As the new century unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that contexts in which anthropology is practised as an established discipline, scholarly enterprise, applied endeavour, profession and intellectual pursuit keep changing, altering and transforming. The general aim in putting together this collection of essays was to test the state and condition of the relationship between anthropology and society in a number of countries where anthropological discourses and ethnographic activity have had a tangible presence in academia and beyond. Adopting a comparative approach – anthropology’s long-term companion – that we hoped would once again allow us to highlight where things have developed differently and where they seemed the same (or indeed were only equally illusorily), we asked leading practitioners from Austria, Brazil, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa and the United States to ponder the same, rather broadly posed, set of questions.
Alexei Elfimov and Ullrich Kockel
Performing Culture and Remembering the Past in Osogbo, Nigeria
This article focuses on the debate about cultural heritage in the context of art, history, and politics in the Yoruba town of Osogbo in southwest Nigeria. Some forty years ago, Osogbo became the center of a vibrant art scene. Today Osogbo’s fame as a symbol for the renaissance of Yoruba art and culture has faded. What has survived, however, is the debate about the shrines and sculptures shaped by the Austrian-born artist, Susanne Wenger, and her local collaborators in the grove of Osogbo’s guardian deity Osun. It is argued that the present day conflicts about the meaning of the image works standing in the Osun grove are based upon their perception not so much as art but rather as media which in the very sense of the word—mediate between different realms of social importance in terms of time, space, power, and wealth.
Reflections on Auschwitz
Austrian-born Ruth Klüger was a teenager when she and her mother were deported first to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt, then to Auschwitz, and later to Christianstadt. This article examines Klüger's memoir weiter leben in which she records her memories and assessments of her experience in these concentration camps. It considers her critical stance toward the postwar Holocaust memory culture and focuses on Klüger's relationship with German thought and language. In particular, during her imprisonment in Auschwitz, German poetry played an important role in her survival. This offers new insight into Theodor Adorno's statement (which he later retracted) that “Writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.“ As questions about German identity are raised, this article suggests a discourse about the Holocaust from within German culture and points to questions about the intricate relationship of a shared cultural background between victim and perpetrator.
International comparisons of new radical right-wing parties usually
focus on differences in electoral fortunes, party organizations, and
leadership styles and conclude that Germany stands out as a special
case of successful marginalization of the new radical right. Explanations
for this German anomaly point at the combined effects of German
history and institutional arrangements of the Federal Republic
of Germany, of ideological dilemmas and strategic failures of the
various parties of the new radical right, and the efforts of the established
political parties to prevent the rise of new parties to the right
of them. By implication, this means that, whereas in countries like
France or Austria the new radical right plays a significant role in politics
to the point of changing the political systems themselves, the
German counterpart has a negligible impact and has little or no
effects on politics and polity.
Material Culture of the Middle East, Its Intangible Dimensions and New Museums
Janet Blake and Danila Mayer
In this issue of Anthropology of the Middle East, we present contributions that deal with museums, museology and their approaches to the new social situations through which they must navigate. Cutting a swathe very generously around the Mediterranean and the Middle East – from Tunis to Qatar, Turkey and, as an extension, to Austria – we bring together articles that look closely into some acute issues of today: the transformation from colonial to post-colonial and its reverberant impacts, from national to post-national and transnational societies both in Europe and the Middle East, and to the stringencies of material culture, cultural heritage and ‘meaningful objects’, and how to preserve, to analyse and to exhibit them. All contributors dedicate their works published here to the social, cultural and economic changes affecting societies and communities, and to the demands that increasing diversity presents as challenges to cultural institutions and their personnel.
The Romanian Women's Movement in Hungary and Its Allies before World War I
Oana Sînziana Păltineanu
This article focuses on the Romanian women's movement in Hungary before World War I and on its veiled suffrage politics. The first part of the article presents an overview of the organizational history of the Romanian women's movement from 1850 to 1914. The establishment of the Union of the Romanian Women in Hungary in 1913 constitutes a key event in this account. The second part of the article addresses the politics behind the Union and explores the converging suffrage politics of two more historical actors: the internationalization strategies of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) and the suffrage politics of the Romanian National Party in Hungary. The article concludes that the Union's actions resembled those of similar organizations in Austria-Hungary that sought to join the IWSA, indicating that the Union may have been preparing to adopt a pro-suffrage position.
Francisca de Haan
The year 2010 marked the centennial of International Women’s Day (IWD); the year 2011 marked the centennial of its first celebrations, which took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany, partitioned Poland, Switzerland, and no doubt other places. Inspired by these events, the theme section of this volume deals with “A Hundred Years of International Women’s Day in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe,” with articles focusing on Russia, the Polish lands, and Greece. In addition, we review the book Frauentag! (Women’s Day!), a collection of essays that accompanied an exhibition in Vienna on the occasion of IWD’s first centennial; and the News and Miscellanea section features a report on recent IWD-related events in Ukraine, including two exhibitions.
Some fifteen years ago, a distinguished chemistry professor at Stanford University closed his lab in order to write autobiographies, novels and plays. The ‘(god)father of the pill’ (a term he has often criticized) has received numerous scientific prizes and honours. Carl Djerassi is one of the few American scientists to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science (1973) and the National Medal of Technology (1992). He has been called an outstanding scientific hero of the twentieth century, well-situated in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and now even immortalized on an Austrian postal stamp. Djerassi decided to fence off his own personal garden patch on the vast prairies of belles lettres, and to create his own literary genre.
The Historian Selma Stern (1890–1981) and Her Portrait of the Court Jew
As the unification of contemporary Europe becomes a reality, new questions arise about a common cultural identity. In this context, research on a common European Jewish heritage has achieved wide public interest. Involving economic and political, cultural and religious, social and academic questions, the history of the Hoffaktoren, as they were called in German, was not constrained by European borders. It is the history of those entrepreneurs, bankers, politicians and diplomats, who served their princes throughout seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe, which serves perfectly as a research field relating to European identity. Though centred on Germany, Austria and Holland, the history of the Court Jews had a decisive influence on many other countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Italy, England and Ireland
Adrian van den Hoven
Neither the apparently cold-blooded murder of a complete stranger, the central event in The Stranger, nor Hugo's murder of Hoederer in Dirty Hands—a political assassination or crime of passion, depending on how one views it—can be considered unusual acts, in literature or in life. The topic of murder has itself created an extremely popular genre: the detective novel or "whodunit," which has become a huge industry and has aficionados everywhere, Sartre being one. In French theater, the topic of political assassination has resulted in such famous plays as de Musset's Lorenzaccio (1834), which ostensibly deals with Florence in the sixteenth century and the tyrannical Alexandre de Médicis, who is assassinated by his young cousin, but is in fact "a limpid transposition of the failed revolution of July 1830." It is well known that Sartre was an admirer of Musset and Romantic theater. In 1946, Jean Cocteau, who helped with the staging of Les Mains sales (Dirty Hands), wrote L'Aigle ` deux têtes (The Two-Headed Eagle), which was inspired "by the sad life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and her tragic death by the hand of the Franco-Italian assassin, Luigi Lucheni." Sartre himself, in Nausea, has Anny use the engraving in Michelet's Histoire de France depicting the assassination of the Duke de Guise as a perfect illustration of "privileged situations."