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5 The Dude and the New Left

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Stacy Thompson

The Coen brothers are not, to my knowledge, communists. Yet they have maintained an interesting relationship with communism, the “Old Left,” throughout their work. It runs beneath the surface of their films as a counterpoint, sometimes referenced directly, sometimes obliquely. In the first five minutes of their 1984 film Blood Simple, private detective Loren Visser meditates on the differences between the Soviet Union and Texas, musing, in voice over, “Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else . . . that’s the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas. An’ down here . . . you’re on your own.” Later he contemplates how much someone will pay him to murder two people and comments wistfully, “In Russia they make only fifty cents a day.” A few years later, in Raising Arizona, H. I. McDonough, an ex-con and factory worker, thinks about how he and his wife can’t have children. He compares his situation with that of an Arizona millionaire’s wife who was treated for infertility and gave birth to quintuplets. He comments, “It seems unfair that some should have so many when others have so few.” There’s a whisper of Marx’s “From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” in this maxim, and, in fact, the film eventually implies, not unlike Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, that the woman who most capably loves a child—who demonstrates that “ability”—deserves to be its parent more than a neglectful birth mother. But while Blood Simple invokes communism as a sadly unimaginable otherness, and Raising Arizona thinks of children as the product of socialized labor, and therefore the property of society and not the individual, in The Big Lebowski the Coens take a different tack in relation to communism.

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1 · Invitation to a Beheading

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

The colonizer constructs himself as he constructs the colony.
The relationship is intimate, an open secret
that cannot be part of official knowledge


In the mid-1970s, people living in the large village of Lubanda in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), readily recalled the name and a few of the exploits of Bwana Boma, despite his having lived there for a mere two years nearly a century before. Bwana Boma is the local sobriquet for Émile Pierre Joseph Storms (1846–1918), Belgian leader of the fourth caravan of the International African Association from Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika that arrived deep in the heart of Africa in late September 1882 (fig. 1.1). The name Bwana Boma means “Mister Fortress,” and it was chosen during Storms’s days at Lubanda because of the formidable stronghold Storms constructed there in 1883.1 Storms was an assertive young man who sought to leave his mark on European conquest of the Congo. With acuity and irony, a Belgian journalist noticed Storms’s unmitigated ambition and heralded him as “Émile the First, Emperor of Tanganyika.”2

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EIGHT “We Grew Up Free but Here We Have to Cover Our Faces”: Veiling among Oromo Refugees in Eastleigh, Kenya • PERI M. KLEMM

Elisha P Renne Indiana University Press ePub

The adoption of the veil among Oromo refugees living in Eastleigh, Kenya, one the largest urban refugee communities in Africa, is a recent phenomenon. Women feel increasing pressure to cover their heads and bodies in accordance with the practices of their Somali neighbors and fellow refugees. More and more, as instability and violence escalate, Oromo women are choosing to adopt full hair, head, and body covering as a kind of urban camouflage with which to conceal their ethnicity. As one female resident acknowledged, “We grew up free but here we have to cover our faces” (B. B. H., personal communication, September 2011).1 Yet, just five years ago, Oromo women in Eastleigh proudly wore their cultural dress in public. For refugees with little in the way of material heritage, women’s dress, hairstyles, and jewelry have served not only as a vital marker of Oromo identity in their home country of Ethiopia but also as a fundamental assertion of Oromo nationalism in the diaspora.

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Medium 9780253349118

11. Neelam Chaturvedi

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

WHEN I FIRST TALKED to Neelam Chaturvedi in the spring of 1996, she was an art teacher in the Sunbeam private school in Banaras. Unlike Nina, a Sindhi living in a Sindhi household, Neelam is a Punjabi married into a Brahmin family from Banaras. Being born in India to Punjabi parents who were displaced from their native Pakistan, Neelam has developed an adaptive personal style. Constant adjustment to different contexts is a main theme of her choices in life and adornment, a pattern evident in our interviews. My main tape-recorded conversations with her, which lasted several hours, took place in Neelam’s bedroom, upstairs in her mother-in-law’s house a few blocks from the vast red temple dedicated to Durga in Banaras.1

When she was growing up in Banaras, Neelam spoke Punjabi at home with her parents, yet she was exposed to Hindi at school and to the local Bhojpuri dialect of the servants. Neelam learned Hindi and Bhojpuri, and, though she was scolded for speaking these ill-regarded languages in the presence of her parents, she grew up speaking what she calls a “mix” of languages. Her shifting between Punjabi and Hindi, choosing one or the other in different contexts, is like the double-coding used by immigrant children who grow up in America, adapting and conforming to two cultures simultaneously.

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FIVE Modest Bodies, Stylish Selves: Fashioning Virtue in Niger • ADELINE MASQUELIER

Elisha P Renne Indiana University Press ePub

You must cover your body because it is God’s command. God will send angels to light up the graves of women who cover their heads with veils.

—Izala preacher, Dogondoutchi, 1994

According to a hadīth, the woman who does not veil will never smell the smell of paradise. [ . . . ] Every time she comes out of her home uncovered, she shares the sins of all the men who look at her.

—Izala preacher, Dogondoutchi, 2006

In the early 1990s a wave of religious fervor swept through Niger, promoting the development of a “heightened self-consciousness” (Eickelman and Piscatori 1996:39) about what it meant to be Muslim. The sharpening of Muslim identity in turn translated into an unprecedented focus on dress codes and the fashioning of modest personae. Members of an emerging anti-Sufi reformist movement known colloquially as Izala1 insisted that local male and female garb be modified. While they urged men to shed their voluminous riguna (robes) in favor of the jaba—a tunic worn over short-hemmed pants, they were especially keen to ensure that women concealed their bodies from head to ankles. Women wearing “skimpy” attire were harassed, and occasionally attacked, for exposing their state of undress and by implication, their lack of religious engagement. The modesty of a “true” Muslim’s attire was a measure of her virtue, Izala preachers declared, as they grew beards and put on turbans.

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2 · A Conflict of Memories

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

One cannot do good history, not even contemporary history, without regard for ideas, actions, and ontologies that are not and never were our own.


Storms’s account of Lusinga’s demise will be left here in order to turn to Tabwa narration of the same events. Such alternative histories can move our understanding of fraught political relations beyond nineteenth-century European “idiom[s] of doubt” that would deny agency to soon-to-be-colonized Africans. To the degree possible all these years later, we need to consider what Tabwa thought and think of these same events via tropes and historiologies of their own making. “Concept[s] of agency as embedded in narrative possibility” can result, as Premesh Lalu notes of somewhat similar circumstances in nineteenth-century southern Africa. Indeed, an approach sensitive to metaphors and esoteric references embedded in narratives “may yield a story unimagined and unanticipated by the perpetrators” of proto-colonial violence like Bwana Boma.1

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6 · The Rise of a Colonial Macabre

Allen F. Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

I saw him immediately as headless, as becomes him; but what
to do with this cumbersome and doubting head?


We have not yet finished with Lusinga’s head. Émile Storms’s reasons for taking it may seem as obvious to readers nowadays as they may have been to the lieutenant and those in Europe to whom he explained his efforts through his various reports and letters: Bwana Boma was simply trying to put an end to a “sanguinary potentate” and so establish peace and order for the good of all. Why not take Lusinga’s head? In so doing, Storms could match brutality with brutality and hope to establish his authority among people whom he found to be bloodthirsty, while participating in the “scientific” mission of the IAA as urged by the secretary general himself.1 After his return to Brussels, Bwana Boma would submit Lusinga’s skull to the scrutiny of metropolitan physical anthropologists, and that would be that. There was more at stake than such obvious ends, however, and furthermore, surely unbeknownst to the lieutenant, the taking of Lusinga’s head touched upon far more esoteric levels of reckoning for at least some Tabwa of his time.

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Medium 9780253007414

8. Navigating Nairobi: Artists in a Workshop System, Kenya

Kasfir, Sidney Littlefield ePub

Jessica Gerschultz

Governing Nairobi’s contemporary art scene is a complex web of relationships among artists. These relationships are formulated and sustained through the dynamic workshop system underlying production and exhibition. In this system, multiple levels of workshops act as the key unifier, bringing various individuals together to share materials, create, critique, and exhibit. Although individual workshops in Kenya have been discussed (Picton et al. 2002; Kasfir 1999; Burnet et al. 1999:15–18; Nyachae 1995), no attempt has been made to present Nairobi’s workshop network as a fluid system that allows artists to develop and sustain relationships beyond a particular studio space or moment in time. This system fosters relationships among artists and between artists and other social actors, such as children participating in artist-led workshops in community spaces. The oversight in the literature occurs because of the term’s limited connotations. In order to better understand the social networking at the heart of Nairobi’s art infrastructure, it is first necessary to reexamine what the term “workshop” implies and to whom. It is then constructive to outline the configuration of this system in order to consider how it shapes and is shaped by artists’ relationships. I will also discuss its relevance to artists’ conceptions of how knowledge, specifically technical and organizational knowledge, is disseminated. By reevaluating the workshop in this particular context, I will show that workshops comprise a navigable system in which artists develop professionally, relying on each other for training and support. I will demonstrate the centrality of this system and its impact on artists’ modes of working by tracing the career paths of several Nairobi artists who are representative of the wider grouping of workshop-affiliated artists. I will also underline how the workshop system intersects with wider audiences in Nairobi.

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Medium 9780253011596

8: Forsyth's Students

Rachel Berenson Perry Indiana University Press ePub

FORSYTH TAUGHT HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS IN his forty-two years as an art instructor. His commitment to teaching began in 1889 with the Muncie Art School and weekend classes in Fort Wayne; moved on to Steele's Art School of Indiana; devoted years to giving private classes and organizing plein air jaunts with students; and taught drawing and painting at the Herron Art Institute from 1907 to 1933, with seven summers of classes at Winona Lake. He wanted students to be well trained and prepared for lives dedicated to Art with a capital A.

His daily teaching schedule limited time for his own work, but he gained much from the revolving legions of aspiring artists. Walter Mcbride, a fellow teacher at Herron and later director of Michigan's Grand Rapids Art Museum, wrote, “Mr. Forsyth always said he would rather be with students and young people than those of his own age. He learned from the young ones; [in Forsyth's opinion] the older people were in a ‘rut.’”1

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Medium 9780253013873

7 Zombie Performance

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Come and get it! It’s a running buffet! All you can eat!

Shaun, Shaun of the Dead

The zombie consumes us. It occupies our minds, books, screens, and streets; devours and squanders our flesh and bodies; infects us with disease; and overwhelms our very social order. And yet we chase after zombies. In recent years we have facilitated their rise as a veritable cultural phenomenon, compelling them into our movie-theater screens in greater and faster-moving hordes than ever before, into our homes with shows like The Walking Dead, and onto our college campuses with Humans vs. Zombies, a live-action game of survival. Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have launched a zombie preparedness campaign, encouraging people to equip themselves against a whole range of catastrophes. The zombie apocalypse, it appears, offers itself as a natural disaster par excellence.

But we humans do not simply want to destroy and survive the zombies; we actually want to be them. In walks and runs across the country, people regularly adorn themselves in fake blood, gaping wounds, and tattered clothing to perform zombie “undeath” in our very streets. The zombie survival guides in our bookstores now find themselves in the company of titles such as So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead (Austin); Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead (Murphy); and How to Speak Zombie: A Guide for the Living (Mockus and Millard). For every piece of information on how to combat zombies, there is now parallel advice on how to enact zombie existence.

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Medium 9781574412895


Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF


EARLY YEARS: 1924–1949

Mural painting is architectural. It’s part of the building. One of the marvelous things about the medium is that you have to go to the building to paint, if it’s really done right. Murals that can be painted directly on the walls, to me, are the greatest expression… To me it’s a medium in which to express the community…

If you do the painting for people, and you feel that you are part of the culture, that is the greatest thing that can happen to you. Everyone in the community becomes a part of that mural.

John Thomas Biggers, quoted in Felts and Moon,

“Artists Series: An Interview with John Biggers”

u  u  u 

Gastonia, North Carolina, 1924–1941

John Thomas Biggers was born on April 13, 1924, the youngest of the seven children of Paul and Cora Biggers. The family lived in the Negro area of Gastonia,

North Carolina, a mill town in the heart of the segregated South, where Paul

Biggers worked as a teacher, preacher, cobbler, blacksmith, and farmer.

Although poor in worldly goods, Paul and Cora Biggers created a rich and loving home life that placed high value on religion, education, and creative endeavors. John Biggers recalled whole summers “building a complete city from clay soil, sticks, rocks and moss in a cool space under our house.”1 With great pleasure, he described vivid childhood memories of his mother and grandmother quilting, his brothers drawing pictures from the Bible and magazines, and his father studying quietly. “I had a marvelous father. He was very stern, hard man, because he’d come out of a very hard way of life, but there was a wonderful relationship between him and Mama. Mama was the boss of many things but he was the source behind the throne.”2

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Medium 9780253008527

Gallery of Paintings with Artists' Captions

Indiana Plein Air Painters Association Quarry Books ePub

with Artists' Captions

All dimensions are vertical first, then horizontal.


House of the Singing Winds with Pergola
(Brown County)
by Todd A. Williams

12" × 16"

With the historical significance of Brown County and the artists that colonized that area in the early 1900s, it became an obvious location of interest for me. T. C. Steele's home, the House of the Singing Winds, was at the top of my list. To paint in the footsteps of T. C. Steele was a dream come true.


(Wayne County)
by Wyatt LeGrand

18" × 24"

Bridges are odd things to paint. I think it's funny how I always end up chopping off the roadway running off the opposing sides of the bridge. Without the road, path, or railway, what use is the bridge? Maybe I'm painting bridges like they're tunnels. I'm more interested in the objects they span than the destinations they connect.

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Medium 9780253340481

Chapter Three Aunt Yetta’s Magic

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253340481

Chapter Ten Events Follow Events

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253011596

4: The Beginnings of a Teacher Fall 1888–Fall 1897

Rachel Berenson Perry Indiana University Press ePub

Fall 1888–Fall 1897

AFTER DOCKING IN NEW YORK, WILLIAM FORSYTH spent a few days visiting old comrades in the city and “inquiring about the chances for artists at home.”1 He moved back to his family's rented Indianapolis south side house at 213 Fletcher Ave. in mid-October, 1888. Unfortunately, his valise containing clothes and art supplies was stolen by a hack driver in New York. Although the driver was caught, the valise never reappeared, and Forsyth spent considerable effort trying to get compensation for his loss. The company claimed they were only responsible for clothing and refused to pay for painting supplies.

Bolstering his credentials, Forsyth sent a snow scene titled March to Fred Hetherington to be entered in the 1889 National Academy of Design spring exhibition in New York. He also entered three paintings in the 6th Annual Art Association of Indianapolis exhibit in Masonic Hall. His concern about immediate income was somewhat relieved when he took over Adams’ weekend art class in Ft. Wayne.

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