Fusion of the Worlds

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226775494
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"This ethnography is more like a film than a book, so well does Stoller evoke the color, sight, sounds, and movements of Songhay possession ceremonies."—Choice "Stoller brilliantly recreates the reality of spirit presence; hosts are what they mediate, and spirits become flesh and blood in the 'fusion' with human existence. . . . An excellent demonstration of the benefits of a new genre of ethnographic writing. It expands our understanding of the harsh world of Songhay mediums and sorcerers."—Bruce Kapferer, American Ethnologist "A vivid story that will appeal to a wide audience. . . . The voices of individual Songhay are evident and forceful throughout the story. . . . Like a painter, [Stoller] is concerned with the rich surface of things, with depicting images, evoking sensations, and enriching perceptions. . . . He has succeeded admirably." —Michael Lambek, American Anthropologist "Events (ceremonies and life histories) are evoked in cinematic style. . . . [This book is] approachable and absorbing—it is well written, uncluttered by jargon and elegantly structured."—Richard Fardon, Times Higher Education Supplement "Compelling, insightful, rich in ethnographic detail, and worthy of becoming a classic in the scholarship on Africa."—Aidan Southall, African Studies Review

Embodying Colonial Memories

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780415908771
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Embodying Colonial Memories is the first in-depth study of the West African Hauka, spirits in the body of (human) mediums which mimic and mock Europeans of the colonial epoch. Paul Stoller, who was initiated into a spirit possession troupe, recounts an insider's tale of the Hauka with respect and "brotherly" deference. He combines narrative description, historical analysis, and reflections on the importance of embodiment and mimesis to social theory, with particular reference to the Songhay peoples of the Republic of Niger. Why have the Hauka mimicked white men and their colonial behaviors? In this innovative book, Stoller argues that mimicry is about power. To copy something is to master it. Through the Hauka, the Songhay try to divert the power of the Europeans. Embodying Colonial Memories not only desribes a spirit possession cult; it considers such significant subjects as the cultural sentience of the body, the dynamics of colonial movements of resistance, and the particularly poignant political discourses of West African postcolonies. -- Back cover.

Historical Dictionary of Niger

Author: Abdourahmane Idrissa
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 0810870908
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The fourth edition of the Historical Dictionary of Niger covers the history of the peoples of the Republic of Niger from medieval times to the present. This is done through a chronology, an introductory essay, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 700 cross-referenced entries covering elements of pre-colonial and colonial history, recent politics, cinema, literature, religion, economics, and finance. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Niger.

The Taste of Ethnographic Things

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812203141
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Anthropologists who have lost their senses write ethnographies that are often disconnected from the worlds they seek to portray. For most anthropologists, Stoller contends, tasteless theories are more important than the savory sauces of ethnographic life. That they have lost the smells, sounds, and tastes of the places they study is unfortunate for them, for their subjects, and for the discipline itself. The Taste of Ethnographic Things describes how, through long-term participation in the lives of the Songhay of Niger, Stoller eventually came to his senses. Taken together, the separate chapters speak to two important and integrated issues. The first is methodological—all the chapters demonstrate the rewards of long-term study of a culture. The second issue is how he became truer to the Songhay through increased sensual awareness.

In Sorcery s Shadow

Author: Paul Stoller
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022609829X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The tale of Paul Stoller's sojourn among sorcerors in the Republic of Niger is a story of growth and change, of mutual respect and understanding that will challenge all who read it to plunge deeply into an alien world.

Spirit Possession Modernity Power in Africa

Author: Heike Behrend
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 9780299166342
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In Africa as well as in Europe, many spirits and their mediums are part of local as well as global cultures. Christian spirits named Hitler, Mussolini, or King Bruce (Bruce Lee) flourish in a pantheon of new holy spirits in Uganda waging war against the government. Spirits of airplanes, engines, guitars, and angels are found in Central Africa; and thunder, snakes, and rain as well as playboys and prostitutes inhabit the spirit world in West Africa. Spirit possession cults have continued to proliferate, even in the secular West, and continue to be a subject of intense interest. Despite the continuous expansion of the field, some problems are only now beginning to be explored. The experts in this volume focus on questions of power, the history and inner dynamics of cults, the role of gender and images of the other, based on research conducted during the last fifteen years in Africa. The contributors document changes taking place across the continent as possession beliefs and practices respond to new circumstances and address the shifting local implications of an increasingly global socio-economy. Gender, ethnicity, and class are examined as intersecting forces and features of spirit phenomena. The case studies presented are richly contextualized: history, social organization and upheaval, alternative religious options—all are considered relevant to an understanding of possession forms. Contributors: Leslie Sharp, Heike Behrend, Adeline Masquelier, Mathias Krings, Jean-Paul Colleyn, Alexandra O. de Sousa, Susan Kenyon, Tobias Wendl, Ute Luig, and Linda Giles Co-published with James Currey Publishers, U.K. The Wisconsin edition is not for sale in the United Kingdon, the traditional British Commonwealth (excepting Canada), nor in Europe.

Forensics of Capital

Author: Michael Ralph
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022619857X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this ambitious and sophisticated work, anthropologist Michael Ralph uses the case of Senegal often held to be an exceptional democracy in Africato illustrate the mechanisms of credit and debt enforcement common to the emergence of all nation-states. Each chapter systematically addresses various pillars of what are termed the structures of liability, thereby managing to convey the idea that senses of belonging and exclusion i.e. citizenship, are as influenced by the economic sphere as the supposedly distinct cultural one. Ralph then goes beyond this and attaches it to the national level, i.e. sovereignty, as well, asserting that diplomatic standing in the arena of nation-states is also tied to questions of access and respect on the international credit markets. He argues that no country carries just governance in its essencejustice emerges from clear and reliable methods of accountability. In a world where democracy is adjudicated at the interface between national legislation and international standing in a regime of nations, all citizens of the world play a role in shaping the critical theories and methods required to ensure that protocols for international governance and lending are as accessible and democratic as they purport to be, and that governmentswhoever they may beface strict censure when they are not. This book represents an important intervention into several fields of studies, ranging from African Studies to Economic History to Anthropology."

Storytellers Saints and Scoundrels

Author: Kirin Narayan
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812205839
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Swamiji, a Hindu holy man, is the central character of Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels. He reclines in a deck chair in his modern apartment in western India, telling subtle and entertaining folk narratives to his assorted gatherings. Among the listeners is Kirin Narayan, who knew Swamiji when she was a child in India and who has returned from America as an anthropologist. In her book Narayan builds on Swamiji's tales and his audiences' interpretations to ask why religious teachings the world over are so often couched in stories. For centuries, religious teachers from many traditions have used stories to instruct their followers. When Swamiji tells a story, the local barber rocks in helpless laughter, and a sari-wearing French nurse looks on enrapt. Farmers make decisions based on the tales, and American psychotherapists take notes that link the storytelling to their own practices. Narayan herself is a key character in this ethnography. As both a local woman and a foreign academic, she is somewhere between participant and observer, reacting to the nuances of fieldwork with a sensitivity that only such a position can bring. Each story s reproduced in its evocative performance setting. Narayan supplements eight folk narratives with discussions of audience participation and response as well as relevant Hindu themes. All these stories focus on the complex figure of the Hindu ascetic and so sharpen our understanding of renunciation and gurus in South Asia. While Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels raises provocative theoretical issues, it is also a moving human document. Swamiji, with his droll characterizations, inventive mind, and generous spirit, is a memorable character. The book contributes to a growing interdisciplinary literature on narrative. It will be particularly valuable to students and scholars of anthropology, folklore, performance studies, religions, and South Asian studies.

The Digital Turn

Author: Wim Westera
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 1477250328
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This book is about digital media. Even more, the book is about us. It explains how the ever-growing flood of digital media affects our perceptions of the world, change our behaviors and eventually transform our very existence. In the era of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple, being online is the standard. We spend many hours a day gazing at our screens, traversing the virtual realm, and posting our tweets, tags, and "likes." Billions of years of evolution have prepared us for life at the savannas. It took us less than two decades to radically transform our biotope. Being online is no less than a fundamentally different mode of being. It is likely to produce a fragmented, detached, and distorted view of the world. What will be our understanding of the world when all certainties that result from living in a material world become useless? What will be our role and position when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence? How can we avoid losing grip of the significance of identity, friendship, social engagement, and eventually life at large? The book explains the mechanisms and consequences of engaging in online spaces. It offers an accessible means for attaining a better understanding of the ways digital media influence our lives. It is a compact guide to becoming media literate and to preparing us for the advanced digital services that are yet to come. This makes the book an indispensable aid for every twenty-first-century citizen.

Religions in Practice

Author: John R. Bowen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317344480
Format: PDF, Docs
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Examines religious practices from an anthropological perspective Religions in Practice, 6/e, offers an issues-oriented perspective on everyday religious behaviors – prayer, sacrifice, initiation, healing, etc. – by focusing on such topics as transnationalism, gender, and religious laws. The text examines a full spectrum of religions, from small-scale societies to major, established religions. The in-depth treatment of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity is particularly noteworthy and easily supplemented with field projects directly related to the text.