215 Slices
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Medium 9781603444668

2. Impounded on the Rolling Plains

Margie Crisp Texas A&M University Press ePub

Destiny proudly poses for my camera, a grinning gap-toothed eight-year-old with wind-tangled black hair. Behind her, the orange waters of Lake J. B. Thomas whip themselves into small brown waves. She squints in the sun. The shutter clicks, and with a quick wave she scrambles down the steep rocks returning to her sister and their game of throwing rocks into the water. Her father uncaps a jar of the newest and best stinkbait for catching catfish. The girls squeal and hold their noses while the sleek muscular dog in the back of the pickup sniffs the air appreciatively. The two girls, their dad, and his best friend drove over from Big Spring for a day of fishing but even with the pungent bait, the catfish aren’t biting. I bring over my road map, and together we trace the path of the Colorado River from our position at Lake J. B. Thomas, down to the E. V. Spence Reservoir, and then to the O. H. Ivie Reservoir. The river runs through the Rolling Plains ecoregion,1 the southern end of the Great Plains, a land of deep clays, dry former prairies, and woods. It is bordered on the west by the Caprock Escarpment and the High Plains, on the south by the Edwards Plateau, and on the east by the Cross Timbers and Prairies ecoregion. With an annual rainfall of 20 inches, most of the area is desert-like rangeland locked in an unrelenting battle with woody brush, struggling croplands, and the ubiquitous oil industry.

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2. Getting Ready

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

THE MOST COMMON OF ARTISTIC ACTS, getting dressed requires an intricate series of choices. To sample the range of decisions women make on a daily basis, let us follow Rani Mishra, a twenty-seven-year-old Brahmin housewife, as she goes about her routine on a typical September day, in the old joint-family compound in which she lives, in the city of Banaras.

Rani, the mother of two young children, wakes up before her husband, at six in the morning. She rises, still wearing the magenta petticoat and blouse of yesterday’s sari ensemble. The sari, a strip of cloth six meters in length, has to be tucked into a frame, provided by the “petticoat,” an ankle-length skirt of cotton with a drawstring waist. A “blouse” (called, like the petticoat, by its English name), is a custom-stitched, midriff shirt, which closes snuggly with hooks running down the chest. Women own many blouses and petticoats, which are changed often to match the sari in color and fabric.

At night, Rani, like many women, simply unwraps her sari and sleeps in the underclothes that she has been wearing all day. For sleeping, some women prefer a “maxi,” a floor-length cotton dress that some women wear around the house and others wear only in bed. Rani lives with her parents-in-law and her husband’s brothers and their families; she feels uncomfortable wearing a maxi in the house, because she considers it an intimate garment. The audience for her daily adornment is large—her extended family, the servants, and the vegetable sellers who come into the house every day with their baskets of produce.

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Medium 9780253008145

NINE Vulnerability Unveiled: Lubna’s Pants and Humanitarian Visibility on the Verge of Sudan’s Secession • AMAL HASSAN FADLALLA

Edited by Elisha P Renne Indiana University Press ePub

Journalist Lubna Ahmed Al-Hussein traveled to France to sign a book based on her story on the 23rd of November, 2009. Internet sales of her book . . . reached half a million copies, each selling for 18 Euros, 6% of which will go to Lubna. Lubna told reporters that the book will be translated into various languages.

—Reuters (Paris), 2009

In July 2009, the transnational media circulated news about yet another grave human rights violation perpetrated by Sudan’s Islamist regime, the latest in a series of violent crimes against humanity.1 Lubna Al-Hussein, dubbed “the pants journalist” for wearing pants in public and hence countermanding the prevailing dress code of modest body covering, was sentenced to flogging after an arrest by the public order police in Sudan. This case became one of the most widely reported narratives about the subordination of Muslim women in the world.2 Lubna was arrested, along with twelve other women, in a public restaurant in Khartoum and charged with disturbing public order by dressing indecently. Lubna contested the immodesty charge by addressing the media and arguing that at the time of her arrest she was wearing baggy pants, a long blouse with long sleeves, and a headscarf.

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Medium 9780253353801

19 Size Matters

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Judith Roof

The Collector’s Edition DVD of The Big Lebowski begins with an appended introduction to the film by Mortimer Young, president of Forever Young Film Preservation. His prologue, in the genre of the ceremonial film introduction, addresses both the casual viewer and the aesthete. Narrating the film’s history and provenance, and preparing the audience for its delights, Young traces the journey of the version that follows, recounting its rediscovery in a dubbed Italian version that has been redubbed into English. What survives, he warns us, is not exactly the original, but close enough for a film that has been destroyed in a fire, multiply translated, lost and found, and restored to us under the title The Grand Lebowski.

How you gonna keep them down on the farm
once they’ve seen Karl Hungus?

In The Big Lebowski, a film with so many pins and balls, with so many penetrations, penetrating looks, and penetrated eye views, one would think there would be an ample supply of penetrations, all big, bulky, and vain. But there are not. Or there are too many soon-to-be disqualified contestants. The only real man in the place seems to be “The” Jesus Quintana, a pastel-coordinated pederastic bowler with a penchant for threatening anal intercourse while waving the hard-on of his prosthetic finger stiffener. Bowling pins are relatively smaller than balls, if we wish at all to ascribe to what seems to be the obvious binary sex symbologies of the bowling alley. But the allegory is not as obvious as it seems, in fact, and it is at best fluidly shifting. Balls penetrate alleys and pins, and bowlers penetrate balls, three-fingering those bounding lasses that serve in turn as their rotund synecdoches, now big roly-polies frotting the standing ten, glancing the circle jerk where nine out of ten on the average come off. Then the benedictions of the great enfolding matrix, a giant set of holes descending on the hapless pins, sucking them up or brushing them off, cupping them in a caressingly careful (re)placement, and beneficently endowing the hungry balls with a ten-pack’s impending generosity.

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Medium 9780253015754

2. Glittering Video: Format, Fashion, and the Materiality of Nollywood Stardom

Noah A. Tsika Indiana University Press ePub

2

There is a moment on Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde’s reality television series, Omotola: The Real Me, when the Nollywood star addresses the intense public backlash against the dress that she wore to the 2011 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Making history as the first Nollywood star to grace the Grammy red carpet, Omotola caused quite a splash in a black-and-white, sequined sheath dress, albeit for all the “wrong” reasons: form-fitting around the chest, waist and hips, Omotola’s sleeveless costume was said to accentuate both her best and worst physical features, making her seem, as one Nigerian publication put it, “too much the mother of four that she is”—too, in a word, womanly.1 While the star on her reality TV series acknowledges the “backlash against the backlash”—the discourse of Afrocentrism and self-empowerment that promotes appreciation for “big black bodies”—she also makes an important point about her Grammy appearance, noting that it was live, “in the flesh,” and subject to countless far-flung flashbulbs.2 It was not, in other words, a well-regulated, formally constructed scene from a movie. In the glare of live coverage, it laid bare Omotola’s “real” identity, allegedly giving the lie to her persistent on-screen portrayals of young adults.

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Medium 9781574412208

CHAPTER THREE: Building in Houston and Texas Southern University, 1949–1957

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF

32

B U ILDING IN HOU STON AND TE X A S SOUTHE RN U NIVE RS IT Y, 1949 –1957

Voting rights, equal opportunity legislation, the Black Power movement, and Black

History Month were solutions of the following decades.

This photograph (fig. 16) shows John Biggers in his office during 1950–1951 with some of his sculptures. Early in 1950, John organized a conference for art educators and invited Viktor Lowenfeld as a speaker. The following photograph (fig.

17) shows his colleague Joe Mack, Dr. Lowenfeld, and John Biggers at that time.

figure 16

John Biggers in his office at Texas Southern, with his sculptures

1950

President R. O’Hara Lanier of Texas State University for Negroes had been an administrator at Hampton Institute in the early 1940s. He had known of John

Biggers’s abilities. Lanier was eager to see an art department on his campus and promised his full support. He soon hired two more Hampton graduates: Joseph

Mack, a painter, and Carroll Simms, a sculptor and potter. Hazel Biggers had graduated from Hampton with a degree in business and quickly found a position in the business office. The couple located a small two-room apartment of their own not too far from campus. The name of the institution was changed to Texas

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Medium 9780253348920

8. Samburu Encounters with Modernity: Spears as Tourist Souvenirs

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir Indiana University Press ePub

8

SAMBURU ENCOUNTERS WITH MODERNITY: SPEARS AS TOURIST SOUVENIRS

This chapter concerns the interplay between commodified and noncommodified forms and the situating of Samburu cultural practice within the creative tension between representation and identity. The souvenir, an object that both represents and identifies, operates at the intersection of memory and experience. More specifically, souvenirs commodify a particular type of memory associated with the tourist experience, which in Kenya is centered on the safari.1

SAFARI TOURISM AND THE SAMBURU

The way the process of cultural commodification took hold was very different in British-held East and West African colonies. While West Africa, and especially Nigeria after the Benin Punitive Expedition of 1897, became a major site of specimen-collecting by museums of ethnology, East Africa instead became a safari destination. Beginning with Teddy Roosevelt’s legendary elephant-hunting safari early in the century, affluent foreigners journeyed to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika to hunt among the vast herds of wild game and the spectacular landscape of snow-capped mountains (Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Rwenzoris) that frame the two branches of the Great Rift Valley.

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Medium 9780253015976

5 African Cultural Studies: Of Travels, Accents, and Epistemologies

Edited by Frieda Ekotto and Kenneth W H Indiana University Press ePub

Tejumola Olaniyan

IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICA, cultural creativity far outstrips cultural criticism, happily and sadly. Happily, because the continent is not, at least, losing out on both creative and critical production. Artists in all media, though many could do with more and better training to sharpen their native talents, are working prodigiously to shape form and meaning out of their demanding specific contexts and the intricate ways those contexts interact with the world. Sadly, because the conditions for the training of intellectuals and cultural critics are far less than adequate and because an overall healthy development of cultural creativity, the type that continually breaches accepted boundaries and invents new forms and suggests new meanings, depends on a robust interaction between talented artists and discerning critics, between the creative and the critical imagination. This is the large backdrop of my response to the challenge thrown to me, a challenge that noted, in perceivable and (understandably, I should add) wistful tones, “shifting paradigms” in the scholarly understanding of African cultural production and “a gulf between those living and working in Africa and those who live and work abroad, a gulf increasingly seen in their perspectives on the world and in the types of works they produce.”1

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Medium 9780253353801

1 The Really Big Sleep: Jeffrey Lebowski as the Second Coming of Rip Van Winkle

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Fred Ashe

At the conclusion of the Coen brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski, the tale’s frame narrator, the Stranger, asserts, “It’s good knowin’ he’s out there, the Dude, takin’ her easy for all us sinners.” Most manifestly, Jeffrey “the Dude” Lebowski fits into the Jewish folk tradition of the schlemiel—the bumbling, charismatic character to whom things happen.1 Like the classical fool, the schlemiel’s “antirational bias,” as Ruth R. Wisse has written, “inverts the rational model underlying so much of English humor, substituting for it a messianic or idealist model instead” (51). The Dude’s bias is directed foremost against effort. Things happen to him because he is not the sort to make things happen, his priority being instead the stylish avoidance of societal expectations—employment, marriage, even hygiene—that might interfere with “takin’ her easy.” By placing this avoidance in the service of “all us sinners,” the Stranger explicitly figures the Dude as messianic. The Dude stands in for viewers who, on some level, would likewise like to forego responsibilities; he redeems our often-soulless bourgeois striving with his compelling, carefree sloth.

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13. After the Wedding

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

WHEN SHE TALKED about adornment, Mukta Tripathi made clear that a woman’s choices are influenced by her personal taste—and by the factors of age and social development. Mukta easily describes the clothes she wore during different phases of her life. As a little girl, until the sixth grade, she wore frocks, skirts and blouses, shorts or pants. From the seventh to the twelve grades, she wore salwar suits and jeans, but never skirts or dresses, since it was improper for a young lady to show her legs. As a young bride, she dressed in bright saris and wore makeup and jewelry in abundance. Now Mukta has switched to saris in “sober colors,” because, as she explained to me, in India a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law “should not match.” Although Mukta is not yet a mother-in-law, she feels she has reached the age when it is inappropriate for her to show herself as a flashy, young wife.

Mukta, in her forties, prefers saris in tones of beige, cream, and other “light colors,” but they shift with the current fashion. In 2003, the trend was to wear saris with a thin strip of monochrome embroidery along the border that matched the field of the sari exactly in color, and to wear it with a blouse in the same color, with the same monochrome embroidery on the edges of the sleeves. Mukta continues to wear “natural, decent makeup.” The subtle shift in clothing, marked mostly by its palette, reflects her view of herself as a mother of grown-up boys—the oldest one is in high school—who is still attuned to style. She told me that wearing a lot of makeup ruins the skin, making women look old, which is another reason to decrease the amount of makeup as one ages. Mukta is fully aware of the social and developmental categories women pass through, categories that are publicly communicated by clothing and jewelry. Her decision to abandon certain styles or colors is partially influenced by other people’s opinions, for middle-aged and older women are often criticized for being too ornamented.1 Mukta told me that she would like to wear salwar suits occasionally, but her kids made fun of her when she did in the past, calling her “Mukta didi”—big sister Mukta—implying that when she wears a salwar suit she does not look like a mother, but rather, like somebody’s sister (children often hold a rigid and conservative vision of what their parents should look like). On a few recent occasions, Mukta’s two sons pointed to older women on the streets whom they deemed to be dressed inappropriately in a style too youthful, and begged Mukta not to dress that way when she becomes “aged.”

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Appendix A · Some Background on Our Protagonists

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

LUSINGA LWA NG’OMBE (ca.1840–1884) and his mother’s brother Kansabala Kisuyu hailed from Buluba (Urua or Uguha in early European accounts), the generic name for lands northwest of Lubanda inhabited by eastern Luba and Luba-influenced people. Pierre Colle’s important ethnography of 1913, Les Baluba, concerns just such communities that were peripheral to Luba polities along the lakes of the Upemba Depression and the banks of the Lualaba River, as a major tributary of the mighty Congo. Indeed, the foremost figure of Colle’s account, Chief Kyombo, was of the same clan as Lusinga, and as Colle explains, Kyombo actively sought Luba material and performance arts in emulation of his powerful neighbors.1 Lusinga took similar measures, and his praise name, “Ng’ombe,” makes esoteric reference to Luba kings, tributary gifts, burial places, and ancestral spirits. At greater geographical and intellectual distance, the name resonates with social relations and cultural principles personified by Ryangombe, the hero of societies of the Great Lakes region of east-central DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda.2 Such references are consistent with the thesis of the present book, that Lusinga lwa Ng’ombe was a most ambitious actor in times of radical social change.

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12. Mukta Tripathi

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

THOUGH MARRIED WOMEN in India are expected to be ornamented, some prefer to pay little attention to adornment and wear the minimum of jewelry, like Nina Khanchandani. Others, like Neelam Chaturvedi, indulge their affection for one kind of adornment—in her case, the sari—and downplay the others. Mukta Tripathi, a woman in her mid-forties and a mother of two, is, by contrast, passionate about all kinds of adornment.

I was directed to Mukta precisely because she is known to have a grand sense of personal style. Our conversations were lively and easy, because Mukta has carefully considered the variables that most people intuit but few can articulate.1 Mukta spoke energetically, interrupting herself to illustrate her points. She succinctly verbalized the aesthetic choices women make daily, actively enriching their lives with creativity.

Mukta began her treatment of the levels of visual decision by focusing on the beauty of the actual piece of adornment. The item of jewelry or clothing, she said, must be good-looking. She likes to change her jewelry often, and, like most married women in Banaras, she buys new glass bangles regularly. But unlike others, Mukta also changes her nath (nose ring), bichiya (toe rings), and payal (anklets) with frequency; she finds it fun to vary her “compulsory” jewelry.

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Chapter Eight On Mother’s Side: the Yochels and the Nadels

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253340481

Chapter Three Aunt Yetta’s Magic

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253007438

8 · Lusinga’s Lasting Laughs

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

“A thing itself is a person or pertains to a person” [and] this intimate conjunction of person and things . . . establishes . . . an “irrevocable link” between their donors and recipients, a link with an onerous burden which can even make a gift “dangerous to accept.”

—BRAD WEISS, “FORGETTING YOUR DEAD,” CITING MARCEL MAUSSS THE GIFT

The continuing “life” of the “Lusinga” figure as it stood on Storms’s mantelpiece raises “what if” questions: if the sculpture had remained in Lusinga’s hands—supposing, of course, that the “sanguinary potentate” had managed to hold on to his head—what might it have represented to and, more significantly, done for the chief and his people? Asking now does reverse the ordinary order of things, since locally defined efficacies and purposes obviously preceded Bwana Boma’s seizure of the figure; but if he was aware of these at all, Storms understood such capacities and practices through his own culture and as a function of his own political agenda. Here we shall engage another archaeology of knowledge based upon archival materials and exegeses from Tabwa of the 1970s. Among people then living in and around Lubanda, overt use of sculpture had long been curtailed because of intense pressure from Catholic missionaries. Material manifestations of spirit and agency remained important nonetheless, however clandestine the praxis was compared to overt ways that sculpture was used in the days of Swift-of-Foot and Bwana Boma.

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