in complimentary ways—this masterclass will serve as an essential guide for how an anthropology of ethics can be formulated in the twenty-first century.
In this innovative study, Leo Cabranes-Grant analyzes four intercultural events in the Viceroyalty of New Spain that took place between 1566 and 1690. Rather than relying on racial labels to describe alterations of identity, Cabranes-Grant focuses on experimentation, rehearsal, and the interaction between bodies and objects. His analysis shows how scenarios are invested with affective qualities, which in turn enable cultural and semiotic change. Central to his argument is Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory, which figures society as a constantly evolving web of relationships among objects, people, and spaces. In examining these scenarios, Cabranes-Grant attempts to discern the reasons why the conditions of an intensified moment within this ceaseless flow take on a particular value and inspire their re-creation. Cabranes-Grant offers a fresh perspective on Latour’s theory and reorients debates concerning history and historiography in the field of performance studies.
A significant event in Derrida scholarship, this book marks the first publication of his long-lost philosophical text known only as “Geschlecht III.” The third, and arguably the most significant, piece in his four-part Geschlecht series, it fills a gap that has perplexed Derrida scholars. The series centers on Martin Heidegger and the enigmatic German word Geschlecht, which has several meanings pointing to race, sex, and lineage. Throughout the series, Derrida engages with Heidegger’s controversial oeuvre to tease out topics of sexual difference, nationalism, race, and humanity. In Geschlecht III, he calls attention to Heidegger’s problematic nationalism, his work’s political and sexual themes, and his promise of salvation through the coming of the “One Geschlecht,” a sentiment that Derrida found concerningly close to the racial ideology of the Nazi party.
Amid new revelations about Heidegger’s anti-Semitism and the contemporary context of nationalist resurgence, this third piece of the Geschlecht series is timelier and more necessary than ever. Meticulously edited and expertly translated, this volume brings Derrida’s mysterious and much awaited text to light.
Based on extensive field research in the Manianga region of the Lower Congo, Health in a Fragile State is an anthropological account of public health and health care after the collapse of the Congolese state in the 1980s and 1990s. This work brings into focus John M. Janzen's earlier books on African health and healing, revealing the collaborative effort by local, national, and international agencies to create viable alternative institutions to those that represented the centralized state. This book documents and analyzes the realignment of existing institutions and the creation of new ones that shape health and healing.
Janzen explores the manner in which power and information, including science, are legitimized in the preservation and improvement of health. Institutional validity and knowledge empower citizens and health practitioners to gain the upper hand over the region's principal diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, and HIV/AIDS.
WINNER, 2017 RACHEL CARSON PRIZE, SOCIETY FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES OF SCIENCE
In 2002, Sierra Leone emerged from a decadelong civil war. Seeking international attention and development aid, its government faced a dilemma. Though devastated by conflict, Sierra Leone had a low prevalence of HIV. However, like most African countries, it stood to benefit from a large influx of foreign funds specifically targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
What Adia Benton chronicles in this ethnographically rich and often moving book is how one war-ravaged nation reoriented itself as a country suffering from HIV at the expense of other, more pressing health concerns. During her fieldwork in the capital, Freetown, a city of one million people, at least thirty NGOs administered internationally funded programs that included HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Benton probes why HIV exceptionalism—the idea that HIV is an exceptional disease requiring an exceptional response—continues to guide approaches to the epidemic worldwide and especially in Africa, even in low-prevalence settings.
In the fourth decade since the emergence of HIV/AIDS, many today are questioning whether the effort and money spent on this health crisis has in fact helped or exacerbated the problem. HIV Exceptionalism does this and more, asking, what are the unanticipated consequences that HIV/AIDS development programs engender?
Michael Jackson has spent much of his career elaborating his rich conception of lifeworlds, mining his ethnographic and personal experience for insights into how our subjective and social lives are mutually constituted.
In How Lifeworlds Work, Jackson draws on years of ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa to highlight the dynamic quality of human relationships and reinvigorate the study of kinship and ritual. How, he asks, do we manage the perpetual process of accommodation between social norms and personal emotions, impulses, and desires? How are these two dimensions of lived reality joined, and how are the dual imperatives of individual expression and collective viability managed? Drawing on the pragmatist tradition, psychology, and phenomenology, Jackson offers an unforgettable, beautifully written account of how we make, unmake, and remake, our lifeworlds.
Are we as a species headed towards extinction? As our economic system renders our planet increasingly inhospitable to human life, powerful individuals fight over limited resources, and racist reaction to migration strains the social fabric of many countries. How can we retain our humanity in the midst of these life-and-death struggles?
Humanity’s Last Stand dares to ask these big questions, exploring the interconnections between climate change, global capitalism, xenophobia, and white supremacy. As it unearths how capitalism was born from plantation slavery and the slaughter of Indigenous people, it also invites us to imagine life after capitalism. The book teaches its readers how to cultivate an anthropological imagination, a mindset that remains attentive to local differences even as it identifies global patterns of inequality and racism.
Surveying the struggles of disenfranchised peoples around the globe from frontline communities affected by climate change, to #BlackLivesMatter activists, to Indigenous water protectors, to migrant communities facing increasing hostility, anthropologist Mark Schuller argues that we must develop radical empathy in order to move beyond simply identifying as “allies” and start acting as “accomplices.” Bringing together the insights of anthropologists and activists from many cultures, this timely study shows us how to stand together and work toward a more inclusive vision of humanity before it’s too late.
Focusing on the enactment of identity in dance, Indigenous Dance and Dancing Indian is a cross-cultural, cross-ethnic, and cross-national comparison of indigenous dance practices.
Considering four genres of dance in which indigenous people are represented--K'iche Maya traditional dance, powwow, folkloric dance, and dancing sports mascots--the book addresses both the ideational and behavioral dimensions of identity. Each dance is examined as a unique cultural expression in individual chapters, and then all are compared in the conclusion, where striking parallels and important divergences are revealed. Ultimately, Krystal describes how dancers and audiences work to construct and consume satisfying and meaningful identities through dance by either challenging social inequality or reinforcing the present social order.
Detailed ethnographic work, thorough case studies, and an insightful narrative voice make Indigenous Dance and Dancing Indian a substantial addition to scholarly literature on dance in the Americas. It will be of interest to scholars of Native American studies, social sciences, and performing arts.
Katherine Dunham University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress F1916.D8 1994 | Dewey Decimal 972.94
Just as surely as Haiti is "possessed" by the gods and spirits of vaudun (voodoo), the island "possessed" Katherine Dunham when she first went there in 1936 to study dance and ritual. In this book, Dunham reveals how her anthropological research, her work in dance, and her fascination for the people and cults of Haiti worked their spell, catapulting her into experiences that she was often lucky to survive. Here Dunham tells how the island came to be possessed by the demons of voodoo and other cults imported from various parts of Africa, as well as by the deep class divisions, particularly between blacks and mulattos, and the political hatred still very much in evidence today. Full of the flare and suspense of immersion in a strange and enchanting culture, Island Possessed is also a pioneering work in the anthropology of dance and a fascinating document on Haitian politics and voodoo.
How old are you? The more thought you bring to bear on the question, the harder it is to answer. For we age simultaneously in different ways: biologically, psychologically, socially. And we age within the larger framework of a culture, in the midst of a history that predates us and will outlast us. Looked at through that lens, many aspects of late modernity would suggest that we are older than ever, but Robert Pogue Harrison argues that we are also getting startlingly younger—in looks, mentality, and behavior. We live, he says, in an age of juvenescence.
Like all of Robert Pogue Harrison's books, Juvenescence ranges brilliantly across cultures and history, tracing the ways that the spirits of youth and age have inflected each other from antiquity to the present. Drawing on the scientific concept of neotony, or the retention of juvenile characteristics through adulthood, and extending it into the cultural realm, Harrison argues that youth is essential for culture’s innovative drive and flashes of genius. At the same time, however, youth—which Harrison sees as more protracted than ever—is a luxury that requires the stability and wisdom of our elders and the institutions. “While genius liberates the novelties of the future,” Harrison writes, “wisdom inherits the legacies of the past, renewing them in the process of handing them down.”
A heady, deeply learned excursion, rich with ideas and insights, Juvenescence could only have been written by Robert Pogue Harrison. No reader who has wondered at our culture's obsession with youth should miss it.
Few people these days would oppose making the public realm of space, social services and jobs accessible to women and men with disabilities. But what about access to the private realm of desire and sexuality? How can one also facilitate access to that, in ways that respect the integrity of disabled adults, and also of those people who work with and care for them?
Loneliness and Its Opposite documents how two countries generally imagined to be progressive engage with these questions in very different ways. Denmark and Sweden are both liberal welfare states, but they diverge dramatically when it comes to sexuality and disability. In Denmark, the erotic lives of people with disabilities are acknowledged and facilitated. In Sweden, they are denied and blocked. Why do these differences exist, and how do both facilitation and hindrance play out in practice?
Loneliness and Its Opposite charts complex boundaries between private and public, love and sex, work and intimacy, and affection and abuse. It shows how providing disabled adults with access to sexual lives is not just crucial for a life with dignity. It is an issue of fundamental social justice with far reaching consequences for everyone.
Dance, whether considered as an art form or embodied social practice, as product or process, is a prime subject for cultural analysis. Yet only recently have studies of dance become concerned with the ideological, theoretical, and social meanings of dance practices, performances, and institutions. In Meaning in Motion, Jane C. Desmond brings together the work of critics who have ventured into the boundaries between dance and cultural studies, and thus maps a little-known and rarely explored critical site. Writing from a broad range of perspectives, contributors from disciplines as varied as art history and anthropology, dance history and political science, philosophy and women’s studies chart the questions and challenges that mark this site. How does dance enact or rework social categories of identity? How do meanings change as dance styles cross borders of race, nationality, or class? How do we talk about materiality and motion, sensation and expressivity, kinesthetics and ideology? The authors engage these issues in a variety of contexts: from popular social dances to the experimentation of the avant-garde; from nineteenth-century ballet and contemporary Afro-Brazilian Carnival dance to hip hop, the dance hall, and film; from the nationalist politics of folk dances to the feminist philosophies of modern dance. Giving definition to a new field of study, Meaning in Motion broadens the scope of dance analysis and extends to cultural studies new ways of approaching matters of embodiment, identity, and representation.
Contributors. Ann Cooper Albright, Evan Alderson, Norman Bryson, Cynthia Cohen Bull, Ann Daly, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Susan Foster, Mark Franko, Marianne Goldberg, Amy Koritz, Susan Kozel, Susan Manning, Randy Martin, Angela McRobbie, Kate Ramsey, Anna Scott, Janet Wolff
Trust occupies a unique place in contemporary discourse. Seen as both necessary and virtuous, it is variously depicted as enhancing the social fabric, lowering crime rates, increasing happiness, and generating prosperity. It allows for complex political systems, permits human communication, underpins financial instruments and economic institutions, and generally holds society together. Against these overwhelmingly laudable qualities, mistrust often goes unnoticed as a positive social phenomenon, treated as little more than a corrosive absence, a mere negative of trust itself. With this book, Matthew Carey proposes an ethnographic and conceptual exploration of mistrust that raises it up as legitimate stance in its own right.
While mistrust can quickly ruin relationships and even dissolve extensive social ties, Carey shows that it might have other values. Drawing on fieldwork in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains as well as comparative material from regions stretching from Eastern Europe to Melanesia, he examines the impact of mistrust on practices of conversation and communication, friendship and society, and politics and cooperation. In doing so, he demonstrates that trust is not the only basis for organizing human society and cooperating with others. The result is a provocative but enlightening work that makes us rethink social issues such as suspicion, doubt, and uncertainty.
A pioneering examination of history, current affairs, and daily life along the Russia–China border, one of the world’s least understood and most politically charged frontiers.
The border between Russia and China winds for 2,600 miles through rivers, swamps, and vast taiga forests. It’s a thin line of direct engagement, extraordinary contrasts, frequent tension, and occasional war between two of the world’s political giants. Franck Billé and Caroline Humphrey have spent years traveling through and studying this important yet forgotten region. Drawing on pioneering fieldwork, they introduce readers to the lifeways, politics, and history of one of the world’s most consequential and enigmatic borderlands.
It is telling that, along a border consisting mainly of rivers, there is not a single operating passenger bridge. Two different worlds have emerged. On the Russian side, in territory seized from China in the nineteenth century, defense is prioritized over the economy, leaving dilapidated villages slumbering amid the forests. For its part, the Chinese side is heavily settled and increasingly prosperous and dynamic. Moscow worries about the imbalance, and both governments discourage citizens from interacting. But as Billé and Humphrey show, cross-border connection is a fact of life, whatever distant authorities say. There are marriages, friendships, and sexual encounters. There are joint businesses and underground deals, including no shortage of smuggling. Meanwhile some indigenous peoples, persecuted on both sides, seek to “revive” their own alternative social groupings that span the border. And Chinese towns make much of their proximity to “Europe,” building giant Russian dolls and replicas of St. Basil’s Cathedral to woo tourists.
Surprising and rigorously researched, On the Edge testifies to the rich diversity of an extraordinary world haunted by history and divided by remote political decisions but connected by the ordinary imperatives of daily life.
The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world. But that wealth hasn't translated to a higher life expectancy, an area where the United States still ranks thirty-eighth—behind Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, and Greece, among many others. Some fault the absence of universal health care or the persistence of social inequalities. Others blame unhealthy lifestyles. But these emphases on present-day behaviors and policies miss a much more fundamental determinant of societal health: the state.
Werner Troesken looks at the history of the United States with a focus on three diseases—smallpox, typhoid fever, and yellow fever—to show how constitutional rules and provisions that promoted individual liberty and economic prosperity also influenced, for good and for bad, the country’s ability to eradicate infectious disease. Ranging from federalism under the Commerce Clause to the Contract Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment, Troesken argues persuasively that many institutions intended to promote desirable political or economic outcomes also hindered the provision of public health. We are unhealthy, in other words, at least in part because our political and legal institutions function well. Offering a compelling new perspective, The Pox of Liberty challenges many traditional claims that infectious diseases are inexorable forces in human history, beyond the control of individual actors or the state, revealing them instead to be the result of public and private choices.
Edited by Ruth M. Van Dyke University of Arizona Press, 2015 Library of Congress GN406.P73 2015 | Dewey Decimal 306.46
It is little wonder that relationships between things and humans are front-and-center in the contemporary social sciences, given the presence of technologies in every conceivable aspect of our lives. From Bruno Latour to Ian Hodder, anthropologists and archaeologists are embracing “thing theory” and the “ontological turn.” In Practicing Materiality, Ruth M. Van Dyke cautions that as anthropologists turn toward animals and things, they run the risk of turning away from people and intentional actions.
Practicing Materiality focuses on the practical job of applying materiality to anthropological investigations, but with the firm retention of anthropocentrism. The philosophical discussions that run through the nine chapters develop practical applications for material studies, including Heideggerian phenomenology, Gellian secondary agency, object life histories, and bundling. Seven case studies are flanked by an introduction and a discussion chapter. The case studies represent a wide range of archaeological and anthropological contexts, from contemporary New York City and Turkey to fifteenth-century Portugal, the ancient southwest United States, and the ancient Andes. Authors in every chapter argue for the rejection of subject/object dualism, regarding material things as actively involved in the negotiation of power within human social relationships. Practicing Materiality demonstrates that it is possible to focus on the entangled lives of things without losing sight of their political and social implications.
The 1960s was a pivotal decade in dance, an era of intense experimentation and rich invention. In this volume an impressive range of dance critics and scholars examine the pioneering choreographers and companies of the era, such as Anna Halprin’s West Coast experiments, the innovative Judson Dance Theater, avant-garde dance subcultures in New York, the work of Meredith Monk and Kenneth King, and parallel movements in Britain. The contributors include Janice Ross, Leslie Satin, Noël Carroll, Gus Solomons jr., Deborah Jowitt, Stephanie Jordan, Joan Acocella, and Sally Banes.
Most scholars link the origin of politics to the formation of human societies, but in this innovative work, Tilo Schabert takes it even further back: to our very births. Drawing on mythical, philosophical, religious, and political thought from around the globe—including America, Europe, the Middle East, and China—The Second Birth proposes a transhistorical and transcultural theory of politics rooted in political cosmology. With impressive erudition, Schabert explores the physical fundamentals of political life, unveiling a profound new insight: our bodies actually teach us politics.
Schabert traces different figurations of power inherent to our singular existence, things such as numbers, time, thought, and desire, showing how they render our lives political ones—and, thus, how politics exists in us individually, long before it plays a role in the establishment of societies and institutions. Through these figurations of power, Schabert argues, we learn how to institute our own government within the political forces that already surround us—to create our own world within the one into which we have been born. In a stunning vision of human agency, this book ultimately sketches a political cosmos in which we are all builders, in which we can be at once political and free.
While working in Africa, anthropologist Julien Bonhomme encountered an astonishing phenomenon: people being accused of stealing or shrinking the genitals of strangers on the simple occasion of a handshake on the street. As he soon discovered, these accusations can have dramatic outcomes: the “sex thieves” are often targeted by large crowds and publicly lynched. Moreover, such rumors are an extremely widespread practice, having affected almost half of the African continent since the 1970s. In this book, Bonhomme examines the story of the “penis snatcher,” asking larger questions about how to account for such a phenomenon—unique in its spatial and temporal scale—without falling prey to the cliché of Africa as an exotic other.
Bonhomme argues that the public belief in sex thieves cannot be considered a superstition or form of mass hysteria. Rather, he brings to light multiple factors that explain the rumor’s success and shows how the cultural dynamic can operate on a vast scale. Analyzing the rumor on both transnational and local levels, he demonstrates how it arises from the ambiguities and dangers of anonymity, and thus that it reveals an occult flipside to everyday social interaction. Altogether, this book provides both richly ethnographic and theoretical understandings of urban sociality and the dynamics of human communication in contemporary Africa and beyond.
In Sharing the Dance, Cynthia Novack considers the development of contact improvisation within its web of historical, social, and cultural contexts. This book examines the ways contact improvisers (and their surrounding communities) encode sexuality, spontaneity, and gender roles, as well as concepts of the self and society in their dancing.
While focusing on the changing practice of contact improvisation through two decades of social transformation, Novack’s work incorporates the history of rock dancing and disco, the modern and experimental dance movements of Merce Cunningham, Anna Halprin, and Judson Church, among others, and a variety of other physical activities, such as martial arts, aerobics, and wrestling.
Toby Miller Temple University Press, 2002 Library of Congress GV706.2.M55 2001 | Dewey Decimal 306.483
Sportsex examines the landscape of sports writ globally. And it is about the way sport allows men and women—but mostly men—to consider their looks, their vitality, and their relationship to their gender in ways that would be considered taboo in any other context.Miller pays particular attention to the way celebrity is considered around the world through a number of different athletic activities. Along the way he also offers his own personal connection to sport as both a researcher and recipient of its abuses and pleasures.In a world where everything is considered in its relationship to globalization, sport is one of the few arenas of social life that can be concretely seen in international terms. Sportsex opens that world up in a way that is accessible and significant for anyone interested in the shape of our emerging world culture.
A study of the lives of popular theater artists, Stigmas of the Tamil Stage is the first in-depth analysis of Special Drama, a genre of performance unique to the southernmost Indian state of Tamilnadu. Held in towns and villages throughout the region, Special Drama performances last from 10 p.m. until dawn. There are no theatrical troupes in Special Drama; individual artists are contracted “specially” for each event. The first two hours of each performance are filled with the kind of bawdy, improvisational comedy that is the primary focus of this study; the remaining hours present more markedly staid dramatic treatments of myth and history. Special Drama artists themselves are of all ages, castes, and ethnic and religious affiliations; the one common denominator in their lives is their lower-class status. Artists regularly speak of how poverty compelled their entrance into the field.
Special Drama is looked down upon by the middle- and upper-classes as too popular, too vulgar, and too “mixed.” The artists are stigmatized: people insult them in public and landlords refuse to rent to them. Stigma falls most heavily, however, on actresses, who are marked as “public women” by their participation in Special Drama. As Susan Seizer’s sensitive study shows, one of the primary ways the performers deal with such stigma is through humor and linguistic play. Their comedic performances in particular directly address questions of class, culture, and gender deviations—the very issues that so stigmatize them. Seizer draws on extensive interviews with performers, sponsors, audience members, and drama agents as well as on careful readings of live Special Drama performances in considering the complexities of performers’ lives both on stage and off.
Bringing together essays by nineteen respected scholars, this volume approaches dementia from a variety of angles, exploring its historical, psychological, and philosophical implications. The authors employ a cross-cultural perspective that is based on ethnographic fieldwork and focuses on questions of age, mind, voice, self, loss, temporality, memory, and affect.
Taken together, the essays make four important and interrelated contributions to our understanding of the mental status of the elderly. First, cross-cultural data show that the aging process, while biologically influenced, is also culturally constructed. Second, ethnographic reports raise questions about the diagnostic criteria used for defining the elderly as demented. Third, case studies show how a diagnosis affects a patient's treatment in both clinical and familial settings. Finally, the collection highlights the gap that separates current biological understandings of aging from its cultural meanings.
As Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia continue to command an ever-increasing amount of attention in medicine and psychology, this book will be essential reading for anthropologists, social scientists, and health care professionals.
This collection of writings from Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot includes his most famous, lesser known, and hard to find writings that demonstrate his enduring importance to Caribbean studies, anthropology, history, postcolonial studies, and politically engaged scholarship more broadly.
We may not realize it, but truth and place are inextricably linked. For ancient Greeks, temples and statues clustered on the side of Mount Parnassus affirmed their belief that predictions from the oracle at Delphi were accurate. The trust we have in Thoreau’s wisdom depends in part on how skillfully he made Walden Pond into a perfect place for discerning timeless truths about the universe. Courthouses and laboratories are designed and built to exacting specifications so that their architectural conditions legitimate the rendering of justice and discovery of natural fact. The on-site commemoration of the struggle for civil rights—Seneca, Selma, and Stonewall—reminds people of slow but significant political progress and of unfinished business. What do all these places have in common? Thomas F. Gieryn calls these locations “truth-spots,” places that lend credibility to beliefs and claims about natural and social reality, about the past and future, and about identity and the transcendent.
In Truth-Spots, Gieryn gives readers an elegant, rigorous rendering of the provenance of ideas, uncovering the geographic location where they are found or made, a spot built up with material stuff and endowed with cultural meaning and value. These kinds of places—including botanical gardens, naturalists’ field-sites, Henry Ford’s open-air historical museum, and churches and chapels along the pilgrimage way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain—would seem at first to have little in common. But each is a truth-spot, a place that makes people believe. Truth may well be the daughter of time, Gieryn argues, but it is also the son of place.
Virtual War and Magical Death is a provocative examination of the relations between anthropology and contemporary global war. Several arguments unite the collected essays, which are based on ethnographic research in varied locations, including Guatemala, Uganda, and Tanzania, as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the United States. Foremost is the contention that modern high-tech warfare—as it is practiced and represented by the military, the media, and civilians—is analogous to rituals of magic and sorcery. Technologies of "virtual warfare," such as high-altitude bombing, remote drone attacks, night-vision goggles, and even music videoes and computer games that simulate battle, reproduce the imaginative worlds and subjective experiences of witchcraft, magic, and assault sorcery long studied by cultural anthropologists.
Another significant focus of the collection is the U.S. military's exploitation of ethnographic research, particularly through its controversial Human Terrain Systems (HTS) Program, which embeds anthropologists as cultural experts in military units. Several pieces address the ethical dilemmas that HTS and other counterinsurgency projects pose for anthropologists. Other essays reveal the relatively small scale of those programs in relation to the military's broader use of, and ambitions for, social scientific data. Contributors. Robertson Allen, Brian Ferguson, Sverker Finnström, Roberto J. González, David H. Price, Antonius Robben, Victoria Sanford, Jeffrey Sluka, Koen Stroeken, Matthew Sumera, Neil L. Whitehead