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Marie-France Gaunard-Anderson

*Full article is in French

English abstract: The Western Bug is one of the major border rivers in Central and Eastern Europe. It is the border between Poland and Ukraine and between Poland and Belarus, but at the same time it is one of the European Union's external borders. Despite this particular position and a certain number of political, legal, economic and human barriers, cross-border cooperation is improving in order to preserve water resources and promote better management. This article illustrates the main steps that lead to this cooperation and seeks to analyze whether it will be possible to set up common management of the Bug river basin.

Spanish abstract: El Bug occidental es uno de los ríos más importante en Europa central y oriental ya que sirve como límite entre Polonia y Ucrania, Polonia y Bielorusia, y como frontera externa a la Unión Europea. A pesar de esta situación particular y de los numerosos obstáculos que superar (políticos, jurídicos, económicos y humanos), la cooperación transfronteriza avanza para preservar el recurso agua y gestionar mejor la cuenca hidrográfica del Bug. El artículo presenta las principales etapas de esta cooperación, las medidas implementadas y, analizando los principales obstáculos al establecimiento de una política común, se interroga sobre la posibilidad de una gestión conjunta en la cuenca del Bug.

French abstract: Le Bug occidental est une des principales rivières frontières en Europe centrale et orientale. Elle sert non seulement de limite entre la Pologne et l'Ukraine, la Pologne et la Biélorussie, mais aussi de frontière externe à l'Union européenne. Malgré cette position particulière et les nombreux obstacles à surmonter (politique, juridique, économique et humain), la coopération transfrontalière progresse en vue de préserver la ressource en eau et de mieux gérer le bassin hydrographique du Bug. L'article présente les principales étapes de cette coopération, les moyens mis en œuvre et s'interroge sur la possibilité de gérer en commun le bassin du Bug en analysant les principaux obstacles à la mise en place d'une politique commune.

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Cartographies of Communicability and the Anthropological Archive

Civil War Executions and the Harvard Irish Study

Brigittine French

This article traces ideological constructions of communication that enable powerful actors to determine what counts as silences, lies and surpluses in efficacious narratives about violence (Briggs 2007) in order to elucidate occlusions regarding legacies of the Civil War in the Irish Free State. It does so through a precise triangulation of multiple competing and overlapping narratives from unpublished fieldnotes, interviews, published ethnographies and other first-person accounts. The inquiry highlights social memories of the Irish Civil War that have been 'assumed, distorted, misunderstood, manipulated, underestimated, but most of all, ignored' (Dolan 2003: 2). The article argues that the excesses of the anthropological archive make the recuperation of a multiplicity of collective memories possible through a linguistic anthropological perspective that enumerates the kind of erasures at play in contentious memory-making moments, highlights polyvocality in metapragmatic discourse and tracks the gaps in entextualisation processes of historical narratives about political turmoil.

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Marc Abélès

What is anthropology in France about, what is its image, its impact? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Finding answers to these questions would require a whole book. However, in a more modest way, I would like to make a number of observations related to the recent history of the discipline – history that, as we shall see, is inseparable from the general socio-political context and the place that the discipline occupies today in the French intellectual landscape.

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The Veil and Muslim Women in France

Religious and Political Aspects

Aref Abu-Rabia

The right of Muslim schoolgirls in France to wear the veil (hijab) raises questions concerning the meaning of the veil for Muslim women. The debate about Muslim dress codes and whether Islam belongs in Europe has become a critical issue. The debate that began about the veil in Islam has evolved into a large discussion about Islam itself: as a religion, the Islamic movement in France and the relationship between Islam and fundamentalism. The purpose of this article is to examine some definitions of the hijab and its meaning in the context of the Qur’an, and to analyse some of the understandings of the hijab, as articulated in the late twentieth century by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars. It also explores the nature of Muslim reactions in France as well as their tensions with the surrounding society, as a result of the French ban on wearing the veil in public schools.

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The Anthropology of Literature in France

Birth and Becoming of a New Field of Studies

Laurent Sebastian Fournier and Jean-Marie Privat

In this article we present the ongoing theoretical discussions concerning the relations between anthropology and literature in France. We recall the historical relationship of a part of French anthropology and the world of literature. We then try to show how the anthropology of literature began by using the model of the anthropology of art, mainly concentrating on literary works as individual creations specific to the style or the cosmology of a given writer. We explore a new perspective on the analysis of the social and symbolic meanings of literary worlds, putting the emphasis on what is called ‘ethnocriticism’ in France. In order to understand better the influence of literature and literary motives on contemporary cultural practices, and to grasp the relation of literary works with the outside world and with everyday life, we propose to build up a comparative approach of literary works and rituals. Through different novels or other literary works, we address possible developments of contemporary anthropologies of literature in France.

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Sexual imbalance in frontier communities

Siberia and New France to 1760

David N. Collins

Eminent historians in Canada have contended that pioneer societies often experience marked sexual imbalance in their early stages, having far fewer women than men. Certain Soviet historians tended to deny the existence of such a problem in Siberia. Since the two regions match each other in many ways (they enjoy similar geographical conditions, were settled by European peoples at roughly the same historical period for analogous purposes and were both governed in a centralised military/bureaucratic fashion), an investigation was undertaken into the reasons for Canadian and Soviet disagreements over the issue. Concentrating on the period of earliest exploration and settlement, before large-scale British immigration, the study predominantly compares Russian settlement in Siberia with its French equivalent in New France. Data from both sides make it quite clear that in the early stages there were fewer women than there were men, that the imbalances were overcome during a century or more in regions where agriculture was possible, but persisted in more northerly territories or unstable military zones. The sources from which women came were: interbreeding with indigenous peoples, government attempts to provide women for male settlers and rapid natural increase, with the probability that more female than male offspring survived. Clear parallels exist between the Siberian and Canadian experience, despite the cultural, economic and political differences. Soviet denials of an early imbalance seem to have been dictated by a need to prove that the USSR had never experienced colonialism of the type characteristic of the European empires.

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Sergei I. Kuznetsov and Igor V. Naumov

The eastern region of Russia left a noticeable imprint on the historical fates of the peoples of many foreign countries. Many works on the culture, history, and ethnography of Siberia sprang from the quills of foreign authors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The study of Siberia was presented by people who were themselves exiled and cast away by the Russian government as undesirable or dangerous elements. This fate did not escape the peoples of foreign nations: tens of thousands of Poles, Hungarians, Germans, French, and Japanese were in various times forcibly sent to become acquainted with Siberia. Unfortunately the memories of Siberia for the peoples of a number of countries (Japanese, Hungarians, Poles,) became serious impediments in the way to mutual understanding and collaboration between Russia and those countries. The arrival of foreigners in Siberia is in large part chronicled differently by Russian historians in contrast to historians from other countries. There are various ‘blank spots’ in the history of foreign prisoners in Siberia (for example, prisoners of war from both World Wars), which Russian (Soviet) historians viewed in different terms owing to differing circumstances (with respect to the political character); the Russian ignorance of scholarship by foreign historians was further limited as a result of their inaccessibility.

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Labor Zionism, the State, and Beyond

An Interpretation of Changing Realities and Changing Histories

Mitchell Cohen

This article surveys changes and arguments in the historiography and politics of Israel especially in the post-1977 period, ranging from the New Historians through recent discussions of Mamlakhtiyut (statism), an ideological term for the policies pursued in the early years of statehood by David Ben-Gurion. The article is especially concerned with social democratic or socialist questions, as Mamlakhtiyut subordinated institutions of the Labor movement to those of the state. The article suggests that there were alternatives to Mamlakhtiyut in the 1950s that ought to be reconsidered today. This is especially so given the contemporary political dominance of Labor's traditional foes and new realities faced by states in a “globalizing” world. The article suggests that aspects of recent historiography can be seen as descending from the mental universe of Rafi, the breakaway party Ben-Gurion formed in 1965 after splitting from Mapai. Parallels to other political developments and alternative historiography are suggested. This article revises and expands the “Postface” (Afterword) for the new second French edition (2014) of the author's Zion and State (originally published in 1987), which presented a critique of Mamlakhtiyut.

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Missionary and Scholar

Russian Orthodox Archbishop Nil Isakovich's Perception of Tibetan Buddhism in Eastern Siberia

Anna Peck

Nil (Isakovich), bishop of the Irkutsk and Nerchinsk eparchy from 1838 to 1853, completed a major work on Tibetan Buddhism, Buddizm, razsmatrivaemyi v otnoshenii k posledovateliam ego, obitaiushchim v Sibiri (Buddhism, examined in relation to its Siberian followers), published in St. Petersburg in 1858. It was a thorough description of Buddhist doctrine, rites, and organizational structures in the Transbaikal. The bishop observed the rapid spread of Buddhism with the growth of the number of followers, clergy, and monasteries (datsan) in this area. As a Christian missionary, he tried to find out the reasons why this teaching was so powerful and influential, and why Buddhism became so popular among the Buriat population, attracting far more converts from native Shamanism than Christianity. Nil was interested in organizational aspects, hierarchical structure, Buddhist dharma, everyday rituals, and ceremonies during major holidays. Throughout his book, Nil presented his erudition and understanding of the Buddhist tradition. He used numerous sources in Tibetan, Mongolian, Latin, Russian and French. The quality of his writing varies greatly from other contemporary works of the Russian Orthodox missionaries. Unfortunately, Nil's book, published in Russian, was unknown to the majority of European scholars of that time.

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Alan Wood

Older readers of Sibirica will recall (though more recent subscribers may not know) that this journal had its origins as a newsletter and report of the proceedings and papers delivered at the early conferences of the British Universities Siberian Studies Seminar (BUSSS). In September 1981, at my invitation, a dozen or so English and Scottish academics assembled for a weekend meeting at Lancaster University, UK, to present informal papers and discuss our mutual—but as yet uncoordinated—interest in Siberia, the Russian North, and Far East. (Small beginnings, but remember that there were only twelve apostles, and a mere nine delegates at the first meeting of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party—the future CPSU—in Minsk in 1898. There was even a brief report of our meeting in the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, under the headline “No Salt Mines in Siberia!”) Among the participants was the eminent Arctic geographer, the late Dr. Terence Armstrong of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, who offered to host a second meeting of the group at his own institution. This duly took place in April 1983, and was attended by 26 scholars, not only from Britain, but also from France, Germany, Japan, and the United States. Four papers were read, including one by Violet Connelly, the eighty-two-year-old doyenne of modern Siberian studies in the West. The papers were subsequently published in samizdat format by the now defunct Department of Russian and Soviet Studies at Lancaster University, and it is that pamphlet that may be properly regarded as the very first issue of Sibirica.