Download e-book for iPad: The Power of the Between: An Anthropological Odyssey by Paul Stoller

By Paul Stoller

ISBN-10: 0226775348

ISBN-13: 9780226775340

ISBN-10: 0226775356

ISBN-13: 9780226775357

It's the anthropologist’s destiny to continually be among issues: international locations, languages, cultures, even realities. yet instead of lament this, anthropologist Paul Stoller the following celebrates the inventive strength of the among, exhibiting the way it can remodel us, altering our conceptions of who we're, what we all know, and the way we are living on the planet. starting along with his early days with the Peace Corps in Africa and culminating with a contemporary bout with melanoma, the facility of the among is an evocative account of the circuitous direction Stoller’s existence has taken, providing a desirable depiction of the way a profession is formed over many years of examining and study. Stoller imparts his collected knowledge no longer via grandiose pronouncements yet through drawing on his reward for storytelling. stories of his apprenticeship to a sorcerer in Niger, his reports with Claude Lévi-Strauss in Paris, and his friendships with West African road proprietors in ny urban accompany philosophical reflections on love, reminiscence, energy, braveness, health and wellbeing, and illness.Graced with Stoller’s trademark humor and narrative beauty, the facility of the among is either the tale of a unique occupation and a profound meditation on coming to phrases with the impermanence of all issues.

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These mud-brick compounds, which housed Mehanna’s more well-to-do families, lined seven dirt pathways that fanned out from a central square that bordered the river. The poorest residents lived in grass huts they built toward the outskirts of town. By Songhay standards, though, Mehanna was a relatively prosperous town. Its market, held on Thursdays, would draw hundreds of customers of various ethnicities: Tuareg men wrapped in indigo turbans; Fulan women, encased in rough-textured homespun indigo cloth and bedecked with heavy silver earrings that stretched out their earlobes; Yoruba men wearing long shirts fashioned from brightly patterned Dutch Wax cloth that covered a matching set of balloon trousers.

I flew to Niamey, got a ride to the Tillaberi bus deport, hired two boys to carry my gear, and walked over furrowed sands to the dune-top compound. For the first time in my field experience, I found myself relatively alone in the Songhay world of sorcery. What’s more, I had reservations about Moussa, who, as Adamu Jenitongo’s older son, had taken on the lifelong burden of being a sohanci. Moussa, who was tall and lean, had a face as beautifully proportioned as a realistic African mask: perfectly spaced black eyes, high symmetrical cheekbones, thin lips and a nose—neither short and fat nor long and angular—that complemented his other facial features.

But on that day, a rice farmer named Djibo, who happened to be in my house, saw what happened. Djibo, who was a sorko, a sorcerer among the Songhay people, interpreted this excretory act as a sign that I should become his apprentice. “Paul,” he said, after proclaiming his thanks to God, “I have seen a sign. ”1 26 EMBODIMENTS Deciding that this was an opportunity I could not pass up, I began a sometimes contentious apprenticeship with Sorko Djibo. He taught me incantations and showed me where to find plants used to treat people for physiological problems ranging from rheumatism to malaria.

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The Power of the Between: An Anthropological Odyssey by Paul Stoller


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