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In this sensitive and personal investigation into Benin's occult world, Douglas J. Falen wrestles with the challenges of encountering a reality in which magic, science, and the Vodun religion converge into a single universal force. He takes seriously his Beninese interlocutors' insistence that the indigenous phenomenon known as aze ("witchcraft") is an African science, credited with fantastic and productive deeds, such as teleportation and supernatural healing. Although the Beninese understanding of aze reflects positive scientific properties in its use of specialized knowledge to harness nature's energy and realize economic success, its boundless power is inherently ambivalent because it can corrupt its users, who dispense death and destruction. Witches and healers are equivalent to supervillains and superheroes, locked in epic battles over malevolent and benevolent human desires. Beninese people's discourse about such mystical confrontations expresses a philosophy of moral duality and cosmic balance. Falen demonstrates how a deep engagement with another lived reality opens our minds and contributes to understanding across cultural difference.
If you drive through Mpumalanga with an eye on the landscape flashing by, you may see, near the sides of the road and further away on the hills above and in the valleys below, fragments of building in stone as well as sections of stone-walling breaking the grass cover. Endless stone circles, set in bewildering mazes and linked by long stone passages, cover the landscape stretching from Ohrigstad to Carolina, connecting over 10 000 square kilometres of the escarpment into a complex web of stone-walled homesteads, terraced fields and linking roads. Oral traditions recorded in the early twentieth century named the area Bokoni - the country of the Koni people. Few South Africans or visitors to the country know much about these settlements, and why today they are deserted and largely ignored. A long tradition of archaeological work which might provide some of the answers remains cloistered in universities and the knowledge vacuum has been filled by a variety of exotic explanations - invoking ancient settlers from India or even visitors from outer space - that share a common assumption that Africans were too primitive to have created such elaborate stone structures. Forgotten World defies the usual stereotypes about backward African farming methods and shows that these settlements were at their peak between 1500 and 1820, that they housed a substantial population, organised vast amounts of labour for infrastructural development, and displayed extraordinary levels of agricultural innovation and productivity. The Koni were part of a trading system linked to the coast of Mozambique and the wider world of Indian Ocean trade beyond. Forgotten World tells the story of Bokoni through rigorous historical and archaeological research, and lavishly illustrates it with stunning photographic images.
In 1856 and 1857, in response to a prophet's command, the Xhosa people of southern Africa killed their cattle and ceased planting crops; the resulting famine cost tens of thousands of lives. Much like other millenarian, anticolonial movements - such as the Ghost Dance in North America and the Birsa Munda uprising in India - these actions were meant to transform the world and liberate the Xhosa from oppression. Despite the movement's momentous failure to achieve that goal, the event has continued to exert a powerful pull on the South African imagination ever since. It is these afterlives of the prophecy that Jennifer Wenzel explores in Bulletproof. Wenzel examines literary and historical texts to show how writers have manipulated images and ideas associated with the cattle killing-harvest, sacrifice, rebirth, devastation - to speak to their contemporary predicaments. Widening her lens, Wenzel also looks at how past failure can both inspire and constrain movements for justice in the present, and her brilliant insights into the cultural implications of prophecy will fascinate readers across a wide variety of disciplines.
The inception of the Ghost Dance religion in 1890 marked a critical moment in Lakota history. Yet, because this movement alarmed government officials, culminating in the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee of 250 Lakota men, women, and children, historical accounts have most often described the Ghost Dance from the perspective of the white Americans who opposed it. In A Whirlwind Passed through Our Country, historian Rani-Henrik Andersson instead gives Lakotas a sounding board, imparting the multiplicity of Lakota voices on the Ghost Dance at the time. Whereas early accounts treated the Ghost Dance as a military or political movement, A Whirlwind Passed through Our Country stresses its peaceful nature and reveals the breadth of Lakota views on the subject. The more than one hundred accounts compiled here show that the movement caused friction within Lakota society even as it spurred genuine religious belief. These accounts, many of them never before translated from the original Lakota or published, demonstrate that the Ghost Dance's message resonated with Lakotas across artificial ""progressive"" and ""nonprogressive"" lines. Although the movement was often criticized as backward and disconnected from the harsh realities of Native life, Ghost Dance adherents were in fact seeking new ways to survive, albeit not those that contemporary whites envisioned for them. The Ghost Dance, Andersson suggests, might be better understood as an innovative adaptation by the Lakotas to the difficult situation in which they found themselves - and as a way of finding a path to a better life. By presenting accounts of divergent views among the Lakota people, A Whirlwind Passed through Our Country expands the narrative of the Ghost Dance, encouraging more nuanced interpretations of this significant moment in Lakota and American history.
Between 1940 and 2010, the black population of the American West grew from 710,400 to 7 million. With that explosive growth has come a burgeoning interest in the history of the African American West - an interest reflected in the remarkable range and depth of the works collected in Freedom's Racial Frontier. Editors Herbert G. Ruffin II and Dwayne A. Mack have gathered established and emerging scholars in the field to create an anthology that links past, current, and future generations of African American West scholarship. The volume's sixteen chapters address the African American experience within the framework of the West as a multicultural frontier. The result is a fresh perspective on western-U.S. history, centered on the significance of African American life, culture, and social justice in almost every trans-Mississippi state. Examining and interpreting the twentieth century while mindful of events and developments since 2000, the contributors focus on community formation, cultural diversity, civil rights and black empowerment, and artistic creativity and identity. Reflecting the dynamic evolution of new approaches and new sites of knowledge in the field of western history, the authors consider its interconnections with fields such as cultural studies, literature, and sociology. Some essays deal with familiar places, while others look at understudied sites such as Albuquerque, Oahu, and Las Vegas, Nevada. By examining black suburbanization, the Information Age, and gentrification in the urban West, several authors conceive of a Third Great Migration of African Americans to and within the West. The West revealed in Freedom's Racial Frontier is a place where black Americans have fought - and continue to fight - to make their idea of freedom live up to their expectations of equality; a place where freedom is still a frontier for most persons of African heritage.
Despite centuries of suppression and oppression, American Indian music survives today as a profound cultural force. Heartbeat, Warble, and the Electric Powwow celebrates in depth the vibrant soundscape of Native North America, from the ""heartbeat"" of intertribal drums and ""warble"" of Native flutes to contemporary rock, hip-hop, and electronic music. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews with musicians, producers, ethnographers, and record-label owners, author and musician Craig Harris conjures an aural tapestry in which powwow drums and end-blown woodwinds resound alongside operatic and symphonic strains, jazz and reggae, country music, and blues. Harris begins with an exploration of the powwow, from sacred ceremonies to intertribal gatherings. He examines the traditions of the Native American flute and its revival with artists such as two-time Grammy winners R. Carlos Nakai and Mary Youngblood. Singers and songwriters, including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Keith Secola, and Joanne Shenandoah, provide insights into their music and their lives as American Indians. Harris also traces American Indian rock, reggae, punk, and pop over four decades, punctuating his survey with commentary from such artists as Tom Bee, founder of Native America's first rock band, XIT. Grammy-winner Taj Mahal recalls influential guitarist Jesse Ed Davis; ex-bandmates reflect on Rock Hall of Fame inductee Redbone; Robbie Robertson, Pura Fe, and Rita Coolidge describe how their groundbreaking 1993 album, Music for the Native Americans, evolved; and DJs A Tribe Called Red discuss their melding of archival powwow recordings into fiery dance music. The many voices and sounds that weave throughout Harris's engaging, accessible account portray a sonic landscape that defies stereotyping and continues to expand. Heartbeat, Warble, and the Electric Powwow is the story - told by those who live it - of resisting a half-millennium of cultural suppression to create new sounds while preserving old roots. Listen in! Visit this book's page on the oupress.com website for a link to the book's Spotify playlist.
Recent neuroscience research makes it clear that human biology is cultural biology - we develop and live our lives in socially constructed worlds that vary widely in their structure values, and institutions. This integrative volume brings together interdisciplinary perspectives from the human, social, and biological sciences to explore culture, mind, and brain interactions and their impact on personal and societal issues. Contributors provide a fresh look at emerging concepts, models, and applications of the co-constitution of culture, mind, and brain. Chapters survey the latest theoretical and methodological insights alongside the challenges in this area, and describe how these new ideas are being applied in the sciences, humanities, arts, mental health, and everyday life. Readers will gain new appreciation of the ways in which our unique biology and cultural diversity shape behavior and experience, and our ongoing adaptation to a constantly changing world.
The nine Native tribes of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula - the Hoh, Skokomish, Squaxin Island, Lower Elwha Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallam, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Quinault, Quileute, and Makah - share complex histories of trade, religion, warfare, and kinship, as well as reverence for the teaching of elders. However, each indigenous nation's relationship to the Olympic Peninsula is unique. Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula: Who We Are traces the nine tribes' common history and each tribe's individual story. This second edition is updated to include new developments since the volume's initial publication - especially the removal of the Elwha River dams - thus reflecting the ever-changing environment for the Native peoples of the Olympic Peninsula. Nine essays, researched and written by members of the subject tribes, cover cultural history, contemporary affairs, heritage programs, and tourism information. Edited by anthropologist Jacilee Wray, who also provides the book's introduction, this collection relates the Native peoples' history in their own words and addresses each tribe's current cultural and political issues, from the establishment of community centers to mass canoe journeys. The volume's updated content expands its findings to new audiences. More than 70 photographs and other illustrations, many of which are new to this edition, give further insight into the unique legacy of these groups, moving beyond popular romanticized views of American Indians to portray their lived experiences. Providing a foundation for outsiders to learn about the Olympic Peninsula tribes' unique history with one another and their land, this volume demonstrates a cross-tribal commitment to education, adaptation, and cultural preservation. Furthering these goals, this updated edition offers fresh understanding of Native peoples often seen from an outside perspective only.
Written by world-renowned social anthropologist, Jean Lave, with an afterword by Brazilian anthropologist Ana Maria R. Gomes, this book weaves together ethnographic accounts of work and learning, apprenticeship and everyday life, through a critical theory of practice. Each chapter explores in different ways the proposition that learning is a collective, transformative process of change in the historically political complex relations of everyday life. At the same time, the book demonstrates the changing character of Lave's own research practice over two decades. Lave addresses work practices and everyday life and discusses the problem of context and decontextualization. Analyzing two decades of ethnographic studies of craft apprenticeship, she explores teaching as learning and examines the reciprocal effects of theories of everyday life and learning.
The hunter-gatherers of southern Africa known as 'Bushmen' or 'San' are not one single ethnic group, but several. They speak a diverse variety of languages, and have many different settlement patterns, kinship systems and economic practices. The fact that we think of them as a unity is not as strange as it may seem, for they share a common origin: they are an original hunter-gatherer population of southern Africa with a history of many thousands of years on the subcontinent. Drawing on his four decades of field research in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Alan Barnard provides a detailed account of Bushmen or San, covering ethnography, archaeology, folklore, religious studies and rock-art studies as well as several other fields. Its wide coverage includes social development and politics, both historically and in the present day, helping us to reconstruct both human prehistory and a better understanding of ourselves.
Electronic Iran introduces the concept of the Iranian Internet, a framework that captures interlinked, transnational networks of virtual and offline spaces. Taking her cues from early Internet ethnographies that stress the importance of treating the Internet as both a site and product of cultural production, accounts in media studies that highlight the continuities between old and new media, and a range of works that have made critical interventions in the field of Iranian studies, Niki Akhavan traces key developments and confronts conventional wisdom about digital media in general, and contemporary Iranian culture and politics in particular. Akhavan focuses largely on the years between 1998 and 2012 to reveal a diverse and combative virtual landscape where both geographically and ideologically dispersed individuals and groups deployed Internet technologies to variously construct, defend, and challenge narratives of Iranian national identity, society, and politics. While it tempers celebratory claims that have dominated assessments of the Iranian Internet, Electronic Iran is ultimately optimistic in its outlook. As it exposes and assesses overlooked aspects of the Iranian Internet, the book sketches a more complete map of its dynamic landscape, and suggests that the transformative powers of digital media can only be developed and understood if attention is paid to both the specificities of new technologies as well as the local and transnational contexts in which they appear.
This volume brings together Bourdieu's highly original writings on language and on the relations between language, power and politics. Bourdieu develops a forceful critique of traditional approaches to language, including the linguistic theories of Saussure and Chomsky and the theory of speech-acts elaborated by Austin and others. He argues that language should be viewed not only as a means of communication but also as a medium of power through which individuals pursue their interests and display their practical competence.
Drawing on the concepts which are part of his distinctive theoretical approach, Bourdieu maintains that linguistic utterances or expressions can be understood as the product of the relation between a 'linguistic market' and a 'linguistic habitus'. When individuals produce linguistic expressions, they deploy accumulated resources and they implicitly adapt their expressions to the demands of the social field or market. Hence every linguistic interaction, however personal and insignificant they may seem, bears the traces of the social structure that it both expresses and helps to reproduce.
Boudieu's account sheds fresh light on the ways in which linguistic usage varies according to considerations such as class and gender. It also opens up a new approach to the ways in which language is used in the domain of politics. For politics is, among other things, the site "par excellence" in which words are deeds and the symbolic character of power is at stake.
This volume, by one of the leading social thinkers in the world today, represents a major contribution to the study of language and power. It will be of interest to students throughout the social sciences andhumanities, especially in sociology, politics, anthropology, linguistics and literature.
Over the last twenty years, art has become more accessible than ever before. A painter can post their latest creation on Instagram and wait as the likes pile up; a budding filmmaker can shoot a clip on their iPhone, then upload it to YouTube for thousands to view. The digital landscape has fundamentally altered what it means to be creative, as well as how consumers interact with artistic production both economically and curatorially. William Deresiewicz, a leading critic of contemporary culture in America, argues that we are in the midst of an epochal transformation within art. Whereas the nineteenth century considered artists to be craftsmen and the twentieth century treated them as professionals, artists today are uniquely dependent upon themselves. The internet, along with decreases in art funding and the growing prevalence of gig economies, has forced artists to become responsible for every aspect of their work, from conception to promotion, from sales to legacy. In The Death of the Artist, Deresiewicz profiles those struggling to make a living through the arts, from the twenty-something college novelist with a multi-hyphenated job title to the midlife painter who must utilise social media to stay relevant. Deresiewicz shows what the birth of the "creative entrepreneur" signifies about our evolving society at large and what might be done to keep artists thriving, because we need them.
Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world--and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made? A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction. By investigating one of the world's most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.
There is a growing body of work on white farmers in Zimbabwe. Yet the role played by white women - so-called `farmers' wives' - on commercial farms has been almost completely ignored, if not forgotten. For all the public role and overt power ascribed to white male farmers, their wives played an equally important, although often more subtle, role in power and labour relations on white commercial farms. This `soft power' took the form of maternalistic welfare initiatives such as clinics, schools, orphan programmes and women's clubs, most overseen by a `farmer's wife'. Before and after Zimbabwe's 1980 independence these played an important role in attracting and keeping farm labourers, and governing their behaviour. After independence they also became crucial to the way white farmers justified their continued ownership of most of Zimbabwe's prime farmland. This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the role that farm welfare initiatives played in Zimbabwe's agrarian history. Having assessed what implications such endeavours had for the position and well-being of farmworkers before the onset of `fast-track' land reform in the year 2000, Hartnack examines in vivid ethnographic detail the impact that the farm seizures had on the lives of farmworkers and the welfare programmes which had previously attempted to improve their lot.
In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy-a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant-apartheid-as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining custom. By tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture, and by giving culture an authoritarian bent, indirect rule (decentralized despotism) set the pace for Africa; the French followed suit by changing from direct to indirect administration, while apartheid emerged relatively later. Apartheid, Mamdani shows, was actually the generic form of the colonial state in Africa. Through case studies of rural (Uganda) and urban (South Africa) resistance movements, we learn how these institutional features fragment resistance and how states tend to play off reform in one sector against repression in the other. Reforming a power that institutionally enforces tension between town and country, and between ethnicities, is the key challenge for anyone interested in democratic reform in Africa.
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