214 Chapters
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Medium 9780253009036

13 Rhetorics of Resistance: The Port Huron Project

Daniel J Sherman Indiana University Press ePub


When I started teaching at Brown University in 2005, I was surprised by how little antiwar protest there was on campus. Brown has a long history of student activism: the eruptions of 1968 culminated in Brown’s adoption of progressive new curriculum drafted by students, and in 1985 students erected shanties and staged hunger strikes to protest the university’s investments in companies doing business in South Africa. It was clear that my students objected to American involvement in Iraq and the Bush administration’s disregard for civil liberties, but they seemed to believe that resistance was futile. It is not hard to imagine why. In 2000 they witnessed a presidential election that many believed had been stolen. In 2003 many students participated in the largest antiwar protests in history (the BBC estimated that six to ten million people in sixty countries protested the imminent invasion of Iraq on February 15 and 16 of that year), but the Bush and Blair administrations were undeterred.1 In 2004 many students worked on John Kerry’s presidential campaign only to see George W. Bush reelected by a narrow margin amid accusations of voting fraud. Their formative political experiences had left them demotivated, if not cynical.

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Medium 9780253007414

14. Apprentices and Entrepreneurs: The Workshop and Style Uniformity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Edited by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Indiana University Press ePub

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir

One of the major questions in African art scholarship concerns the degree to which the African artist was and is free to invent. Despite the early insights of Boas (1955[1927]:155) and his followers concerning artistic invention in oral cultures, the accepted picture until recently was that of the African artist as slave to tradition. He could not innovate because the pressures of traditional patronage forbade it. Since that time, numerous field researchers have shown that innovation can and does occur when the conditions are favorable. During the same period, the documentation of African art has expanded dramatically, and with it has come confirmation that the old “one tribe, one style” model fails to describe the stylistic diversity found in most art-producing African cultures (Kasfir 1984). We are, therefore, at a point where everyone recognizes that style varies from artist to artist as well as over time, even in quite highly structured and conservative societies. But how do these variations arise? And, more important, why do they occur much more often in some societies than in others? The purpose of this chapter is to examine the dynamics through which an artist’s personal style is encoded along with the limitations placed upon stylistic change. Although I will make less mention of it, most of the arguments hold true for iconography as well, simply because the two are often inseparable. I will focus on two major aspects of the question: the way in which the artist acquires a style, and the effects of patronage on his ability to change it. In doing so I am faced with a methodological dilemma: to generalize is to invite oversimplification of very complex creative processes, but to maintain that because every African culture is unique, it is not susceptible to comparative analysis is to reinforce stereotypical ideas concerning the lack of any common ground between creativity in literate and in oral cultures. Because of this problem, I have found it useful to compare some of the findings of other researchers with my own answers to these questions. As more documentation becomes available, these comparisons become increasingly valid.

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Medium 9780253340481

Chapter One The Pinkas

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253006875

5. Narrating the Artist: Seyni Camara and the Multiple Constructions of the Artistic Persona

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub



Exhibition narratives have long-lasting power in determining the ways in which artists and their work are perceived and appreciated by the public and scholars. Even when the stance taken by curators of successful exhibitions is criticized by reviewers and academics, the implications of their discourse may persist for years. Sometimes, the intellectual and political narratives informing an exhibition prove to be so powerful that they completely mute the personal input of the artists included in the show. At other times, these narratives may subvert or reinforce what artists say about their own work. In all cases, these narratives have great potential to define artists’ works and professional personas.

In this chapter I address the relationship between curatorial narratives and personal self-presentation by focusing on Seyni Camara, a Senegalese sculptor from Casamance, who made her first appearance on the international art scene in the oft-cited seminal exhibition “Magiciens de la Terre” (1989).1 Apparently indifferent to the concerns of art critics, Camara presents herself in a way that seemingly replicates the framing proposed by “Magiciens de la Terre.” However, a closer look at the narratives developed by Camara and her critics reveals a much more complex picture in which personal visions are entangled with local cultural references and global ambitions in an ever-evolving negotiation.

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Medium 9780253348920

Coda: From Spears to Guns in the North Rift

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir Indiana University Press ePub



This book has asked: What happens to a complex representation when the cultural script undergoes a major change? The original context was British colonialism, but just such a thing has occurred again during the decade in which this book was researched and written. In this last section, I attempt an updated reading on the fighting spear in Samburu culture, the evidence for which comes from reports on the radio, on the Internet, and in newspapers and from first-hand accounts within Samburu District.

In Idomaland, it took the Pax Britannica and the banning of headhunting in 1917 to aestheticize and memorialize warriorhood and turn a disappearing supply of enemy crania into carved representations and a war dance into a masquerade. Nearly a century later, Samburu warriorhood is still a recognized and clearly marked stage of life, but in the past decade its main symbol, the spear, has begun to undergo a similar kind of transformation.

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Medium 9780253349118

4. Shopping for Clothes

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

THE OLD CITY OF BANARAS runs along the Ganges, the river of the goddess Ganga. Wide steps of stone lead down to the ghats at the riverside. Pilgrims and local people descend for prayer, for bathing and washing clothes. Ghats in sequence line the riverfront. Two of them are “burning ghats,” used for cremation—Harishchandra to the south and Manikarnika to the north1—where the continual burning of bodies attracts curious tourists and the local hustlers who offer to take them to see the “dead body fire.” Eighty-four ghats string along the river, but most of the activity, social and religious, takes place on the steps of the “main ghat.” Situated in the middle and numbered forty-one, Dashaswamedh Ghat is the place of the ancient Ten Horse Sacrifice. Here, Lord Brahma came disguised as an ascetic and requested the King of Kashi, Divodasa, to sponsor an extravagant version of the horse sacrifice, the aswamedh. The ritual was flawlessly performed, and now all those who bathe here receive the blessings of the horse sacrifice.2

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Medium 9780253349118

7. Kanhaiya Lal

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

MUCH OF THE JEWELRY produced in the city of Banaras is sold at one of the four Kanhaiya Lal stores. The process of selling and buying jewelry has many similarities with the selling and buying of clothing, and some marked differences. The purchase of expensive ornaments for weddings is analogous to the purchase of fine Banarasi saris: both are selected carefully for special occasions. Everyday jewelry—inexpensive toe rings, say, or silver anklets—is bought with the casual ease of the salwar suit for daily wear. But, in general, the big difference between clothing and jewelry is that jewelry is more costly and permanent; it provides “economic security” to the owner. It can be sold quickly if a sudden need for money arises, and its expense and permanence naturally add a level of attentiveness to the process of buying it. In this chapter, we will look at the kinds of jewelry people buy, who buys it, and why; we will consider the factors governing a customer’s choice and, finally, the persuasive tactics of the salesman. Although Banaras has hundreds of commercial jewelry outlets—most of them tiny one-room shops—we will focus our attention on the largest of them, the Kanhaiya Lal franchise of stores.

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Medium 9781574412208

CHAPTER ONE: An Introduction

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF



The practice of segregation extended to the creative arts communities as well.

Negroes were permitted entrance to art museums on only one day of the week, usually Thursday. Black people were allowed to sit only in the back of the movie theatres or in the balcony. Few serious dramatic roles were available for black actors and actresses. Great Negro musicians were often submitted to the indignities of segregation as they toured the country. Despite the fact that there were talented and skilled black artists, recognition and therefore financial success were commonly denied the visual artist of color. It was as though the black people of the

United States were, as Ralph Ellison said, nearly invisible.

So when young John Biggers entered college at Hampton Institute, Hampton,

Virginia, in 1941, he registered with the intention of learning a practical trade, such as plumbing. But a visionary teacher opened the doors of possibility to this gifted young man. John Biggers left that institution in 1946 as a deeply committed artist, knowing that his calling would be to tell the honest story of the Negro in

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Medium 9780253007438

7 · Art Évo on the Chaussée d’Ixelles

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

Africa doesn’t exist. I know. I’ve been there.


Storms took Lusinga with him to Europe in another way. When his men brought him the chief’s head, they also brought Bwana Boma a most remarkable wooden figure embodying Swift-of-Foot’s dynastic title and matrilineage.1 Storms carried this and other trophies back to Belgium with him, and a series of photographs taken in 1929 show the figure in the drawing room of his maison de maître (row house) at 146 Chaussée d’Ixelles in Brussels (fig. 7.1). There it stands among geometrically arrayed weapons and carefully composed displays of souvenirs from Lubanda and the other African locales visited by the lieutenant.

The discussion to follow is based upon the assumption that the salon and another room, also photographed in 1929, were still arranged as Storms knew them before his death in 1918. No documentation proves or disproves this assertion, and in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was common for mourning rooms to be preserved as they had been enjoyed by deceased loved ones in “an implied narrative of melancholy.”2 Indeed, a velvet rope can be seen to transect the salon in one of the pictures, as though setting portions of the room off-limits to visitors and underscoring the likelihood that the Widow Storms kept the room as her husband had last known it. That the couple had no children reinforces the possibility that the rooms were left as shared by the couple in their later years. Furthermore, one of the photos shows a desk in the corner of the drawing room. Papers are carefully arranged to one side of a blotter, and a lamp has a shade with an image of African women bearing loads on their heads. One can imagine that it was while seated here that Bwana Boma lost himself in reverie and letters, surrounded by vestiges of his brief moment of glory in the Congo.

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Medium 9780253348920

9. Samburu Warriors in Hollywood Films: Cinematic Commodities

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir Indiana University Press ePub



Prior to the 1970s, the Samburu living in the closed Northern Frontier District of Kenya were known only to their fellow pastoralists and a few district administrators and traders. Like Papua New Guinea highlanders, their entry into the global flow is recent, so their exoticism quotient is still high. The way they have been represented in commercial feature films and some of the ways the Samburu have learned through this experience to trade on their own commodification form two aspects of a complex story. In addition, Samburu perceptions of the films and their making were markedly different from those of the filmmakers, and I examine these contrasts in interpretation for what they reveal about cultural identity and its volatility.


In Justin Cartwright’s 1993 novel Masai Dreaming, the protagonist-author is in East Africa researching and writing a film script about the incommensurate lives of Claudia, an ill-fated young French Jewish anthropologist in the early 1940s and her equally ill-fated Maasai lover, Tepilit. The writer discovers that Claudia’s legitimacy among the Maasai with whom she lived was undermined by an accident involving an American film crew and a staged lion hunt that went tragically wrong and resulted in the death of two warriors and a major fight between two Maasai sections.

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Medium 9780253340481

Chapter Twelve What, How, and When: On My Art and Myself

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253353801

6 The Big Lebowski and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Joshua Kates

Let me begin by historicizing, not irony, but the Dude, though these two options may turn out to be closer than one suspects. The link between the Dude, the hero of the Coen brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski, and the era of the 1960s has seemed to many incontestable. I propose, however, not the 1960s themselves, but a certain reception and interpretation of this era in the 1970s as Jeff’s actual socio-cultural reference point.

Indeed, at issue in the character and way of life of Jeff—as his homonym, the Big Lebowski, points out—is the fate of the already failed revolutionary hopes of the 1960s, as these have been taken up and “processed” by the 1970s. Jeff as we are shown him, in fact, has no living contact with that earlier era. The Dude cannot even be imagined actually doing any of the earlier deeds attributed to him, or to his supposed archetype Jeff “the Dude” Dowd: taking over campus buildings, writing the Port Huron Statement, etc. So, too, from the beginning of Lebowski, Lebowski little and big are distinguished along the axis of activity and quiescence, laziness and achievement (suited to the reference of the 1970s), not in terms of politics or political commitment (as would befit the 1960s). Big Lebowski is credited with being an achiever at least five times after the film’s opening, and even the doting cowboy narrator calls the Dude the laziest man in L.A. (Of course, by the end of the film, the attribute of achievement having been stripped from the putatively “larger” Lebowski, and Jeff having fathered a still smaller Lebowski, it is not clear who really is the big Lebowski: perhaps the larger-than-life, and about to become large with child, Maude Lebowski?)

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Medium 9780253015754

6. Professionalizing Childhood: Nollywood and the New Youth Transnationalism

Noah A. Tsika Indiana University Press ePub


It would be difficult to overstate the paradoxical dilemmas facing African child performers, who tend to inspire hope while evoking fear. Over the past several years, I have encountered numerous Nollywood fans who criticize the industry for, in their eyes, failing to facilitate child stardom, and for forcing them to accept adult icons Ramsey Nouah, Mercy Johnson, Genevieve Nnaji, and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (among many others) in youth roles. While acknowledging that it would be impossible to uncover any one reason for this contentious industrial trend, I nevertheless set out to better understand it. I found, almost at once, that fans’ overwhelmingly negative reactions to age-inappropriate casting—to, specifically, the casting of obvious adults in the roles of children—had much to do with these fans’ aspirations for Nollywood itself, with their collective hope that the industry might one day achieve a level of aesthetic realism commensurate with perceived global standards. While an orientation toward iconographic realism has fueled the so-called New Nollywood Cinema, with its focus on the ontology of the photographic image, it is clear that it extends as well to age, generating fan demand for the development of child stars to tackle child roles.

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Medium 9781538119983

Guest Editors Bios

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Guest Editors Bios

Consuelo Sendino is a paleontologist working as a curator of paleoinvertebrates in the Department of Earth Sciences of the Natural History Museum, London, since 2008. She is responsible for the fossil bryozoans, sponges, and worms as well as the Fossil Historical Collections. Consuelo has more than 20 years of experience, previously working as a curator at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid and as a project coordinator for GBIF. Her work includes not only the care of the collections but also participation in exhibitions, specimen-based research, fieldwork, and public outreach to promote the collections and digital curation and to make sure the collections fulfill the museum’s policy. She has a Ph.D. in geology and has experience in teaching master’s students and co-advising Ph.D.s.

Margot Note has 20 years of experience in information work in the national and international sectors. As a certified archivist and certified records manager, she is also the founder and principal of Margot Note Consulting, LLC, a New York City–based archives and records management consulting company. She is the author of Managing Image Collections: A Practical Guide (2011), Project Management for Information Professionals (2015), and Creating Family Archives: How to Preserve Your Papers and Photographs (2017, 2019) as well as numerous chapters, essays, and reviews. She received her M.A. in history from Sarah Lawrence College and holds a master’s in library and information science and post-master’s in archives and records management, both from Drexel University. At Sarah Lawrence, she is a professor in the graduate women’s history program, the first graduate degree program in women’s history in the United States.

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Medium 9780253008527

3 - The Second Generation of Hoosier Plein Air Painters

Indiana Plein Air Painters Association Quarry Books ePub

When he sold his portion of the Hermitage in Brookville to J. Ottis Adams in 1906, T. C. Steele had already identified his new painting ground. After exploring the rugged appeal of Brown County, he'd discovered more than sixty acres for sale on a hilltop near Belmont, between Nashville and Bloomington. He bought the land and hired a local builder, William Quick, to construct his new studio home.

While overseeing the work, Steele had an unexpected visitor. Despite the isolation of his wilderness home site, an artist named Adolph R. Shulz (1869–1963) showed up one spring day in 1907 to meet him and see his building project. “He [Shulz] was immensely pleased with Brown County, and this region especially,” Steele wrote to his wife-to-be, Selma Neubacher (1870–1945), “and said if he could find a place to board, he might bring his family and spend the summer. Some day artists will come to this county. So possibly you and I will be pioneers to blaze the way for future artists.”1

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