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7 Anecdotes and the Literary Character

Ray Cashman Indiana University Press ePub

If Aghyaran anecdotes are uniquely suited for contemplating the characters of those people depicted in them, then we need to know more about the issue of character. Of course, the term “character” has several meanings. “Character” may have an evaluative connotation when defined as a person’s relative moral excellence. “Character” may also have the more neutral connotation of an individual’s disposition or essential nature. In this chapter, I am concerned with “character” in the sense of an individual portrayed in narrative. In local character anecdotes these portrayals are established through various strategies for displaying psychological and ethical traits. These traits distinguish one character from another, perhaps assigning a character to a recognizable type and allowing that character to embody a given ideological stance. Put another way, my task in this chapter is to discuss character in literary terms. At issue here is what narrative strategies are employed in local character anecdotes in Aghyaran to depict personality.

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A Tribute to Ali Mazrui

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Ali Mazrui. Photo by Seifudein Adem. ©2011

LET ME SPEAK briefly to Mazrui’s love of writing, his commitment to scholarship, and his position on issues of justice in general. Mazrui loved writing, and in 1974, he told us why:

[T]his tremendous urge to communicate . . . This is why I write at all, why I write so much, why I write on such varied subjects. I have a constant urge to try and share with others what I think are glimpses I have had . . . When I want to communicate any particular thought that has occurred to me, a) I want to work it out and b) I want to communicate it to others. I have to work it out. I work it out in the writing. Having worked it out, I want somebody else to know what occurs to my mind, to my being.

In order to play Boswell to Mazrui’s Samuel Johnson someday, hopefully, I kept more than 5,000 pages of handwritten correspondence with him. This collection bears testimony to Mazrui’s love of writing, a collection that includes his instantaneous thoughts and immediate reactions in writing when he was pleased and when he was less-than-pleased.

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Conclusion: The Virtual Village

Deirdre McKay Indiana University Press ePub

AS MIGRANTS KEEP HOLD of the intimate relationships between home and abroad, the ways they think and feel about themselves remain located in village relations. Having demonstrated this through the ethnographic detail of Haliap and of Angelina’s and Luis’s lives, I now turn to considering places and people more broadly. Though particular, these experiences can nonetheless tell us more about the lives of the 3.6 million Filipino temporary migrants working and living outside their nation and the places they have left behind. What I have described through their stories here is a pattern, a virtual village that reworks relationships between locality, meaning people’s sense of placeness, and their sense of themselves in the world, meaning subjectivity, as mediated by the state and its absent presence. Personhood in this, the virtual village, remains relational rather than individuated, and people have a sense of themselves that is at once cosmopolitical and tied to locality yet simultaneously state-oriented, though they are unable to establish the kind of relationship with the state that they seek. In what follows, I unpack the more general attributes of the virtual village, returning to the ethnic parade and the questions it poses.

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Chapter 3: Healing in Umbanda

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

Continuing with our review of positive spirit possession, we want to treat Umbanda next. This Brazilian religion has a complex history, with its roots reaching back into Africa, Europe, and Indian America. The sugar plantations in the northeastern part of Brazil employed African slaves in the sixteenth century. They brought with them their own religious observances from Dahomey, the Congo, and Angola. They also carried along the Yoruba tradition, a syncretic form of which evolved into Haitian vodun, which we touched on in chapter 1. Gradually, beliefs concerning the Catholic saints of the plantation owners and the African gods began to overlap; they became syncretized. When in 1888 the slaves were emancipated in Brazil, they began moving south, into the cities that offered jobs in their developing industries. Once there, the Afro-Brazilians started cult centers for the practice of their various religions. These were already syncretic, some even incorporating American Indian traits. But they varied according to which of the African traditions was predominant.

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6 Divinity, Division, and Belonging

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

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