This remarkable book introduces us to four unforgettable Apache people, each of whom offers a different take on the significance of places in their culture. Apache conceptions of wisdom, manners and morals, and of their own history are inextricably intertwined with place, and by allowing us to overhear his conversations with Apaches on these subjects Basso expands our awareness of what place can mean to people. Most of us use the term sense of place often and rather carelessly when we think of nature or home or literature. Our senses of place, however, come not only from our individual experiences but also from our cultures. Wisdom Sits in Places, the first sustained study of places and place-names by an anthropologist, explores place, places, and what they mean to a particular group of people, the Western Apache in Arizona. For more than thirty years, Keith Basso has been doing fieldwork among the Western Apache, and now he shares with us what he has learned of Apache place-names--where they come from and what they mean to Apaches. "This is indeed a brilliant exposition of landscape and language in the world of the Western Apache. But it is more than that. Keith Basso gives us to understand something about the sacred and indivisible nature of words and place. And this is a universal equation, a balance in the universe. Place may be the first of all concepts; it may be the oldest of all words."--N. Scott Momaday "In Wisdom Sits in Places Keith Basso lifts a veil on the most elemental poetry of human experience, which is the naming of the world. In so doing he invests his scholarship with that rarest of scholarly qualities: a sense of spiritual exploration. Through his clear eyes we glimpse the spirit of a remarkable people and their land, and when we look away, we see our own world afresh."--William deBuys "A very exciting book--authoritative, fully informed, extremely thoughtful, and also engagingly written and a joy to read. Guiding us vividly among the landscapes and related story-tellings of the Western Apache, Basso explores in a highly readable way the role of language in the complex but compelling theme of a people's attachment to place. An important book by an eminent scholar."--Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
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Cultural anthropologist Keith H. Basso (1940–2013) was noted for his long-term research of the Western Apaches, specifically those from the modern community of Cibecue, Arizona, the site of his ethnographic and linguistic research for fifty-four years. One of his earliest works, The Cibecue Apache, has now been read by generations of students. It captures the true character of Apache culture not only because of its objective analyses and descriptions but also because of the author’s belief in allowing the people to speak for themselves. Basso learned their language, became a trusted friend and intimate, and returned to the field often to gather data, participate, and observe. Basso’s goal in this now-classic work is to describe Cibecue Apache perceptions, experiences, conflicts, and indecision. A primary aim is to depict portions of the Western Apache belief system, especially those dealing with the supernatural. Emphasis is also given to the girls’ puberty ceremony, its meaning and functions, as well as modern Apache economic and political life.
This is a remarkable series of personal narrations from Western Apaches before and just after the various agencies and sub-agencies were established. It also includes extensive commentary on weapons and traditions, with Apache words and phrases translated and complete annotation.
'The Whiteman' is one of the most powerful and pervasive symbols in contemporary American Indian cultures. Portraits of 'the Whiteman': linguistic play and cultural symbols among the Western Apache investigates a complex form of joking in which Apaches stage carefully crafted imitations of Anglo-Americans and, by means of these characterizations, give audible voice and visible substance to their conceptions of this most pressing of social 'problems'. Keith Basso's essay, based on linguistic and ethnographic materials collected in Cibecue, a Western Apache community, provides interpretations of selected joking encounters to demonstrate how Apaches go about making sense of the behaviour of Anglo-Americans. This study draws on theory in symbolic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and the dramaturgical model of human communication developed by Erving Goffman. Although the assumptions and premises that shape these areas of inquiry are held by some to be quite disparate, this analysis shows them to be fully compatible and mutually complementary.
When the Apache wars ended in the late nineteenth century, a harsh and harrowing time began for the Western Apache people. Living under the authority of nervous Indian agents, pitiless government-school officials, and menacing mounted police, they knew that resistance to American authority would be foolish. But some Apache families did resist in the most basic way they could: they resolved to endure. Although Apache history has inspired numerous works by non-Indian authors, Apache people themselves have been reluctant to comment at length on their own past. Eva Tulene Watt, born in 1913, now shares the story of her family from the time of the Apache wars to the modern era. Her narrative presents a view of history that differs fundamentally from conventional approaches, which have almost nothing to say about the daily lives of Apache men and women, their values and social practices, and the singular abilities that enabled them to survive. In a voice that is spare, factual, and unflinchingly direct, Mrs. Watt reveals how the Western Apaches carried on in the face of poverty, hardship, and disease. Her interpretation of her peopleÕs past is a diverse assemblage of recounted events, biographical sketches, and cultural descriptions that bring to life a vanished time and the men and women who lived it to the fullest. We share her and her familyÕs travels and troubles. We learn how the Apache people struggled daily to find work, shelter, food, health, laughter, solace, and everything else that people in any community seek. Richly illustrated with more than 50 photographs, DonÕt Let the Sun Step Over You is a rare and remarkable book that affords a view of the past that few have seen beforeÑa wholly Apache view, unsettling yet uplifting, which weighs upon the mind and educates the heart.
Landscapes are not just backdrops to human action; people make them and are made by them. How people understand and engage with their material world depends upon particularities of time and place. These understandings are dynamic, variable, contradictory and open-ended. Landscapes are thus always evolving and are often volatile and contested. They are also always on the move - people may or may not be rooted, but they have 'legs'. From prehistoric times onwards people have travelled, but the process of people-on-the-move - as tourists, or on global business, as migrant workers or political or economic refugees - has vastly accelerated. How and why do people who share the same landscape have different and often violently opposed ways of understanding its significance? How do people-on-the-move make sense of the unfamiliar? How do they create a sense of place? How do they rework the memories of places left behind? There is nothing easeful about the landscapes discussed in this book, which are often harsh-edged and troubled both socially and politically. The contributors tackle contested notions of landscape to explain the key role it plays in creating identity and shaping human behaviour. This landmark study offers an important contribution towards an understanding of the complexity of landscape.
Winner of CLR James Book Prize from the Working Class Studies Association and 2nd Place for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing. In 1980, Christine J. Walley’s world was turned upside down when the steel mill in Southeast Chicago where her father worked abruptly closed. In the ensuing years, ninety thousand other area residents would also lose their jobs in the mills—just one example of the vast scale of deindustrialization occurring across the United States. The disruption of this event propelled Walley into a career as a cultural anthropologist, and now, in Exit Zero, she brings her anthropological perspective home, examining the fate of her family and that of blue-collar America at large. Interweaving personal narratives and family photos with a nuanced assessment of the social impacts of deindustrialization, Exit Zero is one part memoir and one part ethnography— providing a much-needed female and familial perspective on cultures of labor and their decline. Through vivid accounts of her family’s struggles and her own upward mobility, Walley reveals the social landscapes of America’s industrial fallout, navigating complex tensions among class, labor, economy, and environment. Unsatisfied with the notion that her family’s turmoil was inevitable in the ever-forward progress of the United States, she provides a fresh and important counternarrative that gives a new voice to the many Americans whose distress resulting from deindustrialization has too often been ignored. This book is part of a project that also includes a documentary film and interactive website. For more information, and the chance to share your own stories, photos, and artefacts regarding the history of Southeast Chicago, please visit: http://www.exitzeroproject.org/
After more than fifty years of good health, anthropologist Paul Stoller suddenly found himself diagnosed with lymphoma. The only thing more transformative than his fear and dread of cancer was the place it ultimately took him: twenty-five years back in time to his days as an apprentice to a West African sorcerer, Adamu Jenitongo. Stranger in the Village of the Sick follows Stoller down this unexpected path toward personal discovery, growth, and healing. The stories here are about life in the village of the healthy and the village of the sick, and they highlight differences in how illness is culturally perceived. In America and the West, illness is war; we strive to eradicate it from our bodies and lives. In West Africa, however, illness is an ever-present companion, and sorcerers learn to master illnesses like cancer through a combination of acceptance, pragmatism, and patience. Stoller provides a view into the ancient practices of sorcery, revealing that as an apprentice he learned to read divining shells, mix potions, and recite incantations. But it wasn't until he got cancer that he realized that sorcery embodied a more profound meaning, one that every person could use: "Sorcery is a body of knowledge and practice that enables one to see things clearly and to walk with confidence on the path of fear."