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2 Toba Batak Selves: Personal, Spiritual, Collective

KATHLEEN M ADAMS Indiana University Press ePub

Andrew Causey

Who is “me”? For the Toba Bataks of North Sumatra, Indonesia, probing that question might take a lifetime. My first experience with the complexity of a Toba Batak notion of self occurred when I was listening to my carving teacher’s wife, Ito, talk about one of their sons, a young man who had serious learning difficulties and who was recalcitrant and mischievous. Their son always played with children much younger than himself, or played by himself; he spent hours toying with kittens, often chatting with them. The other children liked him, but it was clear that he was unlike the others. When Ito spoke about him, she had a kindly and bemused tone, and once told me, “Yes, he is different, but we have to be careful because his spirit is very strong.” I was not certain what she meant, so she gave me an example.

She told me that some years earlier he had repeatedly asked her for a red plastic toy car from the market. The only toys her eight children owned were homemade, constructed out of drinking straws or rubber bands, and Ito explained that the family could not afford such an extravagance, especially not for a young man who was too old for such things. He persisted, not begging or cajoling, but simply stating over and over that he wanted the toy car. She refused. He persisted. After a month of this, she told me, he fell out of a tree and broke his arm in such a way that required an expensive trip to a specialist. They had to ask her husband Partoho’s sister to sell her only gold necklace and then they borrowed the money she received. “After that,” Ito continued, “it was clear I had to buy the toy for him.” Her husband Partoho nodded his head in agreement as she stated the conclusion to the story.

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Medium 9780253356338

6 Saint George the Anatolian: Master of Frontiers

DIONIGI ALBERA Indiana University Press ePub


Translated by David Macey

The Valiant Maid (Mother of Digenis) and the Saracen

There is fighting in the East and fighting in the West

Learning of this, a beautiful woman goes off to war.

Dressed as a man, the beautiful warrior takes up her arms.

The saddle of her horse is decorated with serpents,

The harness fastened with vipers.

With one prick of the spur, her horse covers forty leagues,

With a second, she is in the thick of the battle.

Elle moves on and they get out of her way. When she recedes no one sees her.

As she turns about, the straps break

And reveal the golden apples hidden beneath the linen.

The Saracen sees her from the top of a mount.

“Do not be cowards, my gallant men,

War is feminine, the prize is a bride!”

The beauty hears him and runs to seek refuge with Ai Giorgi.

“My lord St. George, hide me, virgin that I am.

And I will build you a gold door to go in

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Medium 9780253356772

2 Obligations to Dogs

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

Walking the dog was never a task Joseph Chisale cherished. Tending the garden of his European master, who was the only doctor at the nearby rural clinic, was a far more agreeable pursuit, and even cooking for the master involved skills and responsibilities that made the occupational category of “houseboy” a source of some respect in the village. Twice a day the master’s Alsatian, the dog that had traveled with him from Europe, had to be taken for a walk, each time Chisale wondering whether the master’s residence in his own village was such a blessing after all. Insolent children would run around him during the promenade, the cheekiest of them trying to provoke barking from the exotic creature. Adults would maintain a polite façade, their smiles and greetings, Chisale often felt, concealing their commiseration over the humiliation brought by a lack of opportunities in the village. Chisale suspected that the master would not have had the courage to face the commotion his outings with the dog would have caused in the village. The master’s residence there had done nothing to change his status as a stranger, or to improve his communication skills in Chicheŵa.

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Medium 9780253337566

Comparison in Ireland

Henry Glassie Indiana University Press ePub

Thinking like that about the architectural change in Virginia, I proposed to test the idea with something like science. I knew from the superb writings of E. Estyn Evans that Ireland divided into two great architectural regions. The houses of the east, where the English settled, had central chimneys and linear plans like those of southeastern England. The houses of the Celtic west had chimneys on the ends, and they were socially open and pierced asymmetrically like the hall-and-parlor houses of Virginia. I knew, as well, that the Georgian form was introduced to Ireland in the eighteenth century, just as it was in Virginia. My idea was this: though it was present on the landscape, the Georgian form would not become adopted into common building practice until the people were ready, until they were ready to trade the little community they knew for an abstract concept that would bring them into national alliance with people they did not know. That, I surmised, would happen a decade or so before the successful revolution of 1916.

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Medium 9780253009913

4 - Socialist Generic and the Branding of State Socialism

Fehérváry, Krisztina Indiana University Press ePub

IN THE 1960s, economic reforms injected color, diversity, and forms of abundance into a commercial sphere that had been relatively sparse in the 1950s. The Kádár regime placed new emphasis on quality of life, including the provision of more consumer goods, leisure activities, and forms of entertainment. The department store Luxus opened in Budapest and catered to the segment of the population that wanted and could afford the higher quality and more expensive clothing it offered. At the same time, a chain of new self-service stores appeared, playfully called “ABC” (standing for all the letters in the alphabet) that offered consumers a wide variety of things under one roof and allowed them to access goods without going through a salesclerk. The first state-run warehouse for new furniture opened in Budapest in 1974, called Domus after the Italian design academy (Vadas 1992:183) and in 1976 a new department store chain called Skála opened its glass-clad flagship store in Budapest to great fanfare. The Skála was different from existing department stores in that its wares were supplied by new and more independent cooperative workshops (szövetkezet), making for more diverse offerings than previously possible through central planning channels. The Dunaújváros branch of the Skála was housed in a large, windowless set of cubes in a sienna orange. State-sponsored commercial media expanded, including the use of neon signs and television advertising; so did apolitical print media, such as magazines for car aficionados, fisherman, and photographers, as well as for cooking and women's fashion.

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