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CHAPTER SIX: Mature Years, 1984–2001

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781603444668

3. River Revealed: Cross Timbers and into the Llano Uplift

Margie Crisp Texas A&M University Press ePub


Below the dam at O. H. Ivie, the Colorado River cuts across layers of time, digging into the exposed shelves of millions of years. Alluvial deposits along the bed and banks of the river are recent, but the river has relentlessly carved away at the cover of Cretaceous rocks exposing the tilted stacks of old sedimentary rocks in the broad basin. On a geological map, multiple parallel bands of color stripe north to south. The river slices across in a twisting gold line of alluvial soils, descending from young to old, across pale bands of Permian limestone and shale, pink blobs and squiggles of sediment eroded from the Cretaceous and Permian rocks upriver, and into the dark blue patterns of older, exposed Pennsylvanian sandstones. Curving in a tight arc, the river bounces between the old sandstones and tongues of limestone and shale before snaking down the deep canyons of ancient Ordovician limestones into the heart of the Llano Uplift.

In this length of river, seven or eight counties, depending on how you count them, crowd up to the river, nudge each other’s shoulders, and wiggle their toes in the stream. It is a land of big ranches, white-tailed deer and turkey hunting, a few row crops, and pecan orchards. The river regains its strength, pulls water from creeks and springs, and works its way back into a free-flowing stream for a few miles before running into the dams of the Highland Lakes downstream.

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2. Follow the Wood: Carving and Political Cosmology in oku, Cameroon

Edited by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Indiana University Press ePub

Nicolas Argenti

The . . . mask is made to look like an animal. But it is not an animal; it is a secret.


(quoted in McNaughton 1988:129)

The kingdom of Oku, made up of three dozen villages spread over the highest peaks of a mountainous landscape, is a hierarchical polity headed by a king (or ∂bfon) and a complex palatine retinue. Within the Grassfields region, Oku is one among several dozen small kingdoms or chiefdoms, each with their own languages and ruling dynasties. Although these polities all share many cultural traits and myths of common origin and ancestry, they have each specialized forms of production for export over the centuries (Warnier 1985), and Oku has become renowned (not only in the region but among museum curators and collectors too) as one of the foremost centers of carving in the region. Although some of the objects produced by its carvers—mainly ceremonial items of palace regalia including the throne-stools of kings—are destined for export within a regional elite sphere of exchange restricted to the ruling elite of the Grassfields, others are used locally by the palace kwifon regulatory society and by Oku lineage elders. Some of the most arresting objects produced by Oku carvers are the masks used by dancing groups both within the kingdom and throughout the Grassfields. These masks represent male elders wearing gigantic interpretations of their characteristic tasseled caps, beautiful young women, and wild forest animals—some of them unidentifiable, all of them as sinister and alarming to bystanders as they are attractive and exciting. The masks (or headdresses, known as “helmet masks” because they are worn on the top of the dancer’s head) are used by the masking groups (k∂kum) of the palace secret societies and the ruling lineages of Oku (Argenti 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007).

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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 FOUR: Africa and Post-Africa, 1957–1974

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF

Africa and Post-Africa: 1957–1974




deas for drawings originate from many sources, just as do pieces of a quilt. They might emerge from the depths of an artist’s emotional memories and fantasies or from a draftsman’s powers of observation. The drawings that have been selected for the past three chapters have been expressionistic, emotional, and have come from inner memory as much as a reporter’s observations. Throughout the

first several decades of his career, Biggers’s images were deep and somber impressions of the downtrodden, tragic expressions of the human condition. When asked about this characteristic feature of his early work, Biggers explained that he felt that it was absolutely necessary to show his feelings about what happens to people in poverty. “This to me is what art is all about—showing the spirit of man struggling above the mundane, above the material, above suffering.”1

The influence of Viktor Lowenfeld can perhaps be understood by reviewing

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