The Culture Cult
Author: Roger Sandall
The Culture Cultis an acerbic critique of that longing widespread in society today to ?retreat from civilization.? From Rousseau and the Noble Savage to modern defenders of ethnicity such as Isaiah Berlin and Karl Polanyi, a prominent intellectual tradition has over-romanticized the virtues of tribal life. In contrast, another tradition, represented by Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, and Ernest Gellner, defends modern values and civil society. The Culture Cult discusses both sides of this divide between "culture" and "civilization," and between "closed" and "open" societies. The romantic insistence on the superiority of the primitive is increasingly grounded in a fictionalized picture of the past-a picture often created with the aid of well-meaning but misguided anthropologists. Such idealizations work to the detriment of the very people they are meant to help, for they isolate minorities from such undeniable benefits of modern society as literacy and health care, and discourage them from participating in modern life. Few will find comfort in The Culture Cult, but many will recognize a valuable criticism of currently popular social politics.
Exploring the Interior
Author: Karl S. Guthke
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
In this fascinating collection of essays Harvard Emeritus Professor Karl S. Guthke examines the ways in which, for European scholars and writers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, world-wide geographical exploration led to an exploration of the self. Guthke explains how in the age of Enlightenment and beyond intellectual developments were fuelled by excitement about what Ulrich Im Hof called "the grand opening-up of the wide world”, especially of the interior of the non-European continents. This outward turn was complemented by a fascination with "the world within” as anthropology and ethnology focused on the humanity of the indigenous populations of far-away lands – an interest in human nature that suggested a way for Europeans to understand themselves, encapsulated in Gauguin’s Tahitian rumination "What are we?” The essays in the first half of the book discuss first- or second-hand, physical or mental encounters with the exotic lands and populations beyond the supposed cradle of civilisation. The works of literature and documents of cultural life featured in these essays bear testimony to the crossing not only of geographical, ethnological, and cultural borders but also of borders of a variety of intellectual activities and interests. The second section examines the growing interest in astronomy and the engagement with imagined worlds in the universe, again with a view to understanding homo sapiens, as compared now to the extra-terrestrials that were confidently assumed to exist. The final group of essays focuses on the exploration of the landscape of what was called "the universe within”; featuring, among a variety of other texts, Schiller’s plays The Maid of Orleans and William Tell, these essays observe and analyse what Erich Heller termed "The Artist’s Journey into the Interior.” This collection, which travels from the interior of continents to the interior of the mind, is itself a set of explorations that revel in the discovery of what was half-hidden in language. Written by a scholar of international repute, it is eye-opening reading for all those with an interest in the literary and cultural history of (and since) the Enlightenment.
An anthropological memoir with a romantic twist. A Harvard student and an ex-cannibal may seem like an unlikely pair, but on a dance floor in Ecuador, their steps matched. Author Carla Seidl met Amazon-Jungle-born surfer Fredy Andi while teaching on the Galapagos Islands at age nineteen, and her life has never been the same since. Several years later, thinking that perhaps simple living was the key to happiness, Seidl returned to the islands to unearth more about Fredy's story and see if their connection, and his seemingly carefree lifestyle, were for real. The duo ended up traveling to the Amazon Jungle to try to find Fredy's family, and Seidl survived to tell the tale.
This book reviews the competing claims that works of art belong either to a particular people and place, or to humankind.
The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture provides readers with a concise, readable and scholarly introduction to twenty-first century approaches to the Bible. Consists of 30 articles written by distinguished specialists from around the world Draws on interdisciplinary and international examples to explore how the Bible has impacted on all the major social contexts where it has been influential – ancient, medieval and modern, world-wide Gives examples of how the Bible has influenced literature, art, music, history, religious studies, politics, ecology and sociology Each article is accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography Offers guidance on how to read the Bible and its many interpretations
The Tribal Imagination
Author: Robin Fox
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Fox traces our ongoing struggle to maintain open societies in the face of profoundly tribal human needs that, paradoxically, hold the key to our survival. This latest book ranges from incest and arranged marriage to poetry and myth, from human rights and vengeance to pop icons such as Seinfeld.
Coming of Age in Samoa
Author: Margaret Mead
Rarely do science and literature come together in the same book. When they do -- as in Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, for example -- they become classics, quoted and studied by scholars and the general public alike. Margaret Mead accomplished this remarkable feat not once but several times, beginning with Coming of Age in Samoa. It details her historic journey to American Samoa, taken where she was just twenty-three, where she did her first fieldwork. Here, for the first time, she presented to the public the idea that the individual experience of developmental stages could be shaped by cultural demands and expectations. Adolescence, she wrote, might be more or less stormy, and sexual development more or less problematic in different cultures. The "civilized" world, she taught us had much to learn from the "primitive." Now this groundbreaking, beautifully written work as been reissued for the centennial of her birth, featuring introductions by Mary Pipher and by Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson.
The Barren Years
Author: Robert Manne
In The Barren Years one of this country's most influential thinkers describes the changes in our political culture during the tenure of the Howard government. Robert Manne voted for John Howard in 1996 but as the Coalition government revealed its true character he became one of its most trenchant and articulate critics. In this compelling new book Manne describes a period in which we have lost opportunity after opportunity. Hopes for the republic and Aboriginal reconciliation are fading. The universities and the ABC are under siege. And refugees are incarcerated in prison-style camps. More than any other commentator Manne shows how social divisions between 'winners' and 'losers', between city and country, run deep. He analyses the One Nation phenomenon's refusal to die. How we reached the centenary of federation in an uneasy and uncertain mood. In The Barren Years Manne asks the basic question - what has gone wrong?
Beyond Good and Evil?
Author: Dennis Haskell, Megan McKinlay, Pamina Rich
Publisher: Uwa Pub
In this volume, writers and scholars from the region examine subjects ranging from the Japanese 'evil' of the Second World War to the appropriation of indigenous cultures and the ethics of biographical writing. Although diverse, the essays share an interest in the conflicts between relativism and fundamentalism, between uncertainty and sureness, that are so much with us in this fast developing region of the world.
In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.