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Dirt, Undress, and Difference INDIANA Edited by Adeline Masquelier Critical Perspectives on the Body’s Surface Masquelier Dirt, Undress, and Difference 1-800-842-6796 Gender Studies / Anthropology “A magnificent volume! It offers brand new perspectives on body politics and identity or subjectivity formation in the post-colonial world.” —Dorothy Ko, Barnard College “Demonstrates the wide-ranging implications of the topic of dirt and undress, not just for an anthropology of the body, but for a broader politics and ethics of embodiment.” —Brad Weiss, College of William and Mary While there iswidespread interest in dress and hygiene as vehicles of cultural, moral, and political value, little scholarly attention has been paid to crosscultural understandings of dirt and undress, despite their equally important role in the fashioning of identity and difference. The essays in this thought-provoking collection contribute new insights into the neglected topics of bodily treatments and transgressions. In detailed ethnographic studies from around the world, the contributors recast assumptions about filth and nakedness, exploring how body surfaces are mobilized in the making and unmaking of moral worlds. Colonial beliefs in the civilizing power of particular modes of dress or hygiene form one common thread running through the essays, while certain configurations of gender, power, and “gaze” in relation to nakedness or nudity are another. In one essay, we see how bare breasts in Bali have gone from being everyday local dress a century ago, to colonial-era obsession of missionaries and travelers, and finally to a practice most modern Balinese associate with foreign tourists. Other chapters consider the historically shifting meaning of undress in Nigeria and nineteenth-century Japan; the dynamics of concealment and revelation in contemporary U.S. strip clubs; veiling, purity, and pollution in the Iranian diaspora; the ambiguities of disrobing in spirit possession in Niger; soap and civilization in colonial Sudan; the gendered construction of impurities in India; and the civic culture of baths in Botswana. This interdisciplinary volume makes an important contribution to the anthropology of the body and to the study of gender, ritual, colonialism, and diaspora. Contributors are Misty L. Bastian, Janet Bauer, Janice Boddy, Deborah Durham, Katherine Frank, Satsuki Kawano, Sarah Lamb, Adeline Masquelier, and Margaret Wiener. Adeline Masquelier is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University and author of Prayer Has Spoiled Everything: Possession, Power, and Identity in an Islamic Town of Niger. Cover illustration: Jean-Léon Gérome, “The Bath,” circa 1880–1885, oil on canvas, 29 x 231 /2. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum Purchase, Mildred Anna Williams Collection. Dirt, Undress, and Di√erence Dirt, Undress, and Di√erence Critical Perspectives on the Body’s Surface Edited by Adeline Masquelier Indiana University Press Bloomington and Indianapolis This book is a publication of Indiana University Press 601 North Morton Street Bloomington, IN 47404-3797 USA Telephone orders 800-842-6796 Fax orders 812-855-7931 Orders by e-mail ∫ 2005 by Indiana University Press All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses’ Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences— Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984. Manufactured in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data American Anthropological Association. Meeting (2000 : San Francisco, Calif.) Dirt, undress, and difference : critical perspectives on the body’s surface / edited by Adeline Masquelier. p. cm. Papers originally presented at a panel entitled ‘‘The Politics of Dirt and Nudity in Africa’’ held at the 2000 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-253-34628-2 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-253-21783-0 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Clothing and dress—Social aspects—Congresses. 2. Nudity—Social aspects—Congresses. 3. Hygiene—Social aspects—Congresses. 4. Bathing customs—Social aspects—Congresses. 5. Body, Human—Social aspects—Congresses. I. Masquelier, Adeline Marie, date II. Title. GT525.A63 2005 391—dc22 2005004481 1 2 3 4 5 10 09 08 07 06 05 Modesty is invisibility, said Aunt Lydia. Never forget it. To be seen—to be seen—is to be—her voice trembled—penetrated. What you must...


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