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Fluid Signs

Author: E. Valentine Daniel
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520061675
Size: 26.87 MB
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"Daniel is brilliant, and this work is the product of all his powers of imagination and expression. He is also a flawless scholar: bilingual, so that his translations are accurate; gifted, so that they are charming; well-read, so that his discussions are set in the full context of previous scholarship; and very, very funny, so that his depictions of the quandaries of his informants, as well as himself, are a joy to read."--Wendy O'Flaherty

Fluid Signs

Author: E. Valentine Daniel
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520047259
Size: 14.94 MB
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"Fluid Signs" is the product of anthropological fieldwork carried out among Tamil-speaking villagers in a Hindu village in Southern India. Combining a richness of ethnographic detail with a challenging and innovative theoretical analysis, Daniel argues that symbolic anthropologists have yet to appreciate the multifaceted function of the "sign" and its role in the creation of culture. This provocative study underscores the need for Western intellectual traditions in general and anthropology in particular to deepen its discourse with South Asian cultural and religious thought.

Culture Contexture

Author: Jeffrey M. Peck
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520084636
Size: 65.29 MB
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The rapprochement of anthropology and literary studies, begun nearly fifteen years ago by such pioneering scholars as Clifford Geertz, Edward Said, and James Clifford, has led not only to the creation of the new scholarly domain of cultural studies but to the deepening and widening of both original fields. Literary critics have learned to "anthropologize" their studies--to ask questions about the construction of meanings under historical conditions and reflect on cultural "situatedness." Anthropologists have discovered narratives other than the master narratives of disciplinary social science that need to be drawn on to compose ethnographies. Culture/Contexture brings together for the first time literature and anthropology scholars to reflect on the antidisciplinary urge that has made the creative borrowing between their two fields both possible and necessary. Critically expanding on such pathbreaking works as James Clifford and George Marcus's Writing Culture and Marcus and Michael M. J. Fischer's Anthropology as Cultural Critique, contributors explore the fascination that draws the disciplines together and the fears that keep them apart. Their topics demonstrate the rich intersection of anthropology and literary studies, ranging from reading and race to writing and representation, incest and violence, and travel and time. The rapprochement of anthropology and literary studies, begun nearly fifteen years ago by such pioneering scholars as Clifford Geertz, Edward Said, and James Clifford, has led not only to the creation of the new scholarly domain of cultural studies but to the deepening and widening of both original fields. Literary critics have learned to "anthropologize" their studies--to ask questions about the construction of meanings under historical conditions and reflect on cultural "situatedness." Anthropologists have discovered narratives other than the master narratives of disciplinary social science that need to be drawn on to compose ethnographies. Culture/Contexture brings together for the first time literature and anthropology scholars to reflect on the antidisciplinary urge that has made the creative borrowing between their two fields both possible and necessary. Critically expanding on such pathbreaking works as James Clifford and George Marcus's Writing Culture and Marcus and Michael M. J. Fischer's Anthropology as Cultural Critique, contributors explore the fascination that draws the disciplines together and the fears that keep them apart. Their topics demonstrate the rich intersection of anthropology and literary studies, ranging from reading and race to writing and representation, incest and violence, and travel and time.

Charred Lullabies

Author: E. Valentine Daniel
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400822034
Size: 36.36 MB
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How does an ethnographer write about violence? How can he make sense of violent acts, for himself and for his readers, without compromising its sheer excess and its meaning-defying core? How can he remain a scholarly observer when the country of his birth is engulfed by terror? These are some of the questions that engage Valentine Daniel in this exploration of life and death in contemporary Sri Lanka. In 1983 Daniel "walked into the ashes and mortal residue" of the violence that had occurred in his homeland. His planned project--the study of women's folk songs as ethnohistory--was immediately displaced by the responsibility that he felt had been given to him, by surviving family members and friends of victims, to recount beyond Sri Lanka what he had seen and heard there. Trained to do fieldwork by staying in one place and educated to look for coherence and meaning in human behavior, what does an anthropologist do when he is forced by circumstances to keep moving, searching for reasons he never finds? How does he write an ethnography (or an anthropography, to use the author's term) without transforming it into a pornography of violence? In avoiding fattening the anthropography into prurience, how does he avoid flattening it with theory? The ways in which Daniel grapples with these questions, and their answers, instill this groundbreaking book with a rare sense of passion, purpose, and intellect.

Crooked Stalks

Author: Anand Pandian
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822391015
Size: 10.75 MB
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How do people come to live as they ought to live? Crooked Stalks seeks an answer to this enduring question in diverse practices of cultivation: in the moral horizons of development intervention, in the forms of virtue through which people may work upon their own desires, deeds, and habits, and in the material labors that turn inhabited worlds into environments for both moral and natural growth. Focusing on the colonial subjection and contemporary condition of the Piramalai Kallar caste—classified, condemned, and policed for decades as a “criminal tribe”—Anand Pandian argues that the work of cultivation in all of these senses has been essential to the pursuit of modernity in south India. Colonial engagements with the Kallars in the early twentieth century relied heavily upon agrarian strategies of moral reform, an approach that echoed longstanding imaginations of the rural cultivator as a morally cultivated being in Tamil literary, moral, and religious tradition. These intertwined histories profoundly shape how people of the community struggle with themselves as ethical subjects today. In vivid, inventive, and engaging prose, Pandian weaves together ethnographic encounters, archival investigations, and elements drawn from Tamil poetry, prose, and popular cinema. Tacking deftly between ploughed soils and plundered orchards, schoolroom lessons and stationhouse registers, household hearths and riverine dams, he reveals moral life in the postcolonial present as a palimpsest of traces inherited from multiple pasts. Pursuing these legacies through the fragmentary play of desire, dream, slander, and counsel, Pandian calls attention not only to the moral potential of ordinary existence, but also to the inescapable force of accident, chance, and failure in the making of ethical lives. Rarely are the moral coordinates of modern power sketched with such intimacy and delicacy.

Christian Moderns

Author: Webb Keane
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520939219
Size: 30.40 MB
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Across much of the postcolonial world, Christianity has often become inseparable from ideas and practices linking the concept of modernity to that of human emancipation. To explore these links, Webb Keane undertakes a rich ethnographic study of the century-long encounter, from the colonial Dutch East Indies to post-independence Indonesia, among Calvinist missionaries, their converts, and those who resist conversion. Keane's analysis of their struggles over such things as prayers, offerings, and the value of money challenges familiar notions about agency. Through its exploration of language, materiality, and morality, this book illuminates a wide range of debates in social and cultural theory. It demonstrates the crucial place of Christianity in semiotic ideologies of modernity and sheds new light on the importance of religion in colonial and postcolonial histories.

Archaeological Semiotics

Author: Robert W. Preucel
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 140519913X
Size: 20.43 MB
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"How meaning is generated in cultural life is a vast and central topic for the social sciences, including archaeology. This book is a must for anyone interested in this area."-Chris Gosden, University of Oxford --

The Apotheosis Of Captain Cook

Author: Gananath Obeyesekere
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691057521
Size: 49.56 MB
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In January 1778 Captain James Cook "discovered" the Hawaiian islands and was hailed by the native peoples as their returning god Lono. On a return trip, after a futile attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, Cook was killed in what modern anthropologists and historians interpret as a ritual sacrifice of the fertility god. Questioning the circumstances surrounding Cook's so-called divinity - or apotheosis - and his death, Gananath Obeyesekere debunks one of the most enduring myths of imperialism, civilization, and conquest: the notion that the Western civilizer is a god to savages. Through a close reexamination of Cook's grueling final voyage, his increasingly erratic behavior, his strained relations with the Hawaiians, and the violent death he met at their hands, Obeyesekere rewrites an important segment of British and Hawaiian history in a way that challenges Eurocentric views of non-Western cultures. The discrepancies between Cook the legend and the person come alive in a narrative based on shipboard journals and logs kept by the captain and his officers. In these accounts Obeyesekere sees Cook as both the self-conscious civilizer and as the person who, his mission gone awry, becomes a "savage" himself - during the last voyage it was Cook's destructive side that dominated. After examining various versions of the "Cook myth, " the author argues that the Hawaiians did not apotheosize the captain but revered him as a chief on par with their own. The blurring of conventional distinctions between history, hagiography, and myth, Obeyesekere maintains, requires us to examine the presuppositions that go into the writing of history and anthropology.

The Great Cat Massacre

Author: Robert Darnton
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465010482
Size: 30.65 MB
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When the apprentices of a Paris printing shop in the 1730s held a series of mock trials and then hanged all the cats they could lay their hands on, why did they find it so hilariously funny that they choked with laughter when they reenacted it in pantomime some twenty times? Why in the eighteenth-century version of Little Red Riding Hood did the wolf eat the child at the end? What did the anonymous townsman of Montpelier have in mind when he kept an exhaustive dossier on all the activities of his native city? These are some of the provocative questions Robert Darnton answers in this classic work of European history in what we like to call “The Age of Enlightenment.”