The Empty Seashell

Author: Nils Bubandt
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801471966
Size: 25.50 MB
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The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn't explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.

The Empty Seashell

Author: Nils Bubandt
Publisher: NUS Press
ISBN: 9971698633
Size: 17.29 MB
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The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn't explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida's concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.

Ethnographies Of Doubt

Author: Mathijs Pelkmans
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 1848858108
Size: 46.95 MB
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This title shows that a focus on uncertainty and doubt is indispensible for grasping the role of ideas in social action. Drawing on a wide-range of cases, it analyses the ways in which doubt is overcome and, conversely, how belief-systems collapse.

Soul Hunters

Author: Rane Willerslev
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520252179
Size: 31.78 MB
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Basing his study on firsthand experience with Yukaghir hunters, Rane Willerslev focuses on the practical implications of living in a 'hall of mirrors' world, one inhabited by humans, animals and spirits, all of whom are understood to be endless mimetic doubles of one another.

Restless Souls

Author: Leigh Eric Schmidt
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520954114
Size: 37.54 MB
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Yoga classes and Zen meditation, New-Age retreats and nature mysticism—all are part of an ongoing religious experimentation that has surprisingly deep roots in American history. Tracing out the country’s Transcendentalist and cosmopolitan religious impulses over the last two centuries, Restless Souls explores America’s abiding romance with spirituality as religion’s better half. Now in its second edition, including a new preface, Leigh Eric Schmidt's fascinating book provides a rich account of how this open-road spirituality developed in American culture in the first place as well as a sweeping survey of the liberal religious movements that touted it and ensured its continued vitality.

Intimate Indigeneities

Author: Andrew Canessa
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822352672
Size: 39.45 MB
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Analyzing the nuances of identity formation in rural Andean culture, Andrew Canessa draws on two decades of ethnographic research in a remote indigenous community in Bolivia's highlands.

How About Demons

Author: Felicitas D. Goodman
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 025301462X
Size: 45.33 MB
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"Quite an interesting book... " —Religious Studies Review "It is by far superior to anything else on demons we have seen in the past few years." —The American Rationalist "... Goodman is to be commended for a stimulating and wide-reaching treatment of a compelling and much-debated subject." —Journal of Folklore Research Rich in detail derived from the author's fieldwork and the anthropological literature, this work paints a picture of possession as one of the usually positive and most widespread of human religious experiences. It also details the ritual of exorcism, which is applied when things go wrong.

In The Realm Of The Diamond Queen

Author: Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691000510
Size: 43.40 MB
Format: PDF
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In this highly original and much-anticipated ethnography, Anna Tsing challenges not only anthropologists and feminists but all those who study culture to reconsider some of their dearest assumptions. By choosing to locate her study among Meratus Dayaks, a marginal and marginalized group in the deep rainforest of South Kalimantan, Indonesia, Tsing deliberately sets into motion the familiar and stubborn urban fantasies of self and other. Unusual encounters with her remarkably creative and unconventional Meratus friends and teachers, however, provide the opportunity to rethink notions of tradition, community, culture, power, and gender--and the doing of anthropology. Tsing's masterful weaving of ethnography and theory, as well as her humor and lucidity, allow for an extraordinary reading experience for students, scholars, and anyone interested in the complexities of culture. Engaging Meratus in wider conversations involving Indonesian bureaucrats, family planners, experts in international development, Javanese soldiers, American and French feminists, Asian-Americans, right-to-life advocates, and Western intellectuals, Tsing looks not for consensus and coherence in Meratus culture but rather allows individual Meratus men and women to return our gaze. Bearing the fruit from the lively contemporary conversations between anthropology and cultural studies, In the Realm of the Diamond Queen will prove to be a model for thinking and writing about gender, power, and the politics of identity.

Magical Interpretations Material Realities

Author: Henrietta L. Moore
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134575572
Size: 24.39 MB
Format: PDF
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'Magical Interpretations, Material Realities brings together many of today's best scholars of contemporary Africa. The theme of "witchcraft" has long been associated with exoticizing portraits of a "traditional" Africa, but this volume takes the question of occult as a point of entry into the moral politics of some very modern African realities.' - James Ferguson, University of California, USA 'These essays bear eloquent testimony to the ongoing presence and power of the occult imaginary, and of the intimate connection between global capitalism and local cosmology, in postcolonial Africa. A major contribution to scholarship that aims to rework the divide between modernity and tradition.' - Charles Piot, Duke University, USA This volume sets out recent thinking on witchcraft in Africa, paying particular attention to variations in meanings and practices. It examines the way different people in different contexts are making sense of what 'witchcraft' is and what it might mean. Using recent ethnographic materials from across the continent, the volume explores how witchcraft articulates with particular modern settings for example: the State in Cameroon; Pentecostalism in Malawi; the university system in Nigeria and the IMF in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. The editors provide a timely overview and reconsideration of long-standing anthropological debates about 'African witchcraft', while simultaneously raising broader concerns about the theories of the western social sciences.

Trees Knots And Outriggers

Author: Frederick H. Damon
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 1785332333
Size: 39.79 MB
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Trees, Knots and Outriggers (Kaynen Muyuw) is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Frederick H. Damon and his attention to cultural adaptations to the environment in Melanesia. Damon details the intricacies of indigenous knowledge and practice in his sweeping synthesis of symbolic and structuralist anthropology with recent developments in historical ecology. This book is a long conversation between the author's many Papua New Guinea informants, teachers and friends, and scientists in Australia, Europe and the United States, in which a spirit of adventure and discovery is palpable.