This article examines the discourse surrounding the circulation of legal information in urban Gambia. It argues that ideas of information sharing suggest that Gambian law is fundamentally opaque, not simply in that it is not transparent but that it is only partially known. Drawing on the insights of Marilyn Strathern and other 'Melanesianists', the article further proposes that information sharing is a kind of relation and that opacity is a way of cutting relations. This in turn presents a way of apprehending African law that differs from the current emphasis on illegality and sovereignty in Africanist legal anthropology and focuses instead on emendation as a modality of engaging the law.
Asif A. Ghazanfar and Stephen V. Shepherd
Because the visual neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of monkeys are largely similar to ours, we explore the hypothesis that the same cinematographic techniques that create a visual scene for us likely create one for these close kin. Understanding how monkeys watch movies can illuminate how film exploits the capacities we share with our simian relatives, what capacities are specific to humans, and to what extent human culture exerts an influence on our filmic experience. The article finds that humans and monkeys share a basic capacity to process sensory events on the screen. Both can recognize moving objects and acting individuals, and both prefer looking at motion pictures of social behaviors over static images. It seems clear that some of the same things that make movies “work“ for human brains also work for the brains of our nonhuman relatives—excepting two critical features. First, humans appear to integrate sequential events over a much larger time frame than monkeys, giving us a greater attunement to the unfolding narrative. Moreover, humans appear to have special interest in the attention and intentional states of others seen on the screen. These states are shared through deictic cues such as observed gazing, reaching, and pointing. The article concludes that a major difference in how humans and monkeys see movies may be declarative in nature; it recognizes the possibility that movies exist as a means of sharing experience, a skill-set in which the human species has specialized and through which humans have reaped unprecedented rewards, including the art of film.
The impetus for this special issue of Projections was personal, not just academic.
I am deeply, religiously committed to nonviolence. I have three sons
and a daughter that I have tried to raise to share this commitment. Yet I really
relish the occasional violent entertainment and I have been fairly free in sharing
this pleasure with my children. This has led to considerable moral anxiety.
An Anthropological Meeting Point
On the basis of their shared research and teaching on Sicily since the 1970s, the author contrasts his own Mediterraneanist approach and German scholar Ina-Maria Greverus’ utopian view of the European south as an outstanding experience of an intellectual encounter. Respectful debates of disputatious positions are a rare gift in the academic world of today.
Paul R. Mendes-Flohr
This article challenges the view that religious tolerance is promoted by affirming what the respective faith communities have in common. Rather, it proposes that genuine interfaith dialogue acknowledges difference and celebrates our distinctive paths to the life of the spirit as refracting our shared humanity.
The subject of this conference is one that has occupied me for perhaps longer than I wish to remember, and I do appreciate being given the opportunity to share some of my deliberations with you today. There are many tangents to this story; therefore, for the sake of coherence I have focussed on areas that hopefully will be of some interest to this conference.
The present issue is composed of independently submitted articles that share particular themes. Both Bar-On Cohen and Gamliel, in their thorough groundedness in the detailed empirical description of practice (martial arts and Yemenite Jewish women’s wailing, respectively) explore critically major conceptual theoretical concerns at the heart of contemporary anthropology.
Earlier versions of the five articles of this edition of Theoria were presented at a conference held at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in March 2010.1 Although they are diverse in style and content, all address the shared theme of the conference and this edition — ‘Poverty, Charity, Justice’.
The Case of Muslim and Orthodox Shepherds in Middle Albania
This essay provides grass-roots insights into interreligiosity in Middle Albania. I focus on two individuals, Muslim Arif and Orthodox Anastas, to show how notions of cultural intimacy prevail over hegemonic discourses on religious identity that have re-emerged in postsocialist and 'post-atheist' Albania. The process of religious revitalisation took place simultaneously with a pervasive reshaping of local cultural identity. These discourses give simultaneously an opportunity for religious differentiation and symbolic contestations, as well as for diverse collaborations on a social, cultural and economic level. I illustrate how cultural intimacy is performed and cultivated as a shared practice of multipart singing, and understood by the local shepherds not as a marker of difference but as common ground for mutual dialogue. By sharing the social activity of singing the shepherds do not only form a 'sonic community' but also celebrate an interreligious 'community of friends'.
Adapting Health-promotion Messages to Incorporate Local Meanings in Guinée Forestière
Maria Cristina Manca
Health promotion is dependent upon sharing information with local populations and adapting health-care services to make them more acceptable, and is an essential part of any Ebola intervention. Listening to the concerns of local communities and engaging them as active participants ensures that health promotion messages are relevant, acceptable and understandable as well as culturally appropriate. Ebola is associated with fear and death, thus understanding the significance and meanings of life, death, disease and sickness for the Kissi of Guinea Forestière (Guinea) is essential for ensuring acceptable health services. Community engagement was essential for this research to gain the trust of the Kissi and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information to reduce the transmission of the Ebola virus. This technical account is based on three periods of ethnographic fieldwork and health promotion activities conducted in Guinea between May 2014 and February 2015.