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1. cover
2. cover
Title: Taming the wind of desire: psychology, medicine, and aesthetics in Malay shamanistic performance
Author: Laderman, Carol
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Anthropology | Asian Studies | Medical Anthropology | Psychology | Southeast Asia | Medicine
Publisher's Description: Charged with restoring harmony and relieving pain, the Malay shaman places his patients in trance and encourages them to express their talents, drives, personality traits - the "Inner Winds" of Malay medical lore - in a kind of performance. These healing ceremonies, formerly viewed by Western anthropologists as exotic curiosities, actually reveal complex multicultural origins and a unique indigenous medical tradition whose psychological content is remarkably relevant to contemporary Western concerns.Accepted as apprentice to a Malay shaman, Carol Laderman learned and recorded every aspect of the healing seance and found it comparable in many ways to the traditional dramas of Southeast Asia and of other cultures such as ancient Greece, Japan, and India. The Malay seance is a total performance, complete with audience, stage, props, plot, music, and dance. The players include the patient along with the shaman and his troupe. At the center of the drama are pivotal relationships - among people, between humans and spirits, and within the self. The best of the Malay shamans are superb poets, dramatists, and performers as well as effective healers of body and soul.   [brief]
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3. cover
Title: Kinship with strangers: adoption and interpretations of kinship in American culture online access is available to everyone
Author: Modell, Judith Schachter 1941-
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Anthropology | Sociology
Publisher's Description: Adoption challenges our understanding of the core symbols of kinship in American culture - birth, biology, and blood. Through the lens of anthropological theory, Judith Modell examines these symbols and the way they affect people who experience the "fictive" kinship of adoption. Her findings are timely and profoundly moving and contribute valuable insights to the current debate about removing the veil of secrecy from adoption records and procedures.Modell draws on interviews with birthparents, adoptive parents, and adoptees, some of whom are involved in reforming the adoption process. That reform - the opening of records, the acknowledgment of a biological and a legal parent, the blending of families that are related only through a child - spotlights the very meanings of mother and father, "blood," and identity in this country. Thus her book complements other recent anthropological literature that argues for a radical rethinking of the way we define, and use, those concepts.Certain rhetorical motifs emerge in the language used by members of the adoption triad: "surrender" is the critical motif for birthparents, "telling" for adoptees, "love at first sight" for adopting parents, and "reunion" for the search process. Throughout, we hear the words of those involved in adoption, and we come to understand the ambiguities regarding love and responsibility, nurture and competence, well-being and wealth - concepts that underlie the "transaction in parenthood" in American culture. Modell's findings should have important ramifications for policy, practice, and individual participation in the adoption experience.   [brief]
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4. cover
Title: Healing sounds from the Malaysian rainforest: Temiar music and medicine
Author: Roseman, Marina 1952-
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Anthropology | Medical Anthropology | East Asia Other | Ethnomusicology | Asian Studies | Cultural Anthropology | Medicine | Musicology
Publisher's Description: Music and dance play a central role in the "healing arts" of the Senoi Temiar, a group of hunters and horticulturalists dwelling in the rainforest of peninsular Malaysia. As musicologist and anthropologist, Marina Roseman recorded and transcribed Temiar rituals, while as a member of the community she became a participant and even a patient during the course of her two-year stay. She shows how the sounds and gestures of music and dance acquire a potency that can transform thoughts, emotions, and bodies.   [brief]
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5. cover
Title: The splendid feast of reason
Author: Singer, Seymour Jonathan 1924-
Published: University of California Press,  2001
Subjects: Science | History of Science | Philosophy
Publisher's Description: Jonathan Singer's witty, erudite book is a celebration of rationality and an urgent call to make use of intelligence and reason to better cope with human problems. Emphasizing the importance of rationality's greatest achievement, modern science, Singer - one of the foremost biologists of our era - argues that for the first time in several million years humanity has at its disposal the tools for an objective understanding of the external world. Singer demonstrates that, today more than ever, the fullest exercise of rationality is essential if humanity is to rein in a runaway technology and control an explosion of the human population that together threaten to devastate life on this planet within only a few more generations. The intrusion of reason and rationality into our largely irrational world has been painfully slow, uneven, and often unwelcome. Singer explains that for rationalists the founding of modern science - which took place only a few hundred years ago - has overthrown many of the myths of conventional wisdom and dogmas of traditional religions. Yet these beliefs still hold sway over the irrational world, obstructing efforts to deal sensibly with the problematic future of mankind. The core of The Splendid Feast of Reason is an engaging and accessible account of the knowledge that modern science provides. Singer offers an absorbing discussion of how life works, of the nature of reproduction, aging, and death, and of the necessary fragility of the individual life compared to the resilience of life itself. He emphasizes the primary role of the genes in determining the structural organization and the behaviors of living things, including humans. He also stresses the nature and mechanisms of biological evolution, mechanisms that have now been placed in jeopardy because of human ignorance and irrational appetites. Finally, Singer delves into the enigma of the real world with its irrational and chaotic operations and offers suggestions of how a rationalist can not only survive, but thrive in it.   [brief]
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6. cover
Title: Listen to the heron's words: reimagining gender and kinship in North India online access is available to everyone
Author: Raheja, Gloria Goodwin 1950-
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Anthropology | Cultural Anthropology | Folklore and Mythology | Women's Studies | South Asia
Publisher's Description: In many South Asian oral traditions, herons are viewed as duplicitous and conniving. These traditions tend also to view women as fragmented identities, dangerously split between virtue and virtuosity, between loyalties to their own families and those of their husbands. In women's songs, however, symbolic herons speak, telling of alternative moral perspectives shaped by women. The heron's words - and women's expressive genres more generally - criticize pervasive North Indian ideologies of gender and kinship that place women in subordinate positions. By inviting readers to "listen to the heron's words," the authors convey this shift in moral perspective and suggest that these spoken truths are compelling and consequential for the women in North India.The songs and narratives bear witness to a provocative cultural dissonance embedded in women's speech. This book reveals the power of these critical commentaries and the fluid and permeable boundaries between spoken words and the lives of ordinary village women.   [brief]
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7. cover
Title: Divine passions: the social construction of emotion in India online access is available to everyone
Author: Lynch, Owen M 1931-
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: Anthropology | South Asia | History
Publisher's Description: Naked holy men denying sexuality and feeling; elderly people basking in the warmth and security provided by devoted and attentive family members; fastidious priests concerned solely with rules of purity and minutiae of ritual practice; puritanical moralists concealing women and sexuality behind purdah's veils - these are familiar Western stereotypes of India. The essays in Divine Passions , however, paint other, more colorful and emotionally alive pictures of India: ecstatic religious devotees rolling in temple dust; gray-haired elders worrying about neglect and mistreatment by family members; priests pursuing a lusty, carefree ideal of the good life; and jokers reviling one another with bawdy, sexual insults at marriages.Drawing on rich ethnographic data from emotion-charged scenarios, these essays question Western academic theories of emotion, particularly those that reduce emotions to physiological sensations or to an individual's private feelings. Presenting an alternative view of emotions as culturally constructed and morally evaluative concepts grounded in the bodily self, the contributors to Divine Passions help dispel some of the West's persistent misconceptions of Indian emotional experience. Moreover, the edition as a whole argues for a new and different understanding of India based on field research and an understanding of the devotional (bhakti) tradition.   [brief]
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8. cover
Title: Symbols, computation, and intentionality: a critique of the computational theory of mind online access is available to everyone
Author: Horst, Steven W 1960-
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Philosophy | Social and Political Thought | Psychology
Publisher's Description: The computational theory of mind - the belief that the mind can be likened to a computer and that cognitive states possess the generative and compositional properties of natural languages - has proven enormously influential in recent philosophical studies of cognition. In this carefully argued critique, Steven Horst pronounces the theory deficient. He refutes its claims and assumptions, particularly the assertion that symbolic representations need not have conventional meaning. Horst goes on to sketch a new methodology for looking at the philosophy of psychology, one that provides a more fruitful way of comparing computational psychology with rival views emerging from connectionism and neuroscience. Original and comprehensive, his book is certain to provoke controversy and stimulate debate.   [brief]
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9. cover
Title: Nomad: a year in the life of a Qashqa'i tribesman in Iran
Author: Beck, Lois 1944-
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Anthropology | Cultural Anthropology | Middle Eastern Studies | Middle Eastern History
Publisher's Description: Borzu Qermezi was the headman and political leader of a group of nomadic pastoralists who were part of the Qashqa'i confederacy of southwest Iran. Proud, complex, strong-willed, witty, and cunning, Borzu successfully led his people on their annual migrations for many years. He regulated their travel; mediated conflicts; intervened in (and sometimes exacerbated) tense situations between his people and other nomads; and dealt with the government police agency. Structuring the account around the four seasons, Lois Beck recounts the day-to-day activities of Borzu during the year she spent traveling with his people. She describes the rigors of nomadic life and the consequences of decisions made in haste.During 1970 to 1971, Borzu and his people were faced with many difficulties. When the expected winter rains did not fall, pastures and crops shriveled. Unable to sell their starving livestock for any profit, Borzu's people saw their debts to urban merchants and moneylenders increase. At the same time, Iran exercised more bureaucratic control over the Qashqa'i by applying new policies over migratory schedules and the allocation of scarce pastures, and by introducing non-Qashqa'i agriculturalists and livestock investors as legitimate land users. All these measures threatened the nomad's way of life and eventually undermined the role of headmen such as Borzu. Lois Beck details the vicissitudes endured by Borzu's people and the strategies he devised to cope with them.Blending ethnographic and historical material, this book contains information unavailable for other tribal and nomadic pastoral groups in the Middle East and central Asia. Through Beck's deft analysis, we come to understand why nomadic pastoralism was once an important part of this vast region, and why tribal society has endured.   [brief]
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10. cover
Title: Classicism, politics, and kinship: the Chʿang-chou school of new text Confucianism in late imperial China online access is available to everyone
Author: Elman, Benjamin A 1946-
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: History | China | Philosophy
Publisher's Description: Scholars have generally agreed that the story of New Text Confucianism in late imperial China centers on K'ang Yu-wei and the late nineteenth-century political reforms he took credit for after fleeing China in 1898. In this important new book, Benjamin Elman explores the roots of New Text ideas and shows that Confucians first dissented from the orthodox raison d'etre of the imperial state over three hundred years earlier, during the transition from the late Ming to early Ch'ing dynasties.New Text scholars, although not revolutionary, stood for new forms of belief, and they challenged the authenticity of classical sources upon which much orthodox political discourse had been based. Their notions of historical change proved to be important stepping stones toward an influential New Text vision of social and political transformation that climaxed in the 1898 reform movement.Elman examines the conflicting New Text versus Old Text portraits of Confucius in order to gain a more precise grasp of classical studies in imperial China as the ideological source for the "constitutionality" of the Confucian imperium. Central to his argument is the discovery that kinship organizations in pre-modern China played an important role in fostering schools of learning such as the Ch'ang-chou New Text school. Accordingly, this study affords us a unique perspective on how gentry sought to impose their agenda on the state in an effort to weather the great changes occurring during the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties.   [brief]
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11. cover
Title: Disrupted lives: how people create meaning in a chaotic world
Author: Becker, Gaylene
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: Anthropology | Medicine | Sociology
Publisher's Description: Our lives are full of disruptions, from the minor - a flat tire, an unexpected phone call - to the fateful - a diagnosis of infertility, an illness, the death of a loved one. In the first book to examine disruption in American life from a cultural rather than a psychological perspective, Gay Becker follows hundreds of people to find out what they do after something unexpected occurs. Starting with bodily distress, she shows how individuals recount experiences of disruption metaphorically, drawing on important cultural themes to help them reestablish order and continuity in their lives. Through vivid and poignant stories of people from different walks of life who experience different types of disruptions, Becker examines how people rework their ideas about themselves and their worlds, from the meaning of disruption to the meaning of life itself.Becker maintains that to understand disruption, we must also understand cultural definitions of normalcy. She questions what is normal for a family, for health, for womanhood and manhood, and for growing older. In the United States, where life is expected to be orderly and predictable, disruptions are particularly unsettling, she contends. And, while continuity in life is an illusion, it is an effective one because it organizes people's plans and expectations.Becker's phenomenological approach yields a rich, compelling, and entirely original narrative. Disrupted Lives acknowledges the central place of discontinuity in our existence at the same time as it breaks new ground in understanding the cultural dynamics that underpin life in the United States. FROM THE BOOK :"The doctor was blunt. He does not mince words. He did a [semen] analysis and he came back and said, 'This is devastatingly poor.' I didn't expect to hear that. It had never occurred to me. It was such a shock to my sense of self and to all these preconceptions of my manliness and virility and all of that. That was a very, very devastating moment and I was dumbfounded. . . . In that moment it totally changed the way that I thought of myself."   [brief]
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12. cover
Title: The ones that are wanted: communication and the politics of representation in a photographic exhibition
Author: Kratz, Corinne Ann 1953-
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: Anthropology | Cultural Anthropology | African Studies | Photography | Art Theory
Publisher's Description: The Okiek people of Kenya's forested highlands have a long history of hunting, honey gathering, and trading with their Maasai and Kipsigis neighbors; several decades ago, they also began farming and herding. This book follows a traveling exhibition of anthropologist Corinne Kratz's photographs of the Okiek through showings at seven venues, including the National Museum in Nairobi and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Kratz tells the story of the exhibition--the stereotypes it sought to challenge, how commentaries by Okiek people were incorporated, and different ways that viewers in Kenya and the United States understood it. In addition to presenting wonderful images of a little-known people, this inviting book explores the exhibition medium itself, focusing on the complexities and possibilities of cultural representation. Walking a fine line between the photographic intimacy of a family album and the ethnographic distance of documentary photography, The Ones That Are Wanted reproduces the exhibition in full, with its vibrant color photographs, multilingual captions, and lively commentary. Throughout, Kratz incorporates insightful reflections on her changing involvement with the exhibition as anthropologist, photographer, and curator, and she provides perceptive discussions of such topics as photography in Kenya, stereotypes, and the post-1970s proliferation of the politics of representation.   [brief]
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13. cover
Title: The origins of indigenism: human rights and the politics of identity
Author: Niezen, Ronald
Published: University of California Press,  2003
Subjects: Anthropology | Ethnic Studies | International Relations | Social Problems
Publisher's Description: "International indigenism" may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it is indeed a global phenomenon and a growing form of activism. In his fluent and accessible narrative, Ronald Niezen examines the ways the relatively recent emergence of an internationally recognized identity - "indigenous peoples" - intersects with another relatively recent international movement - the development of universal human rights laws and principles. This movement makes use of human rights instruments and the international organizations of states to resist the political, cultural, and economic incursions of individual states. The concept "indigenous peoples" gained currency in the social reform efforts of the International Labor Organization in the 1950s, was taken up by indigenous nongovernmental organizations, and is now fully integrated into human rights initiatives and international organizations. Those who today call themselves indigenous peoples share significant similarities in their colonial and postcolonial experiences, such as loss of land and subsistence, abrogation of treaties, and the imposition of psychologically and socially destructive assimilation policies. Niezen shows how, from a new position of legitimacy and influence, they are striving for greater recognition of collective rights, in particular their rights to self-determination in international law. These efforts are influencing local politics in turn and encouraging more ambitious goals of autonomy in indigenous communities worldwide.   [brief]
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14. cover
Title: Passions of the cut sleeve: the male homosexual tradition in China
Author: Hinsch, Bret
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: History | Asian History | China | GayLesbian and Bisexual Studies
Publisher's Description: The first detailed treatment of the Chinese homosexual tradition in any Western language, Passions of the Cut Sleeve shatters preconceptions and stereotypes. Gone is the image of the sternly puritanical Confucian as sole representative of Chinese sexual practices - and with it the justification for the modern Chinese insistence that homosexuality is a recent import from the decadent West. Rediscovering the male homosexual tradition in China provides a startling new perspective on Chinese society and adds richly to our understanding of homosexuality.Bret Hinsch's reconstruction of the Chinese homosexual past reveals unexpected scenes. An emperor on his deathbed turns over the seals of the empire to a male beloved; two men marry each other with elaborate wedding rituals; parents sell their son into prostitution. The tradition portrays men from all levels of society - emperors, transvestite actors, rapists, elegant scholars, licentious monks, and even the nameless poor.Drawing from dynastic histories, erotic novels, popular Buddhist tracts, love poetry, legal cases, and joke books, Passions of the Cut Sleeve evokes the complex and fascinating male homosexual tradition in China from the Bronze Age until its decline in recent times.   [brief]
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15. cover
Title: Shaping history: ordinary people in European politics, 1500-1700 online access is available to everyone
Author: Te Brake, Wayne Ph
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: History | European History | European Studies | Politics
Publisher's Description: As long as there have been governments, ordinary people have been acting in a variety of often informal or extralegal ways to influence the rulers who claimed authority over them. Shaping History shows how ordinary people broke down the institutional and cultural barriers that separated elite from popular politics in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and entered fully into the historical process of European state formation. Wayne te Brake's outstanding synthesis builds on the many studies of popular political action in specific settings and conflicts, locating the interaction of rulers and subjects more generally within the multiple political spaces of composite states. In these states, says Te Brake, a broad range of political subjects, often religiously divided among themselves, necessarily aligned themselves with alternative claimants to cultural and political sovereignty in challenging the cultural and fiscal demands of some rulers. This often violent interaction between subjects and rulers had particularly potent consequences during the course of the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, and the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. But, as Te Brake makes clear, it was an ongoing political process, not a series of separate cataclysmic events. Offering a compelling alternative to traditionally elite-centered accounts of territorial state formation in Europe, this book calls attention to the variety of ways ordinary people have molded and shaped their own political histories.   [brief]
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16. cover
Title: To weave and sing: art, symbol, and narrative in the South American rainforest
Author: Guss, David M
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: Anthropology | Cultural Anthropology | Art | Latin American Studies
Publisher's Description: To Weave and Sing is the first in-depth analysis of the rich spiritual and artistic traditions of the Carib-speaking Yekuana Indians of Venezuela, who live in the dense rain forest of the upper Orinoco. Within their homeland of Ihuruna, the Yekuana have succeeded in maintaining the integrity and unity of their culture, resisting the devastating effects of acculturation that have befallen so many neighboring groups. Yet their success must be attributed to more than natural barriers of rapids and waterfalls, to more than lack of "contact" with our "modern" world. The ethnographic history recounted here includes not only the Spanish discovery of the Yekuana but detailed indigenous accounts of the entire history of Yekuana contact with Western culture, revealing an adaptive technique of mythopoesis by which the symbols of a new and hostile European ideology have been consistently defused through their incorporation into traditional indigenous structures.The author's initial point of departure is the Watunna , the Yekuana creation epic, but he finds his principal entrance into this mythic world through basketry, focusing on the eleborate kinetic designs of the round waja baskets and the stories told about them. Guss argues that the problem of understanding Yekuana basketry is the problem of understanding all traditional art forms within a tribal context, and critiques the cultural assumptions inherent in our systems of classification. He demonstrates that the symbols woven into the baskets function not in isolation but collectively, as a powerful system cutting across the entire culture. To Weave and Sing addresses all Yekuana material culture and the greater reality it both incorporates and masks, discerning a unifying configuration of symbols in chapters on architectural forms, the geography of the body, and the use of herbs, face paints, and chants. A narrow view of slash-and-burn gardens as places of mere subsistence is challenged by Guss's portrait of these exclusively female spaces as systematic inversions of the male world, "the sacred turned on its head." Throughout, a wealth of narrative and ritual materials provides us with the closest approximation we have to a native exegesis of these phenomena. What we are offered here is a new Poetics of Culture, ethnography not as a static given but as a series of shifting fields, wherein culture (and our image of it) is constantly recreated in all of its parts, by all of its members.   [brief]
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17. cover
Title: Evolution's rainbow: diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature and people
Author: Roughgarden, Joan
Published: University of California Press,  2004
Subjects: Gender Studies | EcologyEvolutionEnvironment | Anthropology | Evolution | Health Care | Social Problems | GayLesbian and Bisexual Studies | Social Problems
Publisher's Description: In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, Joan Roughgarden challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Roughgarden takes on the medical establishment, the Bible, social science - and even Darwin himself. She leads the reader through a fascinating discussion of diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. Evolution's Rainbow explains how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior. Roughgarden reconstructs primary science in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism and redefines our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. Witty, playful, and daring, this book will revolutionize our understanding of sexuality. Roughgarden argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are false and suggests a new theory that emphasizes social inclusion and control of access to resources and mating opportunity. She disputes a range of scientific and medical concepts, including Wilson's genetic determinism of behavior, evolutionary psychology, the existence of a gay gene, the role of parenting in determining gender identity, and Dawkins's "selfish gene" as the driver of natural selection. She dares social science to respect the agency and rationality of diverse people; shows that many cultures across the world and throughout history accommodate people we label today as lesbian, gay, and transgendered; and calls on the Christian religion to acknowledge the Bible's many passages endorsing diversity in gender and sexuality. Evolution's Rainbow concludes with bold recommendations for improving education in biology, psychology, and medicine; for democratizing genetic engineering and medical practice; and for building a public monument to affirm diversity as one of our nation's defining principles.   [brief]
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18. cover
Title: Forget colonialism?: sacrifice and the art of memory in Madagascar
Author: Cole, Jennifer 1966-
Published: University of California Press,  2001
Subjects: Anthropology | African Studies | Geography | African History | Cultural Anthropology | Postcolonial Studies
Publisher's Description: While doing fieldwork in a village in east Madagascar that had suffered both heavy settler colonialism and a bloody anticolonial rebellion, Jennifer Cole found herself confronted by a puzzle. People in the area had lived through almost a century of intrusive French colonial rule, but they appeared to have forgotten the colonial period in their daily lives. Then, during democratic elections in 1992-93, the terrifying memories came flooding back. Cole asks, How do once-colonized peoples remember the colonial period? Drawing on a fine-grained ethnography of the social practices of remembering and forgetting in one community, she develops a practice-based approach to social memory.   [brief]
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19. cover
Title: Families of the forest: the Matsigenka Indians of the Peruvian Amazon
Author: Johnson, Allen W
Published: University of California Press,  2003
Subjects: Anthropology | Ecology | Latin American Studies
Publisher's Description: The idea of a family level society, discussed and disputed by anthropologists for nearly half a century, assumes moving, breathing form in Families of the Forest. According to Allen Johnson's deft ethnography, the Matsigenka people of southeastern Peru cannot be understood or appreciated except as a family level society; the family level of sociocultural integration is for them a lived reality. Under ordinary circumstances, the largest social units are individual households or small extended-family hamlets. In the absence of such "tribal" features as villages, territorial defense and warfare, local or regional leaders, and public ceremonials, these people put a premium on economic self-reliance, control of aggression within intimate family settings, and freedom to believe and act in their own perceived self-interest. Johnson shows how the Matsigenka, whose home is the Amazon rainforest, are able to meet virtually all their material needs with the skills and labor available to the individual household. They try to raise their children to be independent and self-reliant, yet in control of their emotional, impulsive natures, so that they can get along in intimate, cooperative living groups. Their belief that self-centered impulsiveness is dangerous and self-control is fulfilling anchors their moral framework, which is expressed in abundant stories and myths. Although, as Johnson points out, such people are often described in negative terms as lacking in features of social and cultural complexity, he finds their small-community lifestyle efficient, rewarding, and very well adapted to their environment.   [brief]
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20. cover
Title: Passions of the tongue: language devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970 online access is available to everyone
Author: Ramaswamy, Sumathi
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Asian Studies | History | South Asia | Language and Linguistics | Asian History | Asian Literature
Publisher's Description: Why would love for their language lead several men in southern India to burn themselves alive in its name? Passions of the Tongue analyzes the discourses of love, labor, and life that transformed Tamil into an object of such passionate attachment, producing in the process one of modern India's most intense movements for linguistic revival and separatism. Sumathi Ramaswamy suggests that these discourses cannot be contained within a singular metanarrative of linguistic nationalism and instead proposes a new analytic, "language devotion." She uses this concept to track the many ways in which Tamil was imagined by its speakers and connects these multiple imaginings to their experience of colonial and post-colonial modernity. Focusing in particular on the transformation of the language into a goddess, mother, and maiden, Ramaswamy explores the pious, filial, and erotic aspects of Tamil devotion. She considers why, as its speakers sought political and social empowerment, metaphors of motherhood eventually came to dominate representations of the language.   [brief]
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