76 Chapters
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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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1 Depopulation, Demolition, and Repopulation of the Village Sites

Noga Kadman Indiana University Press ePub

ON THE EVE of the violent events of 1948, the Arab population of British Mandatory Palestine amounted to 1.2 million, of them 850,000 within the borders of what is today recognized as the State of Israel proper; they constituted the great majority of the population of that area. Arab-Palestinian society of the time was largely agricultural, with some two-thirds of the Palestinian population before the war living in villages. Most of the Arab workforce in 1947 in Palestine worked in agriculture.1 On their land the Arab villagers cultivated nearly ten thousand acres of orchards, mostly citrus fruit (on the coastal plain) and olives (in the mountainous areas), as well as figs, grapes, deciduous fruits, and bananas. In the rest of the cultivated area the villagers grew vegetables, legumes, and grains.2

Most of the residents of Arab villages in Palestine were Sunni Muslim, with Christian, Druze, and Shi‘ite minorities present. The majority of the villages stood on hilltops, often built on top of, or in continuation of, much older settlements. In the mountain areas the houses were usually made of stone, and in the coastal plain houses were often constructed of mud.3 In the twentieth century, with the citrus boom, quality of life in the plain improved, and more modern houses began to appear. Every village typically had public structures for religious and social purposes, and later on schools were set up, usually in the largest building in the village.4

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Medium 9780253010469

5 On Loan from the Sea

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

Scott Russell Sanders

Why, you may ask, does a weathervane in the shape of a fish swim atop the dome of the county courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana, six hundred miles from the sea? The explanations that circulate hereabouts range from sober to silly. My own theory tends, I suppose, toward the crackpot end of the spectrum, but I will share it with you anyway, because it belongs to my private mythology of this place.

A fish, some argue, simply has the right contour for a weathervane, long and flat to catch the wind. Some speculate that a few of the families who settled the town in 1818 may have migrated to the hills of southern Indiana from Massachusetts, where codfish whirled upon rooftops. Some think the weathervane is modeled on the perch in nearby ponds, even though it’s the size of a ten-year-old child. Some explain the fish as a zoological compromise between Democrats, who wanted a rooster, and Republicans, who wanted an elephant. Some regard it as a symbol of Christ. Others see it as a warning that the actions of government, including those carried out in the courthouse below, may be fishy. Still others claim that the blacksmith who is given credit for hammering the weathervane out of a copper sheet and coating it with gold leaf in the 1820s actually brought it with him when he moved to Bloomington from Louisville, and thus the fish hails not from an ocean or pond but from a river, the mighty Ohio.

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Sandy Prita Meier Indiana University Press ePub

Aziz Ahmed, November 2005

Rahima Ali, May 2005

Bi Shuali Amran, May 2005

Sheikh Msellem Amin, January 2005

Fatuma Mbwana Amiri, March 2005

Hadija Mmwana Amiri, March 2005

Mzee Hamid Mohammad al Baloushi, 2004–2005, 2014

Ustadh Ahmad Nassir Juma Bhalo, February 2004 and July 2013

Mama Hubwa, 2004–2015

Abdul Rasul Hussein, April 2005

Zaiten Hussain, February, May 2005

Mohammad Jaffer, April 2005

Ma’allim Ali Jemadari, August 2003

Sheib Khamis, June 2005

Nawas Khan, September 2004–July 2005

Waffyahmed Kotaria, March 2005

Ustadh Khamis Al Kumri, April 2005

Mwalimu Mohammad Matano, July–August 2003, 2004–2005

Mohamed Abdallah Mohamed Matano, July 2013 and July 2014

Mohammad Miran, February 2005

Mohamed Mchulla, 2004, 2005, 2014, 2015

Sheikh Abdullahi Nasser, January, February, April 2006

Stambuli Abdullahi Nasser, February 2004, August 2005

Aisha Mohammad Nassir, 2005

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4 Naming and Mapping the Depopulated Village Sites

Noga Kadman Indiana University Press ePub

What is the name of this place? A few years ago there was a place and it had a name. The place is lost and the name is lost. What is left? At first, a name torn out of a place. Soon, that, too, is erased. Neither place nor name. . . .

—S. Yizhar, “The Silence of the Villages,” Stories of a Plain

NAMING A PLACE and presenting it on a map is an acknowledgment of its presence in the landscape, its historical importance, and its cultural significance. Most of the sites of depopulated Palestinian villages were never granted an official name in Israel, even though the traces of many still remain in the landscape, and despite the Israeli pretension of naming any geographical object in sight, including ruins. Even where names were given to village sites, in most cases the Arab name was not recognized: if the Arab name preserved a biblical name, that earlier name was restored as the official name; in other cases, village sites were given Hebraized names, which usually ignored the content of the Arab names and the cultural world that they reflect. Sometimes the new names were even devoid of any meaning in Hebrew.

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Medium 9780253006875

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.


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


Eveline Barsene

Omar Camara

Seyni Camara

Ndeye Cisse

Ferdinand De Jong

Aby Diagne


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

Joanna Grabski Indiana University Press ePub



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 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 9780253353627

4: Equality ~ Shared Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub



Transom over Dining Room Doors Church Family Dwelling House Hancock, Massachusetts


Transom windows, frequently placed by Shakers above inner as well as outer doors, provide a means to increase the light shared between neighboring rooms, and maintain this flow even when doors are fully closed. Interior transoms are typically set over doors connecting dark corridors and well-lit perimeter rooms, and take shapes ranging from multi-paned rectangles to arched or semicircular fanlights.

Fanlight between Kitchen and Dining Room Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Arched Transom over Infirmary Door Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky


The stretching of light, and the open feeling, afforded by an interior window are especially impressive when able to transform an utterly mundane space, such as a back stair or closet. An ingenious device to siphon daylight deeply into a building, this glazed opening serves also to share illumination between rooms demanding acoustic separation, so as to spread light in a peaceful way, free of disrupting noise.

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4 The Old Library Debate: How Bloomington, Indiana Preserved Its Carnegie Library

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

Elizabeth Schlemmer

Carnegie libraries are a common sight in cities and towns across the United States, monuments not only to the steel magnate whose wealth made their construction possible, but also to the largely unknown communities of people who planned and preserved them. Every Carnegie library building stands for the work of local citizens who believed in its worth.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in the United States, having grown Carnegie Steel into the largest and most profitable business in the nation. After selling his enterprise to JP Morgan in 1901, Carnegie committed the remainder of his life to philanthropic and scholarly pursuits. As outlined in his 1889 essay on the disposal of riches, “The Gospel of Wealth,” he considered libraries among the institutions most deserving of support, and he required would-be beneficiaries to invest in their libraries’ establishment.

To be eligible for a library grant, a community had to demonstrate need, provide land for building, and promise to support and maintain the library with annual tax funds equal to ten percent of the grant amount. Local leaders hired the architect for the project, planned the design, stocked the building with books, and employed librarians.

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4 At Home in the World: Living with Transoceanic Things

Sandy Prita Meier Indiana University Press ePub

Swahili coast interior design and ornament invites an extended exploration of the meaning of objects when their “life” is shaped by transoceanic circulation. As we have seen in the case of Zanzibar, its modern palaces existed at the intersection of new and old building cultures. Sultan Barghash deployed a multiplicity of forms and technologies to manufacture architectural theaters of triumph and pleasure. His project was part of a larger nineteenth century phenomenon: the desire to transform east Africa’s port cities into strategic sites of imperial power and capitalist modernization. This chapter presents a more intimate analysis of the social lives enacted within the architectural spaces of the Swahili city. I explore the reasons why imported ornament and objects captured the imagination of Swahili coast residents for centuries and how the impact of industrial modernity intensified the local desire to collect things from overseas.

People give meaning to objects by arranging them in relationship to other things. The production of meaning therefore has a physical effect on the material environment, since such arrangements change how we experience a particular room or material landscape. When an object comes to rest in a new place it also expresses a new idea or concept. Through its arrangement in real space it will become commodity, artifact, art, souvenir, or relic. How objects take on different values and meanings as they move through time and space is now often called the “social life of things,” after Arjun Appadurai’s seminal edited book of the same title, published in 1988. But it is people who set this life in motion through various actions upon things, including trading them, buying them, or placing them on altars or graves. In a sense the agency of things is always constituted by someone’s actions. Scholars such as Patricia Spyer and Nicholas Thomas, among others, have complicated our understanding of human–object relationships by foregrounding how the act of appropriating things from a foreign society simultaneously consolidates and displaces existing systems of signification.1 The moment of displacement from one context to another brings the thing into sharp focus: it presents the object laid bare, before it is assimilated and before it transforms and is transformed by its new context. When objects are displaced, we become particularly aware of their physical presence and materiality. They stand out. This is especially the case with trade objects that circulate across physical borders and move into vastly different cultural settings. Because they are exotic or foreign they tend to retain something uncanny and untranslatable about their form, even long after they have come to rest in their new homes. We can apprehend them as a thing, or we see their pure presence, outside of the cultural meaning projected onto them, more easily. This thing-ness is exactly what was cultivated as an aesthetic in the interior spaces of the Swahili coast. The Swahili culture of things celebrates the ability to displace objects and values across great distances.

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Medium 9780253337566


Henry Glassie Indiana University Press ePub

Architecture works in space as history works in time. History interrupts time’s ceaseless flow, segmenting and reordering it on behalf of the human need for meaning. Architecture intrudes in the limitless expanse of space, dividing it into useful, comprehensible pieces. Converting space into places through disruption, architecture brings meaning to the spatial dimension.

With astronomy as the extreme instance, the architectural impulse begins in exploration and naming. The baby crawls upon a softness that matures in meaning as time passes and names pile up: the softness is a rug, it is a red rug, it is a mediocre late nineteenth-century eagle Kazak. The explorer ventures into unknown territory to parcel and claim it with names that commemorate his heroism. Through time, names accumulate on the land and combine to recall its history: the sequence of settlement, the conflict between the invader and the native.

The name is a fleeting means for bringing history into space and marking the land as meaningful. Marking becomes firmer with physical alteration, when a trail is blazed through a forest, or one stone is piled on another to set a limit. More stones confirm the limit and rise into walls: the wall the Chinese built that turned the mounted warriors westward toward Europe, the wall the Romans struck across Britain to cede the heathy highlands to the wild men of the north, the walls of forts along the borders, the walls of prisons and gated communities, the walls of the cottage where the bold thresherman, his day’s work done, dandles the baby on his knee.

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Henry Glassie Indiana University Press ePub

In Virginia and in Massachusetts, the first English settlement was a village. Providing protection and a familiar experience, the village brought unity to the disparate populations gathered at Jamestown and Plymouth. At the time of settlement, early in the seventeenth century, the England they left was in the midst of the most revolutionary change since the Neolithic. Openfield villages a thousand years old still stood on the lowlands, but the process of enclosure, powered by money and law, was reordering the landscape.

The open fields were surveyed, divided, consolidated, and fenced — enclosed — and separate farms were created on the arable lowlands. Village people resisted, leveling new walls, uprooting new hedges, and formulating loose customs into firm traditions designed to counter the expansion of law. Their heroic actions attracted the attention and won the sympathy of intellectuals, and the study of custom and tradition, of folklore, was born in England.

Mormon Village. Paris, Idaho. 1990

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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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8 Passing Through: Historic Preservation in Pike County’s Patoka Bottoms

Nancy R Hiller Quarry Books ePub

Edith Sarra

The place was, and still is, south of where county roads 300 West and 200 South intersect, approximately eleven miles below Petersburg in Pike County, Indiana. If you were to turn west from State Road 57 onto County Road 200 South, just north of the Gibson County line, and follow that road until you reach the first crossroads, you could turn again, south this time, and find yourself, as I did ten years ago, on what the late nineteenth-century histories of Pike and Gibson Counties call “the old state road.”

The origin of this road is difficult to pinpoint. A survey of Pike County Commissioners Reports (1817–1826) suggests it may have been constructed as early as 1825. For more than a century, until it was bypassed in 1936 by State Road 57, it served as the main route between Petersburg, the Pike County seat, and what is now Oakland City in eastern Gibson County. Follow this road south and it will plunge you soon enough into a wide floodplain flanked on either side by crop fields. An old set of oil well storage tanks stands off to the left here, just beyond where the road makes a short switchback along the bluff as it drops into the broad valley of the Patoka River’s South Fork.

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