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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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3 • Mapping Drigung Activity at Nako and in the Western Himalaya

Melissa R. Kerin Indiana University Press ePub

The task of tracing Nako’s ’Bri gung (Drigung) religious history has been a challenging one in large part because there is no documented religious history for Nako and no known inscriptions that provide substantive political and religious information. Given the paucity of such textual and inscriptional information at Nako, the artistic remains become that much more crucial in piecing together Nako’s devotional history. Although research on Nako’s early painting programs of circa twelfth century have been studied and published, the material of the late medieval period has been neglected. This body of work, and in particular the Gyapagpa sixteenth-century painting program, is of crucial significance in piecing together what has otherwise remained an opaque religious history for Nako and the surrounding region of Kinnaur.

As the last chapter established, the murals at Nako’s Gyapagpa Temple unequivocally align the temple with the Drigung community of the larger Bka’ brgyud (Kagyu) tradition. One of the most revealing pieces of information from this temple’s iconographic program was the six-person lineage painted on three of its four walls. While this has been useful in establishing the temple’s sixteenth-century religious affiliation, many other questions linger. For instance, who are these lineage members and what lineage, exactly, is being referenced? A survey of various texts listing Drigung abbot lineages has not yielded correspondences with the particular combination of names, or partial names, depicted in Gyapagpa Temple.1 Furthermore, I have consulted several scholars of West Tibetan and Drigung history from India and Tibet, but none has been able to identify the lineage depicted.2 The inability to identify this six-member group as part of an established and recognized Drigung lineage raises the possibility that Nako’s grouping represents a lesser known and little documented—Drigung lineage, specific to this area of Kinnaur. That there are no other temples in the region with Drigung iconography makes it impossible to verify that what we see at Nako is, in fact, a local lineage.

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4 Metonymic Hats and Metaphoric Tumbleweeds: Noir Literary Aesthetics in Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Christopher Raczkowski

In his important study of film noir More Than Night, James Naremore argues for a rethinking of noir in terms of discourse, as “an evolving system of arguments and readings that helps to shape commercial and aesthetic ideologies” and, as Naremore goes on to elaborate, political ideologies (11). In other words, noir is less a set of formalized cinematic gestures—visual styles and narrative procedures—than a cultural strategy that resonates across multiple artistic, commercial, and intellectual forms. Thinking noir as Naremore does, as discourse rather than genre, provides an answer for a question that has vexed me for some time about Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Big Lebowski: can this movie be meaningfully grouped with Miller’s Crossing (1990) as a noir text? Certainly, both draw inspiration from the well of classic Hollywood noir films; indeed, the movies are frequently referred to as the first two installments of the Coens’ “noir trilogy.” And, yet, they are jarringly antithetical in look and feel. It is this gap between the noir aesthetics of Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski that interests me the most and animates the analysis that follows. The virtue of Naremore’s definition is that it treats relations between noirish texts as dynamic rather than categorical and restrictive; only such a protean and yet tactical conception of noir will do for making sense of the complex relation of Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski. While commentators tend to ignore the aesthetic divide between these movies or reject the proposition that The Big Lebowski can be sensibly grouped with other noir films at all, I argue that the tension is fertile and productive of a noir dialectic evolved by the Coens in the two movies.

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CHAPTER SIX: Mature Years, 1984–2001

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF
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6 The Big Lebowski and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Joshua Kates

Let me begin by historicizing, not irony, but the Dude, though these two options may turn out to be closer than one suspects. The link between the Dude, the hero of the Coen brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski, and the era of the 1960s has seemed to many incontestable. I propose, however, not the 1960s themselves, but a certain reception and interpretation of this era in the 1970s as Jeff’s actual socio-cultural reference point.

Indeed, at issue in the character and way of life of Jeff—as his homonym, the Big Lebowski, points out—is the fate of the already failed revolutionary hopes of the 1960s, as these have been taken up and “processed” by the 1970s. Jeff as we are shown him, in fact, has no living contact with that earlier era. The Dude cannot even be imagined actually doing any of the earlier deeds attributed to him, or to his supposed archetype Jeff “the Dude” Dowd: taking over campus buildings, writing the Port Huron Statement, etc. So, too, from the beginning of Lebowski, Lebowski little and big are distinguished along the axis of activity and quiescence, laziness and achievement (suited to the reference of the 1970s), not in terms of politics or political commitment (as would befit the 1960s). Big Lebowski is credited with being an achiever at least five times after the film’s opening, and even the doting cowboy narrator calls the Dude the laziest man in L.A. (Of course, by the end of the film, the attribute of achievement having been stripped from the putatively “larger” Lebowski, and Jeff having fathered a still smaller Lebowski, it is not clear who really is the big Lebowski: perhaps the larger-than-life, and about to become large with child, Maude Lebowski?)

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Introduction: Colonial Power and Aesthetic Practice

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir Indiana University Press ePub

Introduction

COLONIAL POWER AND AESTHETIC PRACTICE

A Masai warrior is a fine sight. Those young men have, to the utmost extent, that particular form of intelligence that we call chic:—daring, and wildly fantastical as they seem, they are still unswervingly true to their own nature … and their weapons and finery are as much a part of their being as are a stag’s antlers.

—ISAK DINESEN, Out of Africa (1937)

The South was, for the most part, held in thrall by Fetish worship and the hideous ordeals of witchcraft, human sacrifice and twin murder. The great Ibo race to the East of the Niger… and their cognate tribes had not developed beyond the stage of primitive savagery.

—FREDERICK LUGARD, “Report on the Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria” (1919/1968)

Where does the new come from in an artist’s practice? In this book, I explore an unexpected source, colonial authority, and trace the ways widely different late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European impressions of Kenya and Nigeria and the subsequent British colonizing policies toward their imperfectly understood subject peoples intervened in and transformed the objects and practices of two groups of African artists. Equally, this book is about the ways those artists—sculptors and smiths—reinvented these objects and created a new artisanal practice. Because the two cultures, Idoma in Nigeria (one of Lugard’s “cognate tribes”) and Maa-speaking Samburu in Kenya, are geographically remote and superficially very different, the common thread of the institution of warriorhood helps weave the comparison. At a more immediate level, this book is also about real people—the warriors, the artists, and the blacksmiths—and how they strategized and made choices to circumvent the authority of colonial rule and to create new forms.

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6. Into the Gulf (almost): Gulf Prairies and Matagorda Bay

Margie Crisp Texas A&M University Press ePub

GULF PRAIRIES AND MATAGORDA BAY

Tiny whitecaps run upstream against the current, slap the kayak hull, and explode into my face. If I stop paddling for a second, sweeper trees reach out and tangle branches in my hair. After disengaging myself from an amorous willow tree, I have had enough. In a snit, I yell at the wind, “I give up!” and hold my paddle high overhead. The wind grabs the kayak and spins me dizzily up stream where I’m deposited on a gravel bar under a high sand bank. The cold blast and the relentless whistling is blocked; I hear the rumble of traffic on nearby roads, the squeals and keening of killdeer, lesser yellowlegs, and spotted sandpipers as they dodge and bow along the banks. A peevish cry catches my attention. Above me, an adult bald eagle hunches miserably in the crown of a dead cottonwood, feathers ruffled for warmth and looking less than dignified. The giant bird seems just as irritated as I am with the sudden drop in temperature and the onslaught of stiff wind. Buoyed by the eagle’s grumpy camaraderie, I head back into the wind and fight my way downstream.

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Chapter Four On Father’s Side: The Baks

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub
Medium 9780253007414

9. Lewanika’s Workshop and the Vision of Lozi Arts, Zambia

Kasfir, Sidney Littlefield ePub

Karen E. Milbourne

In 1995, two works of art were selected to represent a Lozi cultural identity at the Royal Academy’s renowned exhibition Africa: Art of a Continent.1 The controversial exhibition was ambitious in its efforts to envision a continent. Through the selection of approximately eight hundred works of art, an idea of the African continent was given a material form. As Brian Wallis wrote in relation to the 1990 exhibition Mexico: A Work of Art, “Of all the ways to constitute a nation, this one—the nation as a work of art—is perhaps the most audacious” (Wallis 1994:265). The organizers at the Royal Academy were audacious, indeed, for they attempted to envision not one, but a selection of all historic nations that make up the African continent. Perhaps one of the most extraordinary untold stories included in this enterprise, however, is that of an under-recognized African king who audaciously utilized the power of art to envision his nation, Barotseland (now Western Province, Zambia), a century earlier.

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3 What’s Left of the Right to the City?

Daniel J Sherman Indiana University Press ePub

JUDIT BODNAR

An undeniable legacy of 1968 is the proclamation of the right to the city. What happened in Paris, Prague, and many other cities, however, was merely the crystallization of long-existing conditions: even the concept was formulated earlier. Henri Lefebvre finished The Right to the City in 1967, on the centenary of volume 1 of Marx’s Capital, as Lefebvre himself noted, but it was not this temporal coincidence or the intellectual kinship that determined its significance. The concept of the right to the city came into its own with the events of 1968; it received justification in people reclaiming the streets for radical politics, people who acted as if they had all read Lefebvre and were staging his work in the streets of Paris. The right to the city has informed urban theory and inspired urban justice movements ever since. Some also note the radical transformation this notion has gone through since its conception, what with the “undeclared vulgarization” of some of Lefebvre’s ideas, and their circulation in severely abridged forms undermining their original meaning.1

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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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7 Reading “Beur” Film Production Otherwise: The Poetics of the Human and the Transcultural

Kenneth W Harrow Indiana University Press ePub

Safoi Babana-Hampton

IN HIS ANALYSIS of the cinema verité of the 1960s both in Europe and Quebec, especially as practiced by French filmmaker and ethnologist Jean Rouch, Italian filmmaker Paolo Pasolini, and Quebecois filmmaker Pierre Perrault, Gilles Deleuze proposes a new viewpoint from which to understand the distinction of fiction versus truth or subjective versus objective: “Objective and subjective images lose their distinction, but also their identification, in favor of a new circuit where they are wholly replaced, or contaminate each other, or are decomposed and recomposed” (149). As a consequence, Deleuze continues, “the cinema can call itself cinéma-vérité, all the more so because it will have destroyed every model of the true so as to become creator and producer of truth: this will not be a cinema of truth but the truth of cinema” (151, my emphasis). As Deleuze’s lines suggest, the conventional boundaries governing our understanding of the two notions of “truth” and “fiction” collapse and disappear in favor of a new notion of “truth” as being primarily a construct, or a situated act of formalizing human experience. This act characterizes the very essence and raison d’être of the cinematic enterprise, whose field of application Deleuze extends even to works traditionally defined as documentary reportages or ethnographic investigations, such as those produced by Rouch and Perrault (149). Deleuze thus develops a view of the cinematic work as a visual field within which the poetic, the lyrical, and the aesthetic as well as the documentary and ethnographic elements are intertwined and interdependent and cross-fertilize each other in order to depict a multilayered reality or lived experience. All these considerations of the cinematic work are deeply inscribed in his conception of the artist, of whom he offers the following definition: “What the artist is, is creator of truth, because truth is not to be achieved, formed, or reproduced; it has to be created. There is no other truth than the creation of the New” (146–47).

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1 Foucault’s 1968

Daniel J Sherman Indiana University Press ePub

BERNARD GENDRON

Michel Foucault’s career as a public intellectual, his stances in words and deeds, in theory and practice, were deeply informed by the events of May 1968 and the political struggles that followed upon it. It is difficult to single out any cultural theorist or political philosopher of importance for whom May 1968 had such a decidedly dramatic impact or who was more engaged with its meaning and import. Yet, there has been scant scholarly attention to this relationship, perhaps because it is thought to be of little interest beyond the biographical or because it is surmised that he was not particularly sympathetic to the uprisings of May 1968, given his often-expressed skepticism concerning the emancipatory promise of mass revolutionary movements.1 Absent from Paris in May 1968, he had no memories to share of the barricades nor any badge to wear.

Against these doubts, I argue that Foucault’s relation to May 1968 was extensive and intimate as well as crucial for understanding his theory and practice in the 1970s. Most obviously, in the wake of 1968, Foucault became a militant political activist, whereas earlier his posture toward politics was one of ironic detachment. Less appreciated is the shock and disruption that the events of 1968 administered to his theoretical work and methodologies. It is well known that, roughly between 1969 and 1975, Foucault’s thinking underwent a major transformation, usually described as the transition from “archaeology” to “genealogy,” that eventuated in the publication of Discipline and Punish in 1975. According to most commentators, this resulted from Foucault’s discovery of basic flaws in his archaeological method.2 A closer analysis, however, reveals that his intense engagement in political militancy within a post-1968 horizon was the chief catalyst for temporally halting and then redirecting his theoretical work.

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6. Professionalizing Childhood: Nollywood and the New Youth Transnationalism

Noah A. Tsika Indiana University Press ePub

6

It would be difficult to overstate the paradoxical dilemmas facing African child performers, who tend to inspire hope while evoking fear. Over the past several years, I have encountered numerous Nollywood fans who criticize the industry for, in their eyes, failing to facilitate child stardom, and for forcing them to accept adult icons Ramsey Nouah, Mercy Johnson, Genevieve Nnaji, and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (among many others) in youth roles. While acknowledging that it would be impossible to uncover any one reason for this contentious industrial trend, I nevertheless set out to better understand it. I found, almost at once, that fans’ overwhelmingly negative reactions to age-inappropriate casting—to, specifically, the casting of obvious adults in the roles of children—had much to do with these fans’ aspirations for Nollywood itself, with their collective hope that the industry might one day achieve a level of aesthetic realism commensurate with perceived global standards. While an orientation toward iconographic realism has fueled the so-called New Nollywood Cinema, with its focus on the ontology of the photographic image, it is clear that it extends as well to age, generating fan demand for the development of child stars to tackle child roles.

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2 Modern Artist, Modern Jew: Bruno Schulz’s Diasporas

Carol Zemel Indiana University Press ePub

Until a recent custody battle over his murals, Bruno Schulz was best known as a Polish Jewish writer of phantasmagoric and mythic tales. The stories collected in Cinnamon Shops (1934) and Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass (1937) are crafted in ornate embellished prose, and they spin out a wonder-filled vision of bourgeois life in a provincial Galician city much like Drohobycz, where Schulz lived all his life, and where he was murdered by a Nazi officer in 1942.1 (Map 2.1, figure 2.1.) Schulz is renowned in Poland; his work is widely read, and since the late 1960s, through the restorative efforts of Jerzy Ficowski, there have been regular exhibitions of his drawings and prints.2 But beyond those borders little close attention has been paid to Schulz’s visual art, and in some ways, it is easy to see why. Even though he exhibited in Lodz, Warsaw, Cracow, and Lvov, and at times in Jewish exhibition venues,3 his stories certainly reached the public more readily than his art. Many drawings were meant to accompany chapters of Sanitorium under the Sign of the Hourglass, and their status as anything other than text illustrations may not be clear. And there is also the explicit sexual content of Schulz’s The Booke [sic] of Idolatry (1920–22), a collection of twenty-six prints that center on themes of masochism, with the artist’s self-image as the primary figure of idolatrous behavior and self-abasement. For scholars and critics today, eager to celebrate Jewish art and artists, this is a far cry from the grandeur of biblical imagery or the shtetl culture pictured by Chagall.

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