76 Chapters
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8. Politics of Narrative at the African Burial Ground in New York City: The Final Monument

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

ANDREA E. FROHNE

 

 

The African Burial Ground located in lower Manhattan was used by Africans and people of African descent from approximately 1700 until 1790. It covered five to six acres and likely contained the remains of ten thousand to twenty thousand people. A small portion of the African Burial Ground was unearthed in 1991 when the General Services Administration (GSA) built on top of the cemetery a thirty-four-story Federal Office Building at 290 Broadway between Duane and Reade Streets. The eighteenth-century colonial cemetery was located in what has become today's Civic Center of lower Manhattan, surrounded by City Hall, Federal Plaza, and the New York Supreme Court. Because the plot of land at 290 Broadway is prime real estate, it was initially treated as such, rather than as a sacred, historical burial site. Eventually, after community activism and governmental involvement, several commemorative art projects were eventually commissioned for the site.1

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3 The Depopulated Villages as Viewed by Jewish Inhabitants

Noga Kadman Indiana University Press ePub

Families came from a house of ‘Olim [new Jewish immigrants] / to the abandoned village—true pioneers / demolished the houses, repaired the wrecks / cut paths through the prickly pear cacti growth.

—Segal, Kerem Maharal 1949–1979: 30 Years to the Moshav

IN THE FIRST few years of its existence, Israel carried out a large-scale settlement project, establishing hundreds of Jewish communities on lands of depopulated Palestinian villages, dozens of them in the built-up area of the villages. Research done for this book suggests that the previously built-up area of 108 depopulated villages—over a quarter of the total number of villages—is partly or completely located within Jewish communities nowadays. In 25 villages, Jewish agricultural communities were established within the built-up area of the villages, some using the actual village homes and buildings and some built on top of the ruins. In 19 other villages, Jewish agricultural communities occupy part of the villages’ built-up area. Some were originally established on parts of the village site, and others have been expanded to include it over the year; an additional 64 depopulated villages lie today within Jewish towns or cities. In addition, 23 depopulated villages border on Jewish agricultural communities, of which 19 were built after the villages were depopulated. The lists of all those villages and the Jewish communities that include them can be found in appendix A, along with a map presenting their locations across the country.

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6 - Unstable Landscapes of Property, Morality, and Status

Fehérváry, Krisztina Indiana University Press ePub

EARLY IN THIS book, I recounted an incident in which a university student from Dunaújváros nodded out the window of our bus at a silver car speeding by and remarked, “If everyone had a car like that, that would be normal!” In one breath, this young man summed up a complex mixture of expectation and disappointment. As with widespread invocations of a counterfactual “normal” in Hungary, he expressed the socialist middle strata's frustrated expectations for the kind of life they had assumed would be ushered in by democracy and a free market. Simultaneously, he delineated places and kinds of behavior in Hungary that conformed to such expectations. His insistence that “everyone” was entitled to a car like that also highlighted the fact that most people were still sitting on the bus. At the same time, these people could see that others—often inexplicably—enjoyed not only “normal” material goods and environments but far more lavish ones. Just as disturbing was the emergence of a visible homeless population as well as the regular sight of impoverished pensioners selling small, straggly bouquets of daisies on street corners.

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9 Where’s the Porch? and Other Intersections between Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

Cheryl Ann Munson

At a historic preservation conference in the 1980s, I was introduced to a noted preservationist and dedicated champion of Indiana’s historic places. Upon learning that I was an archaeologist, he mentioned that he was involved in restoring a house; workers had nearly finished repairing the foundation, but he wondered whether the house would have had porches across its front and back. My specialty within the discipline of archaeology is prehistoric Native American cultures, not nineteenth-century residences, so I did not expect this line of inquiry. (I also wondered why the question wasn’t answered before restoration began.) Still, my questioner was not entirely out of line, considering that archaeologists in the United States have collaborated with historic preservation professionals since the beginning of the preservation movement.

When it comes to preservation, structural and archaeological sites share the same legal foundation, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which created the National Register of Historic Places and incorporated the National Historic Landmarks program under the administration of the National Park Service. Congress included Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act as a procedure whereby sponsors of federally funded projects are required to consult with State Historic Preservation Officers to identify, evaluate, and treat historic properties that may be eligible for the National Register. Historic properties include buildings, bridges, and battlefields of the historic era in the United States but also prehistoric Native American villages, mounds, and camp sites. At the state level, laws and procedures generally mirror those of the federal government, so it is no surprise that our State Historic Preservation Office was named the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

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Medium 9780253011428

3. Inside the Magic Circle: Conjuring the Terrorist Enemy at the 2001 Group of Eight Summit

Edited by Arijit Sen and Lisa Silverman Indiana University Press ePub

EMANUELA GUANO

The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis court, the court of justice, etc., are all…forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.

—Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture

Held in Italy shortly after the election of Silvio Berlusconi's second conservative government, the 2001 Group of Eight (G8) summit went down in history as the battle of Genoa due to the violent clashes and the extreme brutality of state repression. From July 20 through July 22 the leaders of the eight wealthiest countries in the world conducted their debates inside a militarized citadel—a magic circle—at the heart of downtown Genoa. In the meantime, the rest of the city became the theater of a guerrilla warfare and a police and army violence that had few antecedents in recent Italian history. While most protesters sought to hold their demonstrations peacefully, anarchists known as the Black Bloc carried out hit-and-run attacks on the police as well as on civilian targets, ravaging and burning down parked cars, banks, and small businesses. Instead of seeking to contain the Black Bloc's offensive, police and army corps responded by indiscriminately beating all of the protesters who happened to be in their way. Over three hundred of them were illegally detained; more than four hundred had to be hospitalized; and one young man, Carlo Giuliani, was fatally shot in the head.

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13 No Place Like Home: Preservation, the Past, and Personal Identity

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

David Brent Johnson

There is something mystical about the places you inhabited when you were young. Visit them decades later and you will find your mind redressing and regressing the houses and other buildings, cascading you into a reflective state of haze in the face of suddenly living memory. The past is a fading dream, and buildings are its symbols of meaning, its totems of silent significance, its runic monuments to a sense that what came before us mattered; therefore what we do now will matter as well.

When I was twenty-three I returned to Indianapolis after spending several years at Indiana University in Bloomington and a summer working on a salmon processing boat off the coast of Alaska. I had grown up in the Midwestern metropolis in the 1970s and early 1980s, a time when the city’s vitality was at a low ebb. Although population rankings placed my hometown as the eleventh-largest urban concentration of residents in the country, it tended to have the vibe of a minor-league burg, bereft of significant sports franchises save the Pacers, with no skyline to speak of, and a downtown that seemed to be struck by a neutron bomb every day at 5 PM. The buildings were there, but where were the people? I sensed no spark, no soul in “India-no-place” or “Naptown,” as the city was derisively called.

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1 Difference Set in Stone: Place and Race in Mombasa

Sandy Prita Meier Indiana University Press ePub

Architecture has a powerful impact on how culture is experienced. The very notion that people “belong to” or can claim a certain territory is constituted by culturally variable politics of inhabiting, in which the built environment plays a central role. Examining how these spatial processes unfold in such fluid borderlands as the Swahili coast is an especially clarifying exercise because its port cities are fundamentally nonterritorial cultural landscapes, shaped by the constant movement of peoples and things across great distances. Here the relationship between identity and place is particularly mercurial and in constant flux.

For centuries permanent stone architecture occupied an important place in the civilizational order of Mombasa. Founded sometime in the early second millennium, this ancient Swahili city was the site of an important port long before it became part of the British Empire. In contrast to Lamu and Zanzibar, whose global connectivity is a fairly recent phenomenon, Mombasa has nurtured direct connections with inland Africa, Europe, and Asia since at least the fourteenth century. Great Zimbabwe, Portugal, and Ottoman Turkey were among the major empires that had regular contact with the city. Mombasa Town stood at the edge of intersecting worlds; its vibrant mercantile culture drew peoples from the African mainland, South Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Merchants, diplomats, and even attacking armies came to Mombasa because it provided access to the markets and resources of inland Africa. As a result Mombasa figured prominently in the consciousness of foreigners. This long history of transcultural contact also influenced the worldview of Mombasans. Locals learned to appropriate faraway objects, styles, and technologies in the making of their city. Yet the nineteenth century marks a major watershed moment in this long history of transregional engagement, when industrial capitalism and colonization changed a range of preexisting systems and traditions. I chart this process of transformation by showing how stone architecture once embodied the Swahili ideal of the “elsewhere” and how it came to stand for racialized difference. What becomes clear is that the revolutionary circumstances of the nineteenth century forced Mombasans to reconstitute how they made their sense of place useful to themselves and legible to others in the world.

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Architectural Decoration

Henry Glassie Indiana University Press ePub

Ornament creates an exciting tension within architectural experience when the inside and outside are treated differently. Ellen Cutler whitewashes the exterior of her house in Ballymenone. The whitewash confirms the unity of the building and separates it cleanly from its natural surround of muddy lanes and grassy fields. On its exterior, her house is solid and singular, artful in its massing and its unrelieved whiteness. Step over the threshold. The brightness of the whitewash continues in the buffed and polished surfaces of the things she calls ornaments: the brass candlesticks and enameled dogs on the mantel, the pictures and plates on the walls. But similarities are swept away by differences. The hard, plain unity of the exterior yields to the softness of textiles, to a busy, glittery dance of little things, to a rainbow of color and a happy cacophony of pattern.

The walls of her kitchen darken from smoke nearly as often as the walls outside darken in the wet weather. Nearly as often as she whitewashes the exterior, she papers the kitchen, covering its walls with running, repetitive patterns of medallions. Mud tracked in by the damned old men, when they come from the fields for their tea, causes her to scrub the floor every day. So it will shine, she covers the floor with a smooth sheet of linoleum that brings another pattern to her kitchen. And more patterns come on the strips of cloth that cover the tables, curtain the openings, and run along the shelves of the mantel and dresser.

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2. Ghostly Stories: Interviews with Artists in Dakar and the Productive Space around Absence

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

JOANNA GRABSKI

Do we cite merely to repeat the words of the other, or do we do so in order to enact or reenact an inimitable gesture, a singular way of thinking, a unique manner of speaking? If the latter, then the quotation would in each case mark a limit, the place where the inimitable gesture of the dead friend becomes inscribed, and thus repeatable, comparable to other gestures…. Each time, citation would mark the beginning of a unique and singular life as well as its brutal interruption.

—PASCALE-ANNE BRAULT AND MICHAEL NAAS, “TO RECKON WITH THE DEAD”

Since the late 1990s, I have made several research trips to Dakar, where I re-encounter the people who have made this space meaningful and purposeful for me. Just as our re-encounters are shaped by who is present, they inevitably involve exchanges about who is absent. I have come to think of absence as an increasingly significant, if not defining, theme in my research with artists in Dakar. While an artist's absence is often attributable to travel for exhibitions or workshops, what I am talking about primarily is absence due to an artist's death.1 During one stay in Dakar, I was struck by the various ways that such absence was registered and represented in exchanges with friends and colleagues: Abdoulaye Ndoye showed me the portrait silhouette he made of the late Moustapha Dimé (Figure 2.1); Fodé Camara wore a T-shirt dedicated to memorializing Djibril Diop Mambety (Figure 2.2); Oumou Sy called for a moment of silence to honor all those no longer with us during her opening remarks for the Semaine Internationale de la Mode de Dakar; and Germaine Anta Gaye displayed the ex-voto boxes she made in homage to the late Ousmane Sembene. I take these examples to illustrate absence as a productive space that generates representational and interpretive practices. Insomuch as artists produce visual work reckoning absence, they also talk about and around it.

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Appendix: Interlocutors

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

This book would not have been possible without the generosity and expertise of the many individuals who shared their insights and time. Those listed below joined us in interviews and conversations. They appear in various places throughout our text, and here we recognize their contributions to our narratives.

Arnoldi

Sekou Camara

Budagari Coulibaly

Khadja Coulibaly

Nakamissa Coulibaly

Adama Diarra

Mei Diarra

Ousmane Diarra

Moussa Fane

Siriman Fane

Lynn Forsdale Denny

Kirango, Bamana youth association

Kirango, Boso youth association

Kirango, Sòmonò youth association

Adama Mara

Cheik Oumar Mara

Khalilou Tera

Mariam “Mamou” Thiero

Bakary Traore

deSouza and Purpura

Roberto Bedoya

Michael Jesse Jackson

Casper Bruun Jensen

Forni

Eveline Barsene

Omar Camara

Seyni Camara

Ndeye Cisse

Ferdinand De Jong

Aby Diagne

Frohne

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Conclusion Trading Places

Sandy Prita Meier Indiana University Press ePub

Today ornate doorways such as the one in figure 5.1 are often celebrated in the west as emblems of local authenticity and Swahili identity. Yet from a local perspective, and much to the discomfort of Africanist art historians, they give material form to the circulatory networks of the Indian Ocean. Their design program was originally meant to evoke a faraway place. Carvers were constantly changing their compositions by incorporating the latest styles and patterns of ornament from objects being imported from overseas. Yet, they did not simply produce copies, but masterfully transformed exotic forms to create works that exist at the edge of stylistic categories, such as African, Asian, and European. For example, the design of this door is typical of nineteenth-century innovations and fashions. This was a time when the tradition of carving doors reached new heights of intricacy and delicacy. As can be seen, carvers cultivated an Indian-inflected style, often preferring the lush ornamentation of British Raj woodwork. The pediment and central post feature minimalist rosettes and abstracted pineapples, their repeating forms creating a rhythmic movement along the horizontal and vertical planes of the massive doorway. Especially the restrained linearity of the floral motifs exemplifies the way local carvers created strikingly innovative works.1

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9. Who Owns the Past?: Constructing an Art History of a Malian Masquerade

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub

MARY JO ARNOLDI

 

Since the 1980s anthropologists have paid increasingly more attention to issues of ethnographic authority, fieldwork reciprocity, and the way that collaboration through interviews profoundly shapes the production of scholarly narratives.1 This chapter focuses on the critical role that interviews have played in my field research and in the writing of an art history of youth association masquerades in Mali.2 My analysis considers the ways that interviews are both collaborative and cumulative processes. I examine my interviews with various individuals and groups and look at the ways that my casual conversations, as well as more formal taped interviews with men and women performers and with male blacksmith-carvers, have been instrumental in the production of an art history of this art form. These collaborations represent different but intersecting domains of knowledge and experience that have each contributed in critical ways to shaping, reshaping, and extending the scholarly narrative about these masquerades.

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2 Economics and Restoration: The Story of a Neighborhood’s Rebirth

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

Bill Sturbaum

Our family moved to bloomington in 1963. it was a different city then. A railroad ran through the center of town dividing it socially and economically. East of the tracks was Indiana University, with large homes and expensive student rentals. West of the tracks was the city’s industrial heritage – the railroad, limestone mills, and a massive furniture factory, by then defunct – along with the modest homes originally built for workers.

We came in mid-August because I would be teaching at Bloomington High School. We wanted a house big enough for the seven of us – my wife, Helen, and I, along with our children, Karl, Chris, Arthur, Anne, and Ben. Everything we saw on the east side of town was beyond our price range, yet our realtor showed us nothing on the west side. So we spent our first school year in a duplex near the university. That was the year the Beatles became famous, and we learned their songs through the thin walls that separated our apartment from the one with boys and guitars.

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2 A “Curious” Minaret: Sacred Place and the Politics of Islam

Sandy Prita Meier Indiana University Press ePub

While stone architecture in general is important in local worldviews, only one type of masonry structure is essential for creating sacred place on the Swahili coast: a mosque. Port cities, such as Mombasa, Lamu, and Zanzibar, can claim being true stone towns precisely because their histories begin with the building of stone mosques. For example, Mombasan origin stories recount how founding father Shehe Mvita constructed the first stone mosque on Mombasa Island with the help of three mysterious men from “the North.” Their help came in the form of a new building material: lime mortar, the binding agent that makes stone masonry possible.1 The earliest written documentation of this event presents lime as miraculous matter: “The lime which the three strangers presented to Shehe was sufficient for building a mosque in a few days, whereupon these remarkable persons departed and constructed mosques in other places.”2 Transforming the architectonic order of Mombasa from earthen impermanence to stone permanence marks the beginning of Islamic time on Mombasa Island.

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1 - Normal Life in the Former Socialist City

Fehérváry, Krisztina Indiana University Press ePub

In the mid-1990s in Dunaújváros, half a decade after the fall of state socialism, long lines once again formed in front of shops, but now for lottery tickets. An editorial on the front page of the local newspaper attempted to articulate the sentiments of the people standing in these lines, people still living in concrete apartment blocks, whose standard of living had declined rather than improved in the tumultuous years since the incursion of market capitalism.

Most people know…that unfortunately in this world it takes a lot of money for a full life. If you want to update your library, travel, see the world; if you want to have a livable home, drive a normal car, and occasionally have a respectable dinner—for these you need a small fortune. (Dunaújvárosi Hírlap, June 3, 1997)

Throughout my fieldwork, people used terms like “livable,” “normal,” and “respectable” to refer to services, goods, and material worlds that met their expectations of life after the end of state socialism. New telephone systems, automatic teller machines, twenty-four-hour convenience stores, and courteous sales clerks were amenities that many Hungarians associated with the dignity accorded respectable citizens of a “First World.” In contrast, they understood obsolete technologies and infrastructures, corruption and rude behavior, and the frantic pace of everyday life to be vestiges of a discredited socialist system. Scholars have reported similar uses of “normal” throughout central Eastern Europe and the Baltics during this period, as people used it to refer to things that were clearly extraordinary in their local context, but were imagined to be part of average lifestyles in Western Europe or the United States.

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