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Scientific Alternatives to Neoclassical Economic Theory
Making World Development Work is about economic development and its relation to population, environment and resource issues in less affluent countries. The essays presented here criticize the way most large development projects are designed and conducted and are written by professionals from a broad range of disciplines involved in current development research.
The Memoirs of George A.Cowan
Cowan's memoir is an engaging eyewitness account of how science works and how scientists, as human beings, work as well. In discussing his career in nuclear physics from the 1940s into the 1980s, Cowan weaves in intriguing anecdotes about a large cast of distinguished scientists--all related in his wry, self-deprecating manner.
Three Texts in Context
Consisting of three rare documents about miracles during the second half of the eighteenth century, each accompanied by an introductory essay, this study explores these divine signs and the move to change the role of the church and religion in colonial life.
In Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico, historians and anthropologists explain how evolving notions of the meaning and practice of manhood have shaped Mexican history. In essays that range from Texas to Oaxaca and from the 1880s to the present, contributors write about file clerks and movie stars, wealthy world travelers and ordinary people whose adventures were confined to a bar in the middle of town. The Mexicans we meet in these essays lived out their identities through extraordinary events--committing terrible crimes, writing world-famous songs, and ruling the nation--but also in everyday activities like falling in love, raising families, getting dressed, and going to the movies. Thus, these essays in the history of masculinity connect the major topics of Mexican political history since 1880 to the history of daily life.
Part of the Diálogos Series of Latin American Studies
Traditional Healing in Yucatán
This account of the practice of traditional Maya medicine examines the work of curers in Pisté, Mexico, a small town in the Yucatán Peninsula near the ruins of Chichén Itzá. The traditions of plant use and ethnomedicine applied by these healers have been transmitted from one generation to the next since the colonial period throughout the state of Yucatán and the adjoining states of Campeche and Quintana Roo.
In addition to plants, traditional healers use Western medicine and traditional rituals that include magical elements, for curing in Yucatán is at once deeply spiritual and empirically oriented, addressing problems of the body, spirit, and mind. Curers either learn from elders or are recruited through revelatory dreams. The men who learn their skills through dreams communicate with supernatural beings by means of divining stones and crystals. Some of the locals acknowledge their medical skills; some disparage them as rustics or vilify them as witches. The curer may act as a doctor, priest, and psychiatrist.
This book traces the entire process of curing. The author collected plants with traditional healers and observed their techniques including prayer and massage as well as plant medicine, western medicine, and ritual practices. Plant medicine, she found, was the common denominator, and her book includes information on the plants she worked with and studied.
Art, Architecture, and Film
Beginning his study in the mid-nineteenth century, with the first mechanically reproduced and mass distributed images of the Mayan ruins, and ending with recent works that address this history of representation, Lerner argues that Maya modernism is the product of an ongoing pan-American modernism characterized by a continuing series of reinterpretations, collaborations, and exchanges in which Yucatecans, Mexicans and foreigners, mestizos, Mayas, and others all participate and are free to endorse, misunderstand, reinterpret, or reject each other’s ideas.
Quadripartite Crosses, Trees, and Stones
Although anthropologists have been observing and analyzing the religious practices of Mayan people for about a hundred years, this perceptive study suggests that anthropological interpretation of those practices and of Maya cosmology has never escaped the epistemological influence of Christianity. Whereas sacred objects used in Christian rituals are treated with deifying awe, objects such as Mayan crosses can be recycled, bartered with, communicated with, manipulated, disregarded, or destroyed—the apparent equivalent of extorting or defacing a holy image of Christ or the Virgin Mary. Astor-Aguilera holds that we cannot fully understand these indigenous practices by fitting them to our European Cartesian mindset but must instead recognize and try to understand native Mayan epistemology.
An Artist's Journey
Phillip Hofstetter first visited Yucatán in 1987 and was entranced, as much by the sheer physical beauty of the region as by the enduring character of the Maya people still inhabiting the region. For more than twenty years he has been documenting his travels in Yucatán and his professional collaboration with archaeological excavation projects there. His reflections on the Maya culture emphasize survival and adaptation, while images of ancient sites, the churches of the Franciscan mission period, and the ruined haciendas of the henequen period serve as physical reminders of the enduring ways in which the Maya have shaped the landscape of Yucatán over millennia.
Gender, Sexuality, and Money on the Miskito Coast
Approximately 90 percent of Miskitu boys and men in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve along the north coast of Honduras have worked as deepwater divers in the lobster industry and their participation has left an indelible imprint on their society. While lobster diving is lucrative, it is also a life-threatening occupation and many divers have been injured or killed from decompression sickness—locally referred to as liwa mairin siknis (Mermaid sickness). According to Miskitu folklore, the Mermaid is the main water spirit, owner of all fresh and saltwater resources and capable of punishing male divers for extracting too many of her lobsters. Wary of the wrath of the supernatural liwa mairin, these men face another threat on shore: Miskitu women who use sexual magic—praidi saihka—as a tool to control men’s wages and ensure that they continue to provide them with money.
Interspersed with short stories, songs, and incantations, The Mermaid and the Lobster Diver demonstrates the archetypes of femininity and masculinity within Miskitu society, highlighting the power associated with women’s sexuality—as manifested in both goddess and human form—and the vulnerable position of men.