Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island
Author: Nils Bubandt
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Category: Social Science
View: 932The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn't explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.
Author: N. Naro,R. Sansi-Roca,D. Treece
View: 1388This book addresses the Lusophone Black Atlantic as a space of historical and cultural production between Portugal, Brazil, and Africa. The authors demonstrate how it has been shaped by diverse colonial cultures including the Portuguese imperial project. The Lusophone context offers a unique perspective on the history of the Atlantic.
Author: John Parker,Richard Reid
Publisher: OUP Oxford
View: 7999The Oxford Handbook of Modern African History represents an invaluable tool for historians and others in the field of African studies. This collection of essays, produced by some of the finest scholars currently working in the field, provides the latest insights into, and interpretations of, the history of Africa - a continent with a rich and complex past. An understanding of this past is essential to gain perspective on Africa's current challenges, and this accessible and comprehensive volume will allow readers to explore various aspects - political, economic, social, and cultural - of the continent's history over the last two hundred years. Since African history first emerged as a serious academic endeavour in the 1950s and 1960s, it has undergone numerous shifts in terms of emphasis and approach, changes brought about by political and economic exigencies and by ideological debates. This multi-faceted Handbook is essential reading for anyone with an interest in those debates, and in Africa and its peoples. While the focus is determinedly historical, anthropology, geography, literary criticism, political science and sociology are all employed in this ground-breaking study of Africa's past.
Cultural Amnesia in the Academy
Author: Joseph A. Young,Jana Evans Braziel
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
View: 3652How are literary genres racialized? How are definitions of history and historicity predicated on notions of racial difference? How have the arts been constructed on racialized aesthetic foundations, and how have they benefited from institutions of slavery and colonialism? This anthology demonstrates the longstanding, multifarious, and major role that race has played in the formation of knowledge. The authors demonstrate how race theory intersects with other bodies of knowledge by examining discursive records such as travelogues, literature, and historiography; theoretical structures such as common sense, pseudoscientific racism, and Eurocentrism; social structures of class, advancement, and identity; and politico-economic structures of capitalism, colonialism, and law. Editors Joseph Young and Jana Evans Braziel aim to demonstrate the richness that emerges when race is taken into consideration and the misrepresentation of thought that results when it is not.
Afro-Brazilian Art and Culture in the 20th Century
Author: Roger Sansi
Publisher: Berghahn Books
View: 3017One hundred years ago in Brazil the rituals of Candomblé were feared as sorcery and persecuted as crime. Its cult objects were fearsome fetishes. Nowadays, they are Afro-Brazilian cultural works of art, objects of museum display and public monuments. Focusing on the particular histories of objects, images, spaces and persons who embodied it, this book portrays the historical journey from weapons of sorcery looted by the police, to hidden living stones, to public works of art attacked by religious fanatics that see them as images of the Devil, former sorcerers who have become artists, writers, and philosophers. Addressing this history as a journey of objectification and appropriation, the author offers a fresh, unconventional, and illuminating look at questions of syncretism, hybridity and cultural resistance in Brazil and in the Black Atlantic in general.
Author: Stacy Schiff
Publisher: Little, Brown
View: 1179The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials. It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic. As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.
Author: Laurent Dubois,Julius S. Scott
View: 9417Between 1492 and 1820, about two-thirds of the people who crossed the Atlantic to the Americas were Africans. With the exception of the Spanish, all the European empires settled more Africans in the New World than they did Europeans. The vast majority of these enslaved men and women worked on plantations, and their labor was the foundation for the expansion of the Atlantic economy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Until relatively recently, comparatively little attention was paid to the perspectives, daily experiences, hopes, and especially the political ideas of the enslaved who played such a central role in the making of the Atlantic world. Over the past decades, however, huge strides have been made in the study of the history of slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic world. This collection brings together some of the key contributions to this growing body of scholarship, showing a range of methodological approaches, that can be used to understand and reconstruct the lives of these enslaved people.
Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World's Strangest Syndromes
Author: Frank Bures
Publisher: Melville House
Category: Social Science
View: 3218Why do some men become convinced—despite what doctors tell them—that their penises have, simply, disappeared. Why do people across the world become convinced that they are cursed to die on a particular date—and then do? Why do people in Malaysia suddenly “run amok”? In The Geography of Madness, acclaimed magazine writer Frank Bures investigates these and other “culture-bound” syndromes, tracing each seemingly baffling phenomenon to its source. It’s a fascinating, and at times rollicking, adventure that takes the reader around the world and deep into the oddities of the human psyche. What Bures uncovers along the way is a poignant and stirring story of the persistence of belief, fear, and hope.
History and Memory in the Black Atlantic World
Author: Andrew Apter,Lauren Derby
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
View: 9132Activating the Past explores critical historical events and transformations associated with embodied memories in the Black Atlantic world. The assembled case-studies disclose hidden historical references to local and regional encounters with Atlantic modernity, focusing on religious festivals that represent political and economic relationships in “fetishized” forms of power and value. Although memories of the slave trade are rarely acknowledged in West Africa and the Americas, they have retreated, so to speak, within ritual associations as restricted, repressed, even secret histories that are activated during public festivals and through different styles of spirit possession. In West Africa, our focus on selected port cities along the coast extends into the hinterlands, where slave raiding occurred but is poorly documented and rarely acknowledged. In the Caribbean, regional contrasts between coastal and hinterland communities relate figures of the jíbaro, the indio and the caboclo to their ritual representations in Santería, Vodou, and Candomblé. Highlighting the spatial association of memories with shrines and the ritual “condensation” of regional geographies, we locate local spirits and domestic terrains within co-extensive Atlantic horizons. The volume brings together leading scholars of the African Diaspora who not only explore these ritual archives for significant echoes of the past, but also illuminate a subaltern historiography embedded within Atlantic cultural systems.
Author: Sheri Holman
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
View: 4205“This richly layered novel” from the acclaimed author of The Dress Lodger explores Americana, witchcraft, love, and betrayal (People, starred review). As a child growing up in Depression-era rural Virginia, Eddie Alley’s quiet life is rooted in the rumors of his mother’s witchcraft. But when an outsider violently disrupts the spell of his mother’s unorthodox life, Eddie is inspired to pursue a future beyond the confines of his dead-end town. He leaves for New York and becomes a television horror-movie presenter beloved for his kitschy comedy. When he opens his family’s door to a homeless teenager working as an intern at the TV station, the boy’s presence not only awakens something in Eddie, but also in his twelve-year-old daughter, Wallis, who has begun to feel a strange kinship to her notorious grandmother. As the ghost stories of one generation infiltrate the next, Wallis and Eddie grapple with the sins of the past in this gripping novel that “explores the dark vein of magic that runs just beneath our real lives” (The New York Times Book Review). “Holman is a master of the miniature. She uses tiny, achingly accurate details to bring each moment to life on the page; her sentences sing . . . [her] most ambitious and successful yet.” —People, starred review “Holman has an imagination that is both capacious and meticulous, and by turns somber and antic . . . Witches on the Road Tonight is a path into her work that beckons, with strange lights and mysterious apparitions.” —Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Review of Books “Mysterious, beautiful, and immediately engrossing . . . A tour de force of meticulous research brought urgently to life by headlong, transporting prose.” —Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach and A Visit From the Goon Squad
Author: Beatriz Gallotti Mamigonian,Karen Racine
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc
Category: Biography & Autobiography
View: 3976Like snapshots of everyday life in the past, the compelling biographies in this book document the making of the Black Atlantic world since the sixteenth century from the point of view of those who were part of it. Centering on the diaspora caused by the forced migration of Africans to Europe and across the Atlantic to the Americas, the chapters explore the slave trade, enslavement, resistance, adaptation, cultural transformations, and the quest for citizenship rights. Drawing on a rich array of little-known documents, the contributors reconstruct the lives and times of some well-known characters along with ordinary people who rarely left written records and would otherwise have remained anonymous and unknown.
Seeking Justice in a World with Witches
Author: Adam Ashforth
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Category: Social Science
View: 1425In March 2009, in a small town in Malawi, a nurse at the local hospital was accused of teaching witchcraft to children. Amid swirling rumors, “Mrs. K.” tried to defend her reputation, but the community nevertheless grew increasingly hostile. The legal, social, and psychological trials that she endured in the struggle to clear her name left her life in shambles, and she died a few years later. In The Trials of Mrs. K., Adam Ashforth studies this and similar stories of witchcraft that continue to circulate in Malawi. At the heart of the book is Ashforth’s desire to understand how claims to truth, the pursuit of justice, and demands for security work in contemporary Africa, where stories of witchcraft can be terrifying. Guiding us through the history of legal customs and their interactions with the court of public opinion, Ashforth asks challenging questions about responsibility, occult forces, and the imperfect but vital mechanisms of law. A beautifully written and provocative book, The Trials of Mrs. K. will be an essential text for understanding what justice means in a fragile and dangerous world.
Tradition, Transnationalism, and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé
Author: J. Lorand Matory
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Category: Social Science
View: 3784Black Atlantic Religion illuminates the mutual transformation of African and African-American cultures, highlighting the example of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religion. This book contests both the recent conviction that transnationalism is new and the long-held supposition that African culture endures in the Americas only among the poorest and most isolated of black populations. In fact, African culture in the Americas has most flourished among the urban and the prosperous, who, through travel, commerce, and literacy, were well exposed to other cultures. Their embrace of African religion is less a "survival," or inert residue of the African past, than a strategic choice in their circum-Atlantic, multicultural world. With counterparts in Nigeria, the Benin Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad, and the United States, Candomblé is a religion of spirit possession, dance, healing, and blood sacrifice. Most surprising to those who imagine Candomblé and other such religions as the products of anonymous folk memory is the fact that some of this religion's towering leaders and priests have been either well-traveled writers or merchants, whose stake in African-inspired religion was as much commercial as spiritual. Morever, they influenced Africa as much as Brazil. Thus, for centuries, Candomblé and its counterparts have stood at the crux of enormous transnational forces. Vividly combining history and ethnography, Matory spotlights a so-called "folk" religion defined not by its closure or internal homogeneity but by the diversity of its connections to classes and places often far away. Black Atlantic Religion sets a new standard for the study of transnationalism in its subaltern and often ancient manifestations.
Africa in Comparison
Author: Peter Geschiere
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Category: Social Science
View: 4885In Dante’s Inferno, the lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors, those who betrayed their closest companions. In a wide range of literatures and mythologies such intimate aggression is a source of ultimate terror, and in Witchcraft, Intimacy, and Trust, Peter Geschiere masterfully sketches it as a central ember at the core of human relationships, one brutally revealed in the practice of witchcraft. Examining witchcraft in its variety of forms throughout the globe, he shows how this often misunderstood practice is deeply structured by intimacy and the powers it affords. In doing so, he offers not only a comprehensive look at contemporary witchcraft but also a fresh—if troubling—new way to think about intimacy itself. Geschiere begins in the forests of southeast Cameroon with the Maka, who fear “witchcraft of the house” above all else. Drawing a variety of local conceptions of intimacy into a global arc, he tracks notions of the home and family—and witchcraft’s transgression of them—throughout Africa, Europe, Brazil, and Oceania, showing that witchcraft provides powerful ways of addressing issues that are crucial to social relationships. Indeed, by uncovering the link between intimacy and witchcraft in so many parts of the world, he paints a provocative picture of human sociality that scrutinizes some of the most prevalent views held by contemporary social science. One of the few books to situate witchcraft in a global context, Witchcraft, Intimacy, and Trust is at once a theoretical tour de force and an empirically rich and lucid take on a difficult-to-understand spiritual practice and the private spaces throughout the world it so greatly affects.
Quita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba
Author: Todd Ramón Ochoa
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
View: 6386Summary: In this first-person account, Todd Ramón Ochoa explores Palo, a poorly-understood Kongo-inspired 'society of afflication' at the margins of Cuban popular religion. Narrated as an encounter with two teachers of Palo, the book unfolds on the outskirts of Havana.