76 Chapters
Medium 9780253009913

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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Medium 9780253010469

12 Guinea Hens in the Churchyard: Signposts of Maple Grove Road

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

Lauren Coleman

The first time my husband and I drove maple grove road, a rural historic district near Bloomington, Indiana, we were surprised. From the descriptions given us by friends, all of whom praised its rural charm, we had formed an expectation of idyllic, uninterrupted farmland dotted with benevolent old farmhouses. The farmland was still there. But so many of the houses were distinctly modern; the kind with faux-brick façades and preternaturally green lawns; the kind you can’t imagine, a hundred years from now, standing, let alone eliciting the pleasure of the district’s few remaining aged farmhouses, which are as wholly right in their environment as the enormous trees that shade them.

I am a twenty-eight-year-old woman from Southern California, where iconic, early twentieth-century Spanish Colonials and Craftsman bungalows coexist with vast tracts of McMansions. My time in Indiana is brief and somewhat arbitrary, the result of my husband’s three-year graduate program. I am a vegetarian of twenty-one years (not, I like to think, of the proselytizing variety; rather of the “this is comfortable for me” variety) who subscribes to homesteading magazines with headlines such as “Butcher Your Own Hogs!” and “Onions: Truffles of the Poor.” Although I do not identify with a sub-culture, I acknowledge that I am somewhat of a cliché: a young, college-educated, temporarily (and not all that uncomfortably) lower-income person, yearning in a vague and naïve way toward a rural way of life I know very little about. At present, my efforts to access this life are essentially limited to – ironically – spending money: I pore through my homesteading magazines; I splurge on organic tomatoes at the farmers’ market; I plant carrot seeds that languish in the clay soil of our side yard. My husband and I talk earnestly of pint-sized houses, backyard chickens, herb gardens. I imagine a life in which I milk goats, bake whole grain bread from scratch, and sell some sort of felt craft on Etsy. In other words, I’m sort of annoying, in the way my husband’s precocious freshman students (“I’m going to get my Ph.D., become a professor at Yale, and write for the New Yorker on the side”) are annoying. Not because my daydreams are wrong or bad, but because they reek of inexperience, a lack of acquaintance with the realities of goat poop (Plate 13). And because they make of farming and livestock a pretty game, where once people lived and died – indeed, still live and die – by poor soil and mastitis.

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Medium 9780253006875

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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Medium 9780253019097

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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Medium 9780253009913

8 - Heterotopias of the Normal in Private Worlds

Fehérváry, Krisztina Indiana University Press ePub

IN 1997, I met a local journalist who wrote for the steel mill newspaper. When I explained my research to her, she immediately understood it to be about the relationship between one's living space and one's sense of self in the world. She referred me to an article she had written on a new local handyman business that specialized in refurbishing panel apartments. I reproduce the first part of it here, as it gives articulate form to narratives and expressions in regular circulation during the late 1990s in Dunaújváros, a narrative that will feel familiar to the reader of this book. It is a narrative of recent history and of the expectations for and disappointments in the system change. It is also a narrative about the resilience of the idea that transformations to one's home can produce transcendent transformations to one's life. And finally, it is a narrative that hints more broadly at the emerging relationship between one's private home life and the wider sociopolitical and economic order. The title of the article? “My home, my castle!” (Kozma 1995).

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