University of Illinois Press

Interpretations of Culture in the New Millennium

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Interpretations of Culture in the New Millennium

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Becoming Mapuche

Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile

Magnus Course

Magnus Course blends convincing historical analysis with sophisticated contemporary theory in this superb ethnography of the Mapuche people of southern Chile. Based on many years of ethnographic fieldwork, Becoming Mapuche takes readers to the indigenous reserves where many Mapuche have been forced to live since the beginning of the twentieth century. In addition to accounts of the intimacies of everyday kinship and friendship, Course also offers the first complete ethnographic analyses of the major social events of contemporary rural Mapuche life--eluwün funerals, the ritual sport of palin, and the great ngillatun fertility ritual. The volume includes a glossary of terms in Mapudungun.

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Finding Cholita

Billie Jean Isbell

Finding Cholita is fictionalized ethnography of the Ayacucho region of Peru covering a thirty-year period from the 1970s to today. It is a story of human tragedy resulting from the region's long history of discrimination, class oppression, and then the rise and fall of the communist organization Shining Path. The story's narrator, American anthropologist Dr. Alice Woodsley, attempts to locate her goddaughter, Cholita, who is known to have joined Shining Path and to have murdered her biological father, who fathered her through rape. Searching for Cholita, Woodsley devotes herself to documenting the stories of the countless Andean peasant women who were raped by soldiers, often going beyond witnessing as she helps the women relieve the pain of their sexual horror.

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Kings for Three Days

The Play of Race and Gender in an Afro-Ecuadorian Festival

Jean Muteba Rahier

With its rich mix of cultures, European influences, colonial tensions, and migration from bordering nations, Ecuador has long drawn the interest of ethnographers, historians, and political scientists. In this book, Jean Muteba Rahier delivers a highly detailed, thought-provoking examination of the racial, sexual, and social complexities of Afro-Ecuadorian culture, as revealed through the annual Festival of the Kings. During the Festival, the people of various villages and towns of Esmeraldas--Ecuador's province most associated with blackness--engage in celebratory and parodic portrayals, often donning masks, cross-dressing, and disguising themselves as blacks, indigenous people, and whites, in an obvious critique of local, provincial, and national white, white-mestizo, and light-mulatto elites. Rahier shows that this festival, as performed in different locations, reveals each time a specific location's perspective on the larger struggles over identity, class, and gender relations in the racial-spacial order of Esmeraldas, and of the Ecuadorian nation in general.

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Made-from-Bone

Trickster Myths, Music, and History from the Amazon

Jonathan D. Hill

Made-from-Bone provides the first complete set of English translations of narratives about the mythic past and its transformations from the indigenous Arawak-speaking Wakuenai of southernmost Venezuela. The central character throughout these primordial times is a trickster-creator, Made-from-Bone, who survives a prolonged series of life-threatening attacks. Carefully recorded and transcribed by Jonathan D. Hill, these narratives offer scholars of South America and other areas the only ethnographically generated cosmogony of contemporary or ancient native peoples of South America.

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Maya Market Women

Power and Tradition in San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala

S. Ashley Kistler

As cultural mediators, Chamelco's market women offer a model of contemporary Q'eqchi' identity grounded in the strength of the Maya historical legacy. Guatemala's Maya communities have faced nearly five hundred years of constant challenges to their culture, from colonial oppression to the instability of violent military dictatorships and the advent of new global technologies. In spite of this history, the people of San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala, have effectively resisted significant changes to their cultural identities. Chamelco residents embrace new technologies, ideas, and resources to strengthen their indigenous identities and maintain Maya practice in the 21st century, a resilience that sets Chamelco apart from other Maya towns.Unlike the region's other indigenous women, Chamelco's Q'eqchi' market women achieve both prominence and visibility as vendors, dominating social domains from religion to local politics. These women honor their families' legacies through continuation of the inherited, high-status marketing trade. In Maya Market Women, S. Ashley Kistler describes how market women gain social standing as mediators of sometimes conflicting realities, harnessing the forces of global capitalism to revitalize Chamelco's indigenous identity. Working at the intersections of globalization, kinship, gender, and memory, Kistler presents a firsthand look at Maya markets as a domain in which the values of capitalism and indigenous communities meet.

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The Napo Runa of Amazonian Ecuador

Michael Uzendoski

Based upon historical and archival research, as well as the author's years of fieldwork in indigenous communities, Michael Uzendoski's theoretically informed work analyzes value from the perspective of the Napo Runa people of the Amazonian Ecuador. _x000B_Written in a clear and readable style, The Napo Runa of Amazonian Ecuador presents theoretical issues of value, poetics, and kinship as linked to the author's intersubjective experiences in Napo Runa culture. Drawing on insights from the theory of gift and value, Uzendoski argues that Napo Runa culture personifies value by transforming things into people through a process of subordinating them to human relationships. While many traditional exchange models treat the production of things as inconsequential, the Napo Runa understand production to involve a relationship with natural beings (plants, animals, spirits of the forest), which are considered to be subjects that share spiritual substance, or samai. Throughout the book, value is revealed as the outcome of a complicated poetics of transformation by which things and persons are woven into kinship forms that define daily social and ritual life. _x000B_

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Ritual Encounters

Otavalan Modern and Mythic Community

Michelle Wibbelsman

This book examines ritual practices and public festivals in the Otavalo and Cotacachi areas of northern Andean Ecuador's Imbabura province. Otavaleños are a unique group in that they maintain their traditional identity but also cultivate a cosmopolitanism through frequent international travel. Rituals have persisted among this ethnic community as important processes for symbolically capturing and critically assessing cultural changes in the face of modern influences. Ritual Encounters thus offers an appreciation of the modern and mythic community as a single and emergent condition.

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