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Choreographies of Landscape
Signs of Performance in Yosemite National Park
Ness, S. A.
As an international ecotourism destination, Yosemite National Park welcomes millions of climbers, sightseers, and other visitors from around the world annually, all of whom are afforded dramatic experiences of the natural world. This original and cross-disciplinary book offers an ethnographic and performative study of Yosemite visitors in order to understand human connection with and within natural landscapes. By grounding a novel “eco-semiotic” analysis in the lived reality of parkgoers, it forges surprising connections, assembling a collective account that will be of interest to disciplines ranging from performance studies to cultural geography.
Area: North America
The Experience of Neoliberal Education
Urciuoli, B. (ed)
The college experience is increasingly positioned to demonstrate its value as a worthwhile return on investment. Specific, definable activities, such as research experience, first-year experience, and experiential learning, are marketed as delivering precise skill sets in the form of an individual educational package.
Through ethnography-based analysis, the contributors to this volume explore how these commodified "experiences" have turned students into consumers and given them the illusion that they are in control of their investment. They further reveal how the pressure to plan every move with a constant eye on a demonstrable return has supplanted traditional approaches to classroom education and profoundly altered the student experience.
Subjects: Educational Studies General Anthropology
Area: North America
From Virtue to Vice
O' Connor, R. A. & Esterik, P. van
The recovered possess the key to overcoming anorexia. Although individual sufferers do not know how the affliction takes hold, piecing their stories together reveals two accidental afflictions. One is that activity disorders—dieting, exercising, healthy eating—start as virtuous practices, but become addictive obsessions. The other affliction is a developmental disorder, which also starts with the virtuous—those eager for challenge and change. But these overachievers who seek self-improvement get a distorted life instead. Knowing anorexia from inside, the recovered offer two watchwords on helping those who suffer. One is "negotiate," to encourage compromise, which can aid recovery where coercion fails. The other is "balance," for the ill to pursue mind-with-body activities to defuse mind-over-body battles.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Food & Nutrition
Area: North America
Grace after Genocide
Cambodians in the United States
Mortland, C. A.
Grace after Genocide is the first comprehensive ethnography of Cambodian refugees, charting their struggle to transition from life in agrarian Cambodia to survival in post-industrial America, while maintaining their identities as Cambodians. The ethnography contrasts the lives of refugees who arrived in America after 1975, with their focus on Khmer traditions, values, and relations, with those of their children who, as descendants of the Khmer Rouge catastrophe, have struggled to become Americans in a society that defines them as different. The ethnography explores America’s mid-twentieth-century involvement in Southeast Asia and its enormous consequences on multiple generations of Khmer refugees.
Areas: North America Asia
Heading for the Scene of the Crash
The Cultural Analysis of America
American anthropologists have long advocated cultural anthropology as a tool for cultural critique, yet seldom has that approach been employed in discussions of major events and cultural productions that impact the lives of tens of millions of Americans. This collection of essays aims to refashion cultural analysis into a hard-edged tool for the study of American society and culture, addressing topics including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, abortion, sports doping, and the Jonestown massacre-suicides. Grounded in the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, the essays advance an inquiry into the nature of culture in American society.
Area: North America
Hunters, Predators and Prey
Inuit Perceptions of Animals
Laugrand, F. & Oosten†, J.
Inuit hunting traditions are rich in perceptions, practices and stories relating to animals and human beings. The authors examine key figures such as the raven, an animal that has a central place in Inuit culture as a creator and a trickster, and qupirruit, a category consisting of insects and other small life forms. After these non-social and inedible animals, they discuss the dog, the companion of the hunter, and the fellow hunter, the bear, considered to resemble a human being. A discussion of the renewal of whale hunting accompanies the chapters about animals considered ‘prey par excellence’: the caribou, the seals and the whale, symbol of the whole. By giving precedence to Inuit categories such as ‘inua’ (owner) and ‘tarniq’ (shade) over European concepts such as ‘spirit ‘and ‘soul’, the book compares and contrasts human beings and animals to provide a better understanding of human-animal relationships in a hunting society.
Subjects: General Anthropology Environmental Studies
Area: North America
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.
Areas: North America Latin America
Language and Identity Politics
A Cross-Atlantic Perspective
Späti, C. (ed)
In an increasingly multicultural world, the relationship between language and identity remains a complicated and often fraught subject for most societies. The growing political salience of questions relating to language is evident not only in the expanded implementation of new policies and legislation, but also in heated public debates about national unity, collective identities, and the rights of linguistic minorities. By taking a comprehensive approach that considers both the inclusive and exclusive dimensions of linguistic identity across Europe and North America, the studies assembled here provide a sophisticated look at one of the global era’s defining political dynamics.
Subjects: Sociology General Anthropology
Areas: Europe North America
Living on Thin Ice
The Gwich'in Natives of Alaska
Dinero, S. C.
The Gwich’in Natives of Arctic Village, Alaska, have experienced intense social and economic changes for more than a century. In the late 20th century, new transportation and communication technologies introduced radically new value systems; while some of these changes may be seen as socially beneficial, others suggest a weakening of what was once a strong and vibrant Native community. Using quantitative and qualitative data gathered since the turn of the millennium, this volume offers an interdisciplinary evaluation of the developments that have occurred in the community over the past several decades.
Area: North America
Language and the Search for Resonance in U.S. Chinese Medicine
Pritzker, S. E.
Integrating theoretical perspectives with carefully grounded ethnographic analyses of everyday interaction and experience, Living Translation examines the worlds of international translators as well as U.S. teachers and students of Chinese medicine, focusing on the transformations that occur as participants engage in a “search for resonance” with foreign terms and concepts. Based on a close examination of heated international debates as well as specific texts, classroom discussions, and interviews with publishers, authors, teachers, and students, Sonya Pritzker demonstrates the “living translation” of Chinese medicine as a process unfolding through interaction, inscription, embodied experience, and clinical practice. By documenting the stream of conversations that together constitute this process, the book thus traces the translation of Chinese medicine from text to practice with an eye towards the social, political, historical, moral, and even personal dimensions involved in the transnational production of knowledge about health, illness, and the body.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Areas: Asia North America
An American Cultural Dilemma
Nighttime for many new parents in the United States is fraught with the intense challenges of learning to breastfeed and helping their babies sleep so they can get rest themselves. Through careful ethnographic study of the dilemmas raised by nighttime breastfeeding, and their examination in the context of anthropological, historical, and feminist studies, this volume unravels the cultural tensions that underlie these difficulties. As parents negotiate these dilemmas, they not only confront conflicting medical guidelines about breastfeeding and solitary infant sleep, but also larger questions about cultural and moral expectations for children and parents, and their relationship with one another.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Gender Studies
Area: North America
Toward Reciprocal Anthropology
Raulin, A. & Rogers, S. C. (eds)
Anthropological inquiry developed around the study of the exotic. Now that we live in a world that seems increasingly familiar, putatively marked by a spreading sameness, anthropology must re-envision itself. The emergence of diverse national traditions in the discipline offers one intriguing path. This volume, the product of a novel encounter of American anthropologists of France and French anthropologists of the United States, explores the possibilities of that path through an experiment in the reciprocal production of knowledge. Simultaneously native subjects, foreign experts, and colleagues, these scholars offer novel insights into each other’s societies, juxtaposing glimpses of ourselves and a familiar “others” to productively unsettle and enrich our understanding of both.
Subject: General Anthropology
Areas: France North America
Power, Knowledge, and the Invisible Wounds of Soldiers
Moss, P. & Prince, M. J.
As seen in military documents, medical journals, novels, films, television shows, and memoirs, soldiers’ invisible wounds are not innate cracks in individual psyches that break under the stress of war. Instead, the generation of weary warriors is caught up in wider social and political networks and institutions—families, activist groups, government bureaucracies, welfare state programs—mediated through a military hierarchy, psychiatry rooted in mind-body sciences, and various cultural constructs of masculinity. This book offers a history of military psychiatry from the American Civil War to the latest Afghanistan conflict. The authors trace the effects of power and knowledge in relation to the emotional and psychological trauma that shapes soldiers’ bodies, minds, and souls, developing an extensive account of the emergence, diagnosis, and treatment of soldiers’ invisible wounds.
Subjects: Sociology General History Peace & Conflict Studies
Areas: North America Europe