By Area: Latin America
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A Living Past
Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America
Soluri, J., Leal, C., & Pádua, J. A. (eds)
Though still a relatively young field, the study of Latin American environmental history is blossoming, as the contributions to this definitive volume demonstrate. Bringing together thirteen leading experts on the region, A Living Past synthesizes a wide range of scholarship to offer new perspectives on environmental change in Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean since the nineteenth century. Each chapter provides insightful, up-to-date syntheses of current scholarship on critical countries and ecosystems (including Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean, the tropical Andes, and tropical forests) and such cross-cutting themes as agriculture, conservation, mining, ranching, science, and urbanization. Together, these studies provide valuable historical contexts for making sense of contemporary environmental challenges facing the region.
Island Historical Ecology
Socionatural Landscapes of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean
Siegel, P. (ed)
In the first book-length treatise on historical ecology of the West Indies, Island Historical Ecology addresses Caribbean island ecologies from the perspective of social and cultural interventions over approximately eight millennia of human occupations. Environmental coring carried out in carefully selected wetlands allowed for the reconstruction of pre-colonial and colonial landscapes on islands between Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Comparisons with well-documented patterns in the Mediterranean and Pacific islands place this case study into a larger context of island historical ecology.
Barter and Social Regeneration in the Argentinean Andes
Despite the pervasiveness of barter across societies, this mode of transaction has largely escaped the anthropologist’s gaze. Drawing on data from fairs in the Argentinean Andes, this book explores fairs’ embeddedness within religious celebration, arguing that barter is addressed as a sacrifice to catholic figures and local ancestors, and thus challenging a widespread view of barter as a non-monetary form of commodity exchange. Issues of value, identity, and exchange are considered, furthering our understanding of how social groups create themselves through material circulation.
Subjects: General Anthropology Political Economy
Edges, Fringes, Frontiers
Integral Ecology, Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability in Guyana
Henfrey, T. B.
Based on an ethnographic account of subsistence use of Amazonian forests by Wapishana people in Guyana, Edges, Frontiers, Fringes examines the social, cultural and behavioral bases for sustainability and resilience in indigenous resource use. Developing an original framework for holistic analysis, it demonstrates that flexible interplay among multiple modes of environmental understanding and decision-making allows the Wapishana to navigate social-ecological complexity successfully in ways that reconcile short-term material needs with long-term maintenance and enhancement of the resource base.
Subjects: General Anthropology Environmental Studies
Landscapes of Migration, Violence and the State
Drawing from ethnographic material based on long-term research, this volume considers competing forms of power at micro- and macro-levels in Guyana, where the local is marked by extensive migration, corruption, and differing levels of violence. It shows how the local is occupied and re-occupied by various powerful and powerless people and entities (“big ones” and “small ones”), and how it becomes the site of intense power negotiations in relation to external ideas of empowerment.
Non-Humans in Amerindian South America
Ethnographies of Indigenous Cosmologies, Rituals and Songs
Rivera Andía, J. J. (ed)
Drawing on fieldwork from diverse Amerindian societies whose lives and worlds are undergoing processes of transformation, adaptation, and deterioration, this volume offers new insights into the indigenous constitutions of humanity, personhood, and environment characteristic of the South American highlands and lowlands. The resulting ethnographies – depicting non-human entities emerging in ritual, oral tradition, cosmology, shamanism and music – explore the conditions and effects of unequally ranked life forms, increased extraction of resources, continuous migration to urban centers, and the (usually) forced incorporation of current expressions of modernity into indigenous societies.
Subjects: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies
The Man Who ''Invented'' The Aztec Crystal Skulls
The Adventures of Eugène Boban
MacLaren Walsh, J. & Topping, B.
Eugène Boban began life in humble circumstances in Paris, traveled to the California Gold Rush, and later became a recognized authority on pre-Columbian cultures. He also invented an entire category of archaeological artifact: the Aztec crystal skull. By his own admission, he successfully “palmed off” a number of these crystal skulls on the curators of Europe’s leading museums. How could that happen, and who was this man? Detailed are the travels, self-education, and archaeological explorations of Eugène Boban; this book also explores the circumstances that allowed him to sell fakes to museums that would remain undetected for over a century.
Subjects: Museum Studies Archaeology
Conflict, Domination, and Violence
Episodes in Mexican Social History
Conflict, domination, violence—in this wide-ranging, briskly narrated volume from acclaimed Mexican historian Carlos Illades, these three phenomena register the pulse of a diverse, but inequitable and discriminatory, social order. Drawing on rich and varied historical sources, Illades guides the reader through seven signal episodes in Mexican social history, from rebellions under Porfirio Díaz’s dictatorship to the cycles of violence that have plagued the country’s deep south to the recent emergence of neo-anarchist movements. Taken together, they comprise a mosaic history of power and resistance, with artisans, rural communities, revolutionaries, students, and ordinary people confronting the forces of domination and transforming Mexican society.
Laborers and Enslaved Workers
Experiences in Common in the Making of Rio de Janeiro's Working Class, 1850-1920
Badaró Mattos, M.
From the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1888 abolition of slavery in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro was home to the largest urban population of enslaved workers anywhere in the Americas. It was also the site of an incipient working-class consciousness that expressed itself across seemingly distinct social categories. In this volume, Marcelo Badaró Mattos demonstrates that these two historical phenomena cannot be understood in isolation. Drawing on a wide range of historical sources, Badaró Mattos reveals the diverse labor arrangements and associative life of Rio’s working class, from which emerged the many strategies that workers both free and unfree pursued in their struggles against oppression.
Power in Practice
The Pragmatic Anthropology of Afro-Brazilian Capoeira
González Varela, S.
Considering the concept of power in capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian ritual art form, Varela describes ethnographically the importance that capoeira leaders (mestres) have in the social configuration of a style called Angola in Bahia, Brazil. He analyzes how individual power is essential for an understanding of the modern history of capoeira, and for the themes of embodiment, play, cosmology, and ritual action. The book also emphasizes the great significance that creativity and aesthetic expression have for capoeira’s practice and performance.
Subjects: General Anthropology Performance Studies
Indigeneity and the Sacred
Indigenous Revival and the Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Americas
Sarmiento, F. & Hitchner, S. (eds)
This book presents current research in the political ecology of indigenous revival and its role in nature conservation in critical areas in the Americas. An important contribution to evolving studies on conservation of sacred natural sites (SNS), the book elucidates the complexity of development scenarios within cultural landscapes related to the appropriation of religion, environmental change in indigenous territories, and new conservation management approaches. Indigeneity and the Sacred explores how these struggles for land, rights, and political power are embedded within physical landscapes, and how indigenous identity is reconstituted as globalizing forces simultaneously threaten and promote the notion of indigeneity.
Transborder Media Spaces
Ayuujk Videomaking between Mexico and the US
Transborder Media Spaces offers a new perspective on how media forms like photography, video, radio, television, and the Internet have been appropriated by Mexican indigenous people in the light of transnational migration and ethnopolitical movements. In producing and consuming self-determined media genres, actors in Tamazulapam Mixe and its diaspora community in Los Angeles open up media spaces and seek to forge more equal relations both within Mexico and beyond its borders. It is within these spaces that Ayuujk people carve out their own, at times conflicting, visions of development, modernity, gender, and what it means to be indigenous in the twenty-first century.
Subjects: Media Studies General Anthropology
A Goddess in Motion
Visual Creativity in the Cult of María Lionza
The current practice of the cult of María Lionza is one of the most important and yet unexplored religious practices in Venezuela. Based on long-term fieldwork, this book explores the role of images and visual culture within the cult. By adopting a relational approach, A Goddess in Motion shows how the innumerable images of this goddess—represented as an Indian, white or mestizo woman—move constantly from objects to bodies, from bodies to dreams, and from the religion domain to the art world. In short, this book is a fascinating study that sheds light on the role of visual creativity in contemporary religious manifestations.
House of the Waterlily
A Novel of the Ancient Maya World
Set in the Maya civilization’s Late Classic Period House of the Waterlily is a historical novel centered on Lady Winik, a young Maya royal. Through tribulations that mirror the political calamities of the Late Classic world, Winik’s personal story immerses the reader not only in her daily life, but also in the difficult decisions Maya men and women must have faced as they tried to navigate a rapidly changing world. Kelli Carmean’s novel brings to life a people and an era remote from our own, yet recognizably human all the same.
Legacies of Militarization and Militarism in a Rural Guatemalan Town
Although the Guatemalan Civil War ended more than two decades ago, its bloody legacy continues to resonate even today. In Silenced Communities, author Marcia Esparza offers an ethnographic account of the failed demilitarization of the rural militia in the town of Santo Tomás Chichicastenango following the conflict. Combining insights from postcolonialism, subaltern studies, and theories of internal colonialism, Esparza explores the remarkable resilience of ideologies and practices engendered in the context of the Cold War, demonstrating how the lingering effects of grassroots militarization affect indigenous communities that continue to struggle with inequality and marginalization.
Subjects: Peace & Conflict Studies Postwar History
The Ritual Everyday on a Dammed River in Amazonia
In Brazil, where forest meets savanna, new towns, agribusiness and hydroelectricity plants form a patchwork with the indigenous territories. Here, agricultural work, fishing, songs, feasts and exchanges occupy the Enawenê-nawê for eight months of each year, during a season called Yankwa. Vital Diplomacy focuses on this major ceremonial cycle to shed new light on classic Amazonian themes such as kinship, gender, manioc cultivation and cuisine, relations with non-humans and foreigners, and the interplay of myth and practice, exploring how ritual contains and diverts the threat of violence by reconciling antagonistic spirits, coordinating social and gender divides, and channelling foreign relations and resources.
Subjects: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies
Ownership and Nurture
Studies in Native Amazonian Property Relations
Brightman, M., Fausto, C. & Grotti, V. (eds)
The first book to address the classic anthropological theme of property through the ethnography of Amazonia, Ownership and Nurture sets new and challenging terms for anthropological debates about the region and about property in general. Property and ownership have special significance and carry specific meanings in Amazonia, which has been portrayed as the antithesis of Western, property-based, civilization. Through carefully constructed studies of land ownership, slavery, shamanism, spirit mastery, aesthetics, and intellectual property, this volume demonstrates that property relations are of central importance in Amazonia, and that the ownership of persons plays an especially significant role in native cosmology.
Subject: General Anthropology
Tourism and Informal Encounters in Cuba
Based on a detailed ethnography, this book explores the promises and expectations of tourism in Cuba, drawing attention to the challenges that tourists and local people face in establishing meaningful connections with each other. Notions of informal encounter and relational idiom illuminate ambiguous experiences of tourism harassment, economic transactions, hospitality, friendship, and festive and sexual relationships. Comparing these various connections, the author shows the potential of touristic encounters to redefine their moral foundations, power dynamics, and implications, offering new insights into how contemporary relationships across difference and inequality are imagined and understood.
Subjects: General Anthropology Travel & Tourism
In Search of Legitimacy
How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition
Griffith, L. M.
Every year, countless young adults from affluent, Western nations travel to Brazil to train in capoeira, the dance/martial art form that is one of the most visible strands of the Afro-Brazilian cultural tradition. In Search of Legitimacy explores why “first world” men and women leave behind their jobs, families, and friends to pursue a strenuous training regimen in a historically disparaged and marginalized practice. Using the concept of apprenticeship pilgrimage—studying with a local master at a historical point of origin—the author examines how non-Brazilian capoeiristas learn their art and claim legitimacy while navigating the complexities of wealth disparity, racial discrimination, and cultural appropriation.
Subjects: Performance Studies General Anthropology
Stars and Stardom in Brazilian Cinema
Bergfelder, T., Shaw, L. & Viera, J. L. (eds)
Despite the recent explosion of scholarly interest in “star studies,” Brazilian film has received comparatively little attention. As this volume demonstrates, however, the richness of Brazilian stardom extends well beyond the ubiquitous Carmen Miranda. Among the studies assembled here are fascinating explorations of figures such as Eliane Lage (the star attraction of São Paulo’s Vera Cruz studios), cult horror movie auteur Coffin Joe, and Lázaro Ramos, the most visible Afro-Brazilian actor today. At the same time, contributors interrogate the inner workings of the star system in Brazil, from the pioneering efforts of silent-era actresses to the recent advent of the non-professional movie star.
Subjects: Film Studies Media Studies
The Imbalance of Power
Leadership, Masculinity and Wealth in the Amazon
Amerindian societies have an iconic status in classical political thought. For Montaigne, Hobbes, Locke, Hume and Rousseau, the native American ‘state of nature’ operates as a foil for the European polity. Challenging this tradition, The Imbalance of Power demonstrates ethnographically that the Carib speaking indigenous societies of the Guiana region of Amazonia do not fit conventional characterizations of ‘simple’ political units with ‘egalitarian’ political ideologies and ‘harmonious’ relationships with nature. Marc Brightman builds a persuasive and original theory of Amerindian politics: far from balanced and egalitarian, Carib societies are rife with tension and difference; but this imbalance conditions social dynamism and a distinctive mode of cohesion. The Imbalance of Power is based on the author’s fieldwork in partnership with Vanessa Grotti, who is working on a companion volume entitled Living with the Enemy: First Contacts and the Making of Christian Bodies in Amazonia.
Subject: General Anthropology
Housing and Belonging in Latin America
Klaufus, C. & Ouweneel, A. (eds)
The intricacies of living in contemporary Latin American cities include cases of both empowerment and restriction. In Lima, residents built their own homes and formed community organizations, while in Rio de Janeiro inhabitants of the favelas needed to be “pacified” in anticipation of international sporting events. Aspirations to “get ahead in life” abound in the region, but so do multiple limitations to realizing the dream of upward mobility. This volume captures the paradoxical histories and experiences of urban life in Latin America, offering new empirical and theoretical insights to scholars.
Subjects: Urban Studies Sociology
The Living Ancestors
Shamanism, Cosmos and Cultural Change among the Yanomami of the Upper Orinoco
This phenomenologically oriented ethnography focuses on experiential aspects of Yanomami shamanism, including shamanistic activities in the context of cultural change. The author interweaves ethnographic material with theoretical components of a holographic principle, or the idea that the “part is equal to the whole,” which is embedded in the nature of the Yanomami macrocosm, human dwelling, multiple-soul components, and shamans’ relationships with embodied spirit-helpers. This book fills an important gap in the regional study of Yanomami people, and, on a broader scale, enriches understanding of this ancient phenomenon by focusing on the consciousness involved in shamanism through firsthand experiential involvement.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion
Dignity for the Voiceless
Willem Assies's Anthropological Work in Context
Salman, T., Marti i Puig, S., & Haar, G. van der (eds)
Willem Assies died in 2010 at the age of 55. The various stages of his career as a political anthropologist of Latin American illustrate how astute a researcher he was. He had a keen eye for the contradictions he observed during his fieldwork but also enjoyed theoretical debate. A distrust of power led him not only to attempt to understand “people without voice” but to work alongside them so they could discover and find their own voice. Willem Assies explored the messy, often untidy daily lives of people, with their inconsistencies, irrationalities, and passions, but also with their hopes, sense of beauty, solidarity, and quest for dignity. This collection brings together some of Willem Assies’s best, most fascinating, and still highly relevant writings.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies
Public Policies and Citizen Participation in Chile
Since the end of the Pinochet regime, Chilean public policy has sought to rebuild democratic governance in the country. This book examines the links between the state and civil society in Chile and the ways social policies have sought to ensure the inclusion of the poor in society and democracy. Although Chile has gained political stability and grown economically, the ability of social policies to expand democratic governance and participation has proved limited, and in fact such policies have become subordinate to an elitist model of democracy and resulted in a restrictive form of citizen participation.
Slavery and Antislavery in Spain's Atlantic Empire
Fradera, J. M. & Schmidt-Nowara†, C. (eds)
African slavery was pervasive in Spain’s Atlantic empire yet remained in the margins of the imperial economy until the end of the eighteenth century when the plantation revolution in the Caribbean colonies put the slave traffic and the plantation at the center of colonial exploitation and conflict. The international group of scholars brought together in this volume explain Spain’s role as a colonial pioneer in the Atlantic world and its latecomer status as a slave-trading, plantation-based empire. These contributors map the broad contours and transformations of slave-trafficking, the plantation, and antislavery in the Hispanic Atlantic while also delving into specific topics that include: the institutional and economic foundations of colonial slavery; the law and religion; the influences of the Haitian Revolution and British abolitionism; antislavery and proslavery movements in Spain; race and citizenship; and the business of the illegal slave trade.
Subjects: Colonialism General History
Central America in the New Millennium
Living Transition and Reimagining Democracy
Burrell, J. L. & Moodie, E. (eds)
Most non-Central Americans think of the narrow neck between Mexico and Colombia in terms of dramatic past revolutions and lauded peace agreements, or sensational problems of gang violence and natural disasters. In this volume, the contributors examine regional circumstances within frames of democratization and neoliberalism, as they shape lived experiences of transition. The authors—anthropologists and social scientists from the United States, Europe, and Central America—argue that the process of regions and nations “disappearing” (being erased from geopolitical notice) is integral to upholding a new, post-Cold War world order—and that a new framework for examining political processes must be accessible, socially collaborative, and in dialogue with the lived processes of suffering and struggle engaged by people in Central America and the world in the name of democracy.
Subject: General Anthropology
Alexander von Humboldt in World Literature
Clark, R. & Lubrich, O. (eds)
Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was a world traveler, bestselling writer, and versatile researcher, a European salon sensation, and global celebrity. Yet the enormous literary echo he generated has remained largely unexplored. Humboldt inspired generations of authors, from Goethe and Byron to Enzensberger and García Márquez, to reflect on cultural difference, colonial ideology, and the relation between aesthetics and science. This collection of one-hundred texts features tales of adventure, travel reports, novellas, memoirs, letters, poetry, drama, screenplays, and even comics—many for the first time in English. The selection covers the foundational myths and magical realism of Latin America, the intellectual independence of Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, and Whitman in the United States, discourses in Imperial, Weimar, Nazi, East, and West Germany, as well as recent films and fiction. This documented source book addresses scholars in cultural and postcolonial studies as well as readers in history and comparative literature.
Subjects: General History General Cultural Studies
Cosmos and Colonialism
Alexander von Humboldt in Cultural Criticism
Clark, R. & Lubrich, O. (eds)
Alexander von Humboldt explored the Spanish Empire on the verge of its collapse (1799–1804). He is the most significant German travel writer and the most important mediator between Europe and the Americas of the nineteenth century. His works integrated knowledge from two dozen domains. Today, he is at the center of debates on imperial discourse, postcolonialism, and globalization. This collection of fifty essays brings together a range of responses, many presented here for the first time in English. Authors from Schiller, Chateaubriand, Sarmiento, and Nietzsche, to Robert Musil, Kurt Tucholsky, Ernst Bloch, and Alejo Carpentier paint the historical background. Essays by contemporary travel writers and recent critics outline the current controversies on Humboldt. The source materials collected here will be indispensable to scholars of German, French, and Latin and North American literature as well as cultural and postcolonial studies, history, art history, and the history of science.
Subjects: General History General Cultural Studies
Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in the YucatÁn
Ayora-Diaz, S. I.
The state of Yucatán has its own distinct culinary tradition, and local people are constantly thinking and talking about food. They use it as a vehicle for social relations but also to distinguish themselves from “Mexicans.” This book examines the politics surrounding regional cuisine, as the author argues that Yucatecan gastronomy has been created and promoted in an effort to affirm the identity of a regional people and to oppose the hegemonic force of central Mexican cultural icons and forms. In particular, Yucatecan gastronomy counters the homogenizing drive of a national cuisine based on dominant central Mexican appetencies and defies the image of Mexican national cuisine as rooted in indigenous traditions. Drawing on post-structural and postcolonial theory, the author proposes that Yucatecan gastronomy - having successfully gained a reputation as distinct and distant from ‘Mexican’ cuisine - is a bifurcation from regional culinary practices. However, the author warns, this leads to a double, paradoxical situation that divides the nation: while a national cuisine attempts to silence regional cultural diversity, the fissures in the project of a homogeneous regional identity are revealed.
Subjects: Food & Nutrition General Anthropology
Housing and Social Transformations in Globalizing Ecuador
Riobamba and Cuenca, two intermediate cities in Ecuador, have become part of global networks through transnational migration, incoming remittances, tourism, and global economic connections. Their landscape is changing in several significant ways, a reflection of the social and urban transformations occurring in contemporary Ecuadorian society. Exploring the discourses and actions of two contrasting population groups, rarely studied in tandem, within these cities—popular-settlement residents and professionals in the planning and construction sector—this study analyzes how each is involved in house designs and neighborhood consolidation. Ideas, ambitions, and power relations come into play at every stage of the production and use of urban space, and as a result individual decisions about both house designs and the urban layout influence the development of the urban fabric. Knowledge about intermediate cities is crucial in order to understand current trends in the predominantly urban societies of Latin America, and this study is an example of needed interdisciplinary scholarship that contributes to the fields of urban studies, urban anthropology, sociology, and architecture.
Subjects: Urban Studies Applied Anthropology Sociology
Animism in Rainforest and Tundra
Personhood, Animals, Plants and Things in Contemporary Amazonia and Siberia
Brightman, M., Grotti, V. E., & Ulturgasheva, O. (eds)
Amazonia and Siberia, classic regions of shamanism, have long challenged ‘western’ understandings of man’s place in the world. By exploring the social relations between humans and non-human entities credited with human-like personhood (not only animals and plants, but also ‘things’ such as artifacts, trade items, or mineral resources) from a comparative perspective, this volume offers valuable insights into the constitutions of humanity and personhood characteristic of the two areas. The contributors conducted their ethnographic fieldwork among peoples undergoing transformative processes of their lived environments, such as the depletion of natural resources and migration to urban centers. They describe here fundamental relational modes that are being tested in the face of change, presenting groundbreaking research on personhood and agency in shamanic societies and contributing to our global understanding of social and cultural change and continuity.
Environment and Citizenship in Latin America
Natures, Subjects and Struggles
Latta, A. & Wittman, H. (eds)
Scholarship related to environmental questions in Latin America has only recently begun to coalesce around citizenship as both an empirical site of inquiry and an analytical frame of reference. This has led to a series of new insights and perspectives, but few efforts have been made to bring these various approaches into a sustained conversation across different social, temporal and geographic contexts. This volume is the result of a collaborative endeavour to advance debates on environmental citizenship, while simultaneously and systematically addressing broader theoretical and methodological questions related to the particularities of studying environment and citizenship in Latin America. Providing a window onto leading scholarship in the field, the book also sets an ambitious agenda to spark further research.
Subjects: Environmental Studies General Anthropology
Playing with Languages
Children and Change in a Caribbean Village
Paugh, A. L.
Over several generations villagers of Dominica have been shifting from Patwa, an Afro-French creole, to English, the official language. Despite government efforts at Patwa revitalization and cultural heritage tourism, rural caregivers and teachers prohibit children from speaking Patwa in their presence. Drawing on detailed ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of video-recorded social interaction in naturalistic home, school, village and urban settings, the study explores this paradox and examines the role of children and their social worlds. It offers much-needed insights into the study of language socialization, language shift and Caribbean children’s agency and social lives, contributing to the burgeoning interdisciplinary study of children’s cultures. Further, it demonstrates the critical role played by children in the transmission and transformation of linguistic practices, which ultimately may determine the fate of a language.
Subjects: General Anthropology Educational Studies
Panamanian Museums and Historical Memory
Sánchez Laws, A. L.
Panama is an ethnically diverse country with a recent history of political conflict which makes the representation of historical memory an especially complex and important task for the country’s museums. This book studies new museum projects in Panama with the aim of identifying the dominant narratives that are being formed as well as those voices that remain absent and muted. Through case analyses of specific museums and exhibitions the author identifies and examines the influences that form and shape museum strategy and development.
Subjects: Museum Studies General History
An Anthropology of Oil
Behrends, A., Reyna, S. P. & Schlee, G. (eds)
Crude Domination is an innovative and important book about a critical topic – oil. While there have been numerous works about petroleum from ‘experience-far’ perspectives, there have been relatively few that have turned the ‘experience-near’ ethnographic gaze of anthropology on the topic. Crude Domination does just this among more peoples and more places than any other volume. Its chapters investigate nuances of culture, politics and economics in Africa, Latin America, and Eurasia as they pertain to petroleum. They wrestle with the key questions vexing scholars and practitioners alike: problems of the economic blight of the resource curse, underdevelopment, democracy, violence and war. Additionally they address topics that may initially appear insignificant – such as child witches and lionmen, fighting for oil when there is no oil, reindeer nomadism, community TV – but which turn out on closer scrutiny to be vital for explaining conflict and transformation in petro-states. Based upon these rich, new worlds of information, the text formulates a novel, domination approach to the social analysis of oil.
Subjects: Peace & Conflict Studies General Anthropology
Memory, Politics, and Nation among Cubans in Spain
Berg, M. L.
Interpretations of the background to the Cuban diaspora – a political revolution and the subsequent radical transformation of the society and economy towards socialism – are politicised and highly contested. The Miami-based Cuban diaspora has had extraordinary success in putting its case high on the US political agenda and in capturing world media attention, but in the process the multiplicity of experiences within the diaspora has been overshadowed. This book gives voice to diasporic Cubans living in Spain, the former colonial ruler of Cuba. By focusing on their lived experiences of displacement, the book brings to light imaginative, narrative re-creations of the nation from afar. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book argues that the Cuban diaspora in Spain consists of three diasporic generations, generated through distinct migratory experiences. This constitutes an important step forward in understanding the dynamics of memory-making and social differentiation within diasporas, and in appreciating why people within the same diaspora engage in different modes of transnational practices and homeland relations.
Who Abolished Slavery?
Slave Revolts and Abolitionism
A Debate with João Pedro Marques
Drescher, S. & Emmer, P. (eds)
The past half-century has produced a mass of information regarding slave resistance, ranging from individual acts of disobedience to massive uprisings. Many of these acts of rebellion have been studied extensively, yet the ultimate goals of the insurgents remain open for discussion. Recently, several historians have suggested that slaves achieved their own freedom by resisting slavery, which counters the predominant argument that abolitionist pressure groups, parliamentarians, and the governmental and anti-governmental armies of the various slaveholding empires were the prime movers behind emancipation. Marques, one of the leading historians of slavery and abolition, argues that, in most cases, it is impossible to establish a direct relation between slaves’ uprisings and the emancipation laws that would be approved in the western countries. Following this presentation, his arguments are taken up by a dozen of the most outstanding historians in this field. In a concluding chapter, Marques responds briefly to their comments and evaluates the degree to which they challenge or enhance his view.
Subject: 18th/19th Century History Colonialism
Latin America Facing China
South-South Relations beyond the Washington Consensus
Fernández Jilberto†, A. E. & Hogenboom, B. (eds)
The last quarter of the twentieth century was a period of economic crises, increasing indebtedness as well as financial instability for Latin America and most other developing countries; in contrast, China showed amazingly high growth rates during this time and has since become the third largest economy in the world. Based on several case studies, this volume assesses how China’s rise – one of the most important recent changes in the global economy – is affecting Latin America’s national politics, political economy and regional and international relations. Several Latin American countries benefit from China’s economic growth, and China’s new role in international politics has been helpful to many leftist governments’ efforts in Latin America to end the Washington Consensus. The contributors to this thought provoking volume examine these and the other causes, effects and prospects of Latin America’s experiences with China’s global expansion from a South - South perspective.
Subject: Postwar History
Mayan Maternal Mortality and Subjectivity in Post-War Guatemala
Since 1987, when the global community first recognized the high frequency of women in developing countries dying from pregnancy-related causes, little progress has been made to combat this problem. This study follows the global policies that have been implemented in Sololá, Guatemala in order to decrease high rates of maternal mortality among indigenous Mayan women. The author examines the diverse meanings and understandings of motherhood, pregnancy, birth and birth-related death among the biomedical personnel, village women, their families, and midwives. These incongruous perspectives, in conjunction with the implementation of such policies, threaten to disenfranchise clients from their own cultural understandings of self. The author investigates how these policies need to meld with the everyday lives of these women, and how the failure to do so will lead to a failure to decrease maternal deaths globally.
Subject: General Anthropology
Rethinking the Informal City
Critical Perspectives from Latin America
Hernández, F., Kellett, P. and Allen, L.K. (Eds.)
Latin American cities have always been characterized by a strong tension between what is vaguely described as their formal and informal dimensions. However, the terms formal and informal refer not only to the physical aspect of cities but also to their entire socio-political fabric. Informal cities and settlements exceed the structures of order, control and homogeneity that one expects to find in a formal city; therefore the contributors to this volume - from such disciplines as architecture, urban planning, anthropology, urban design, cultural and urban studies and sociology - focus on alternative methods of analysis in order to study the phenomenon of urban informality. This book provides a thorough review of the work that is currently being carried out by scholars, practitioners and governmental institutions, in and outside Latin America, on the question of informal cities.
Subject: Urban Studies
A Walk to the River in Amazonia
Ordinary Reality for the Mehinaku Indians
Stang, C. D.
Our lives are mostly composed of ordinary reality — the flow of moment-to-moment existence — and yet it has been largely overlooked as a subject in itself for anthropological study. In this work, the author achieves an understanding of this part of reality for the Mehinaku Indians, an Amazonian people, in two stages: first by observing various aspects of their experience and second by relating how these different facets come to play in a stream of ordinary consciousness, a walk to the river. In this way, abstract schemata such as ‘cosmology,’ ‘sociality,’ ‘gender,’ and the ‘everyday’ are understood as they are actually lived. This book contributes to the ethnography of the Amazon, specifically the Upper Xingu, with an approach that crosses disciplinary boundaries between anthropology, philosophy, and psychology. In doing so it attempts to comprehend what Malinowski called the ‘imponderabilia of actual life.’
Mobility and Migration in Indigenous Amazonia
Contemporary Ethnoecological Perspectives
Alexiades, M. N. (ed)
Contrary to ingrained academic and public assumptions, wherein indigenous lowland South American societies are viewed as the product of historical emplacement and spatial stasis, there is widespread evidence to suggest that migration and displacement have been the norm, and not the exception. This original and thought-provoking collection of case studies examines some of the ways in which migration, and the concomitant processes of ecological and social change, have shaped and continue to shape human-environment relations in Amazonia. Drawing on a wide range of historical time frames (from pre-conquest times to the present) and ethnographic contexts, different chapters examine the complex and important links between migration and the classification, management, and domestication of plants and landscapes, as well as the incorporation and transformation of environmental knowledge, practices, ideologies and identities.
Virtualism, Governance and Practice
Vision and Execution in Environmental Conservation
Carrier, J. C. & West, P. (eds)
Many people investigating the operation of large-scale environmentalist organizations see signs of power, knowledge and governance in their policies and projects. This collection indicates that such an analysis appears to be justified from one perspective, but not from another. The chapters in this collection show that the critics, concerned with the power of these organizations to impose their policies in different parts of the world, appear justified when we look at environmentalist visions and at organizational policies and programs. However, they are much less justified when we look at the practical operation of such organizations and their ability to generate and carry out projects intended to reshape the world.
Young Adult Voices in Mexico City
Based on fieldwork conducted among middle-class university students primarily at the national university (UNAM) in Mexico City, this study explores gender relations as reflected in the words macho and machismo. The author concludes that the students use them to denote aspects of their families of origin that they consider unfavorable and aspects of the cultural past that they wish to leave behind in their own lives. In capturing the lively and revealing conversations of these young voices, the author offers a compelling analysis of how gender concepts and identities are changing in contemporary Mexico City.
Banana Politics and Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean
During the 1990s, the Eastern Caribbean was caught in a bitter trade dispute between the US and EU over the European banana market. When the World Trade Organization rejected preferential access for Caribbean growers in 1998 the effect on the region’s rural communities was devastating. This volume examines the “banana wars” from the vantage point of St. Lucia’s Mabouya Valley, whose recent, turbulent history reveals the impact of global forces. The author investigates how the contemporary structure of the island’s banana industry originated in colonial policies to create a politically “stable” peasantry, followed by politicians’ efforts to mobilize rural voters. These political strategies left farmers dependent on institutional and market protection, leaving them vulnerable to any alteration in trade policy. This history gave way to a new harsh reality, in which neoliberal policies privilege price and quantity over human rights and the environment. However, against these challenges, the author shows how the rural poor have responded in creative ways, including new social movements and Fair Trade farming, in order to negotiate a stronger position for themselves in the in a shifting global economy.
Indigenous Peoples, Civil Society, and the Neo-liberal State in Latin America
Fischer, E. F. (ed)
In recent years the concept and study of “civil society” has received a lot of attention from political scientists, economists, and sociologists, but less so from anthropologists. A ground-breaking ethnographic approach to civil society as it is formed in indigenous communities in Latin America, this volume explores the multiple potentialities of civil society’s growth and critically assesses the potential for sustained change. Much recent literature has focused on the remarkable gains made by civil society and the chapters in this volume reinforce this trend while also showing the complexity of civil society - that civil society can itself sometimes be uncivil. In doing so, these insightful contributions speak not only to Latin American area studies but also to the changing shape of global systems of political economy in general.
Subjects: General Anthropology
An Anthropology of War
Views from the Frontline
Waterston, A. (ed)
As we move deeper into the twenty-first century, power, lethal force, and injustice continue to explode violently into war, and the prospects for lasting peace look even bleaker. The horrors of modern warfare - the death, dehumanization, and destruction of social and material infrastructures - have done little to bring an end to armed conflict.
In this volume, leading chroniclers of war provide thoughtful and powerful essays that reflect on their ethnographic work at the frontlines. The contributors recount not only what they have seen and heard in war zones but also what is being read, studied, analyzed and remembered in such diverse locations as Colombia and Guatemala, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. In detailed reports from the field, they reflect on the important issue of “accountability” and offer explanations to discern causes, patterns, and practices of war. Through this unique lens, the contributors provide the insight and analysis needed for a deeper understanding of one of the greatest issues of our times.
Avram Bornstein, Paul E. Farmer, R. Brian Ferguson, Lesley Gill, Beatriz Manz, Carolyn Nordstrom, Stephen Reyna, Jose N. Vasquez
Strategies of Visualisation in 19th and 20th Century Mexican Culture
There has always been an important visual element to the construction and questioning of national identity in post-Independence Mexico, though one that has not always been given its due, outside of the celebrated and much-studied muralists. Ranging from the early nineteenth century to the present – from the vogue for the picturesque, illustrated periodicals and the influential writings of Altamirano to a wealth of twentieth-century graphic artists, filmmakers and photographers – this book re-examines the complex variety of ways in which that visual element has operated. In particular, it looks at the ways in which discourses concerning ethnicity and cultural hybridity have been echoed and transformed in Mexican visual culture, resulting in fields of visual discourse which are eclectic and increasingly self-reflexive.
Subject: General Cultural Studies
Fetishes and Monuments
Afro-Brazilian Art and Culture in the 20th Century
One 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.
Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas, 1800-1940
Bosma, U., Giusti-Cordero, J, & Knight, G.K. (eds)
Sugar was the single most valuable bulk commodity traded internationally before oil became the world’s prime resource. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, cane sugar production was pre-eminent in the Atlantic Islands, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Subsequently, cane sugar industries in the Americas were transformed by a fusion of new and old forces of production, as the international sugar economy incorporated production areas in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Sugar’s global economic importance and its intimate relationship with colonialism offer an important context for probing the nature of colonial societies. This book questions some major assumptions about the nexus between sugar production and colonial societies in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, especially in the second (post-1800) colonial era.
Berliner, D. & Sarró, R. (eds)
As we enter the 21st century, it becomes increasingly difficult to envisage a world detached from religion or an anthropology blind to its study. Yet, how people become religious is still poorly studied. This volume gathers some of the most distinguished scholars in the field to offer a new perspective for the study of religion, one that examines the works of transmission and innovation through the prism of learning. They argue that religious culture is socially and dynamically constructed by agents who are not mere passive recipients but engaged in active learning processes. Finding a middle way between the social and the cognitive, they see learning religions not as a mechanism of “downloading” but also as a social process with its relational dimension.
Subjects: Religion Theory & Methodology in Anthropology
Anti-americanism in Latin America and the Caribbean
McPherson A. (ed)
Whether rising up from fiery leaders such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro or from angry masses of Brazilian workers and Mexican peasants, anti U.S. sentiment in Latin America and the Caribbean today is arguably stronger than ever. It is also a threat to U.S. leadership in the hemisphere and the world. Where has this resentment come from? Has it arisen naturally from imperialism and globalization, from economic and social frustrations? Has it served opportunistic politicians? Does Latin America have its own style of anti Americanism? What about national variations? How does cultural anti Americanism affect politics, and vice versa? What roles have religion, literature, or cartoons played in whipping up sentiment against ‘el yanqui’? Finally, how has the United States reacted to all this?
This book brings leaders in the field of U.S. Latin American relations together with the most promising young scholars to shed historical light on the present implications of hostility to the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean. In essays that carry the reader from Revolutionary Mexico to Peronist Argentina, from Panama in the nineteenth century to the West Indies’ mid century independence movement, and from Colombian drug runners to liberation theologists, the authors unearth little known campaigns of resistance and probe deeper into episodes we thought we knew well. They argue that, for well over a century, identifying the United States as the enemy has rung true to Latin Americans and has translated into compelling political strategies. Combining history with political and cultural analysis, this collection breaks the mold of traditional diplomatic history by seeing anti Americanism through the eyes of those who expressed it. It makes clear that anti Americanism, far from being a post 9/11 buzzword, is rather a real force that casts a long shadow over U.S. Latin American relations.
Subject: General History
Shaping and Contesting Environmentalism in Rural Costa Rica
Vivanco, L. A.
Since the 1970s and 1980s, Monte Verde, Costa Rica has emerged as one of the most renowned sites of nature conservation and ecotourism in Costa Rica, and some would argue, Latin America. It has received substantial attention in literature and media on tropical conservation, sustainable development, and tourism. Yet most of that analysis has uncritically evaluated the Monte Verde phenomenon, using celebratory language and barely scratching the surface of the many-faceted socio-cultural transformations provoked by and accompanying environmentalism. Because of its stature, Monte Verde represents an ideal case study to examine the socio-cultural and political complexities and dilemmas of practicing environmentalism in rural Costa Rica. Based on many years of close observation, this book offers rich and original material on the ongoing struggles between environmental activists and of collective and oppositional politics to Monte Verde’s new “culture of nature.”
Day of the Dead
When Two Worlds Meet in Oaxaca
Haley, S. & Fukuda, C.
The Day of the Dead is the most important annual celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico. Skillfully combining textual information and photographic imagery, this book begins with a discussion of the people of Oaxaca, their way of life, and their way of looking at the world. It then takes the reader through the celebration from the preparations that can begin months in advance through to the private gatherings in homes and finally to the cemetery where the villagers celebrate together — both the living and the dead. The voices in the book are of those people who have participated in the Day of the Dead for as long as they can remember. There are no ghosts here. Only the souls of loved ones who have gone to the Village of the Dead and who are allowed to return once a year to be with their family. Very readable and beautifully illustrated, this book provides an extensive discussion of the people of Oaxaca, their way of life and their beliefs, which make the Day of the Dead logical and easily comprehensible.
Subjects: Religion General Anthropology
Images of Power
Iconography, Culture and the State in Latin America
Andermann, J. & Rowe, W. (eds)
In Latin America, where even today writing has remained a restricted form of expression, the task of generating consent and imposing the emergent nation-state as the exclusive form of the political, was largely conferred to the image. Furthermore, at the moment of its historical demise, the new, 'postmodern' forms of sovereignty appear to rely even more heavily on visual discourses of power. However, a critique of the iconography of the modern state-form has been missing. This volume is the first concerted attempt by cultural, historical and visual scholars to address the political dimension of visual culture in Latin America, in a comparative perspective spanning various regions and historical stages. The case studies are divided into four sections, analysing the formation of a public sphere, the visual politics of avant-garde art, the impact of mass society on political iconography, and the consolidation and crisis of territory as a key icon of the state.
Subjects: General Cultural Studies General History
Resistance in an Amazonian Community
Huaorani Organizing against the Global Economy
Like many other indigenous groups, the Huaorani of eastern Ecuador are facing many challenges as they attempt to confront the globalization of capitalism in the 21st century. In 1991, they formed a political organization as a direct response to the growing threat to Huaorani territory posed by oil exploitation, colonization, and other pressures. The author explores the structures and practices of the organization, as well as the contradictions created by the imposition of an alien and hierarchical organizational form on a traditionally egalitarian society. This study has broad implications for those who work toward "cultural survival" or try to "save the rainforest."
Subjects: Development Studies
An Earth-colored Sea
'Race', Culture and the Politics of Identity in the Post-Colonial Portuguese-Speaking World
Vale de Almeida, M.
Although the post-colonial situation has attracted considerable interest over recent years, one important colonial power – Portugal – has not been given any attention. This book is the first to explore notions of ethnicity, "race", culture, and nation in the context of the debate on colonialism and postcolonialism. The structure of the book reflects a trajectory of research, starting with a case study in Trinidad, followed by another one in Brazil, and ending with yet another one in Portugal. The three case studies, written in the ethnographic genre, are intertwined with essays of a more theoretical nature. The non-monographic, composite – or hybrid – nature of this work may be in itself an indication of the need for transnational and historically grounded research when dealing with issues of representations of identity that were constructed during colonial times and that are today reconfigured in the ideological struggles over cultural meanings.
Subjects: Colonialism General Anthropology
From Chains to Bonds
The Slave Trade Revisited
Diène, D. (ed)
Most important issues of today's world - such as development, human rights, and cultural pluralism - bear the unmistakable stamp of the transatlantic slave trade. In particular Africa's state of development can only be properly understood in the light of the widespread dismantling of African societies and the methodical and lasting human bloodletting to which the continent was subjected by way of the trans-Saharan and transatlantic slave trade over the centuries. But this greatest displacement of population in history also transformed the vast geo-cultural area of the Americas and the Caribbean.
In this volume, one result of UNESCO's project Memory of Peoples: The Slave Route, scholars and thinkers from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean have come together to raise some crucial questions and offer new perspectives on debates that have lost none of their urgency.
The Last Shaman
Change in an Amazonian Community
The Arakmbut are an indigenous people who live in the Madre de Dios region of the southeastern Peruvian rain forest. Since their first encounters with missionaries in the 1950s,they have shown resilience and a determination to affirm their identity in the face of many difficulties. During the last fifteen years, Arakmbut survival has been under threat from a goldrush that has attracted hundreds of colonists onto their territories. This trilogy of books traces the ways in which the Arakmbut overcome the dangers that surround them: their mythology and cultural strength; their social flexibility; and their capacity to incorporate non-indigenous concepts and activities into their defence strategies. Each area is punctuated by the constant presence of the invisible spirit, which provides a seamless theme connecting the books to each other.
The death of a shaman in 1980 had an enormous spiritual and political consequences for one of the Arakmbut communities, resulting in a shift in its social organization from comparative hierarchy to a more egalitarian system. The author uses this case as an illustration to challenge the idea that indigenous peoples live in fossilized, static worlds. He shows that political activities in conjunction with shamanic communication with the spirit world provide the impetus and context for change.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion Development Studies
Indigenous Rights and Development
Self-Determination in an Amazonian Community
The Arakmbut are an indigenous people who live in the Madre de Dios region of the southeastern Peruvian rain forest. Since their first encounters with missionaries in the 1950s, they have shown resilience and a determination to affirm their identity in the face of many difficulties. During the last fifteen years, Arakmbut survival has been under threat from a goldrush that has attracted hundreds of colonists onto their territories. This trilogy of books traces the ways in which the Arakmbut overcome the dangers that surround them: their mythology and cultural strength; their social flexibility; and their capacity to incorporate non-indigenous concepts and activities into their defence strategies. Each area is punctuated by the constant presence of the invisible spirit, which provides a seamless theme connecting the books to eachother.
Over a period of about two decades the indigenous movement has grown into an international force, making a marked impact on the United Nations and the International Labor Organization. In this volume, the author looks at the growing consciousness among the Arakmbut who are increasingly demanding that their rights to their territories and resources should be respected in tandem with the growing development of indigenous rights internationally. However, the author points to a significant difference of perception: whereas non-indigenous human-rights legislation receives its legitimacy by judicial means, the Arakmbut find their legal system legitimized through the spirit world. The invisibility of this world makes it appear non-existent to non-indigenous observers. However, to overlook its importance prevents outsiders from understanding and appreciating its significance in the Arakmbut struggle for survival.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
Mythology, Spirituality, and History
The Arakmbut are an indigenous people who live in the Madre de Dios region of thesoutheastern Peruvian rain forest. Since their first encounters with missionaries in the 1950s,they have shown resilience and a determination to affirm their identity in the face of many difficulties. During the last fifteen years, Arakmbut survival has been under threat from a goldrush that has attracted hundreds of colonists onto their territories. This trilogy of books traces the ways in which the Arakmbut overcome the dangers that surround them: their mythology and cultural strength; their social flexibility; and their capacity to incorporate non-indigenous concepts and activities into their defence strategies. Each area is punctuated by the constant presence of the invisible spirit, which provides a seamless theme connecting the books to each other.
Following the Arakmbuts' recommendation, the author uses their three greatest myths to introduce social, cultural and historical aspects of their lives. He ends with a discussion of the relationship between myth and history showing how the Arakmbut recreate their myths at the dramatic moments of their history.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion Development Studies
History and Modernity in Latin America
Barloewen, C. von
Why is it that Japan, with few natural resources, has become one of the world's leading economies but not Latin America, which is so rich in natural resources? This anthropological essay questions the Euro-centric notion of modernity and modernization and argues that Latin America has to find its own form of modernity, one which accepts and reflects its owntraditions. As long as a Western Model is grafted on to Latin American societies, modernization is bound to fail. After examining the history and peculiarities of these societies and their cultures, from the pre-Colombian era to the present, the author develops what could become the framework for a future, "indigenous" model.
Subjects: General History General Cultural Studies