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The Editors

The treatment of cultural difference and diversity by French-speaking cartoonists has changed radically over the last few decades, as four articles in this special issue demonstrate. What has not changed since the nineteenth century is the centrality of these themes to comics, which have been a globalizing medium in a shrinking world throughout the period. French-language comics are exemplary of these transformations, insofar as France was a major imperialist power during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Moreover, France has long been home to ethnic and religious minorities, and was a major center of immigration during the twentieth century. These socio-historical trends have left a huge imprint on comics within France itself, but the French also exported the form along with their language to most of their colonies, which has given rise to (post-)colonial traditions of cartooning in French-speaking regions across the globe.

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Talking across Cultural Differences

Some Reflections Proceeding from Exile

Eva Hoffman

I am a woman and I am a writer; therefore, I am a woman writer. I do not disavow this, and I am sure that the basic given of femininity affects, in ways that are both accessible to me and unconscious, much of what I write. However, as I look back on my writing about issues of difference and Otherness—and as has sometimes been pointed out to me—I realise that the problematic of gender is, if not entirely absent from it, then rarely explicitly foregrounded or emphasised. I would like to reflect briefly on why this is so.

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Imposed Politics of Cultural Differences

Managed Multiculturalism in Israeli Civil Society

Zvika Orr

This article analyzes the processes by which multicultural discourses and practices are implemented and adapted in local settings. Based on five years of ethnographic fieldwork in an Israeli NGO that promotes economic and social rights, this work examines the micro-politics of multiculturalism and the complex uses of this concept by various Jewish and Arab actors in the organization. The research shows how multicultural notions concerning Arab culture were introduced by the Jewish actors in order to depoliticize Jewish-Arab relations and preserve the balance and stability within the organization. By adopting characteristics of state multiculturalism—in a country where multiculturalism is not an aspect of official government policy—the Jewish actors attempted to produce social change while preserving central elements in the hegemonic Zionist-nationalistic worldview.

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James E. Cutting and Ayse Candan

This article investigates historical trends of mean shot durations in 9,400 English-language and 1,550 non-English-language movies released between 1912 and 2013. For the sound-era movies of both sets there is little evidence indicating anything other than a linear decline plotted on a logarithmic scale, with the English-language set providing stronger results. In a subsample of 24 English-language movies from 1940 to 2010 the decline in shot duration is uniform across 15 shot classes, a result that supports a broad “evolutionary” account of film change. The article also explores the proportions of these shot classes across years and genres, with the results showing that 25 percent of the decline in shot duration is due to a shift away from shot classes with longer-than-average shot durations towards those with shorter-than-average durations, and 8 percent of the decline is due to the increased use of shot scales in which characters appear larger.

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Andrew Buckser

This article discusses structural, logistical, and administrative issues associated with the use of participant observation assignments in teaching the anthropology of religion. Fieldwork presents extraordinary opportunities for teaching students about the nature of cultural difference, but it also poses pedagogical challenges that require careful planning and supervision. The article reviews problems including the scope and nature of the observation, student preparation and guidance, connecting with fieldsites, presentation formats, issues of ethics and confidentiality, and university administrative considerations.

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Educating the Eyes

Biocultural Anthropology and Physical Education

Greg Downey

Diverse forms of physical education form in their participants' skills, perceptual abilities and physiological adaptations that distinguish them from practitioners of other activities. These traits, many unconscious, are little studied in sociocultural anthropology in spite of their widespread prevalence. This article specifically explores how practitioners of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian dance and martial art, learn to do a bananeira, a form of handstand. Its form, practical demands and training techniques make the bananeira a radically different exercise than other forms of handstand, such as that done by gymnasts. Capoeira practitioners develop a distinctive sense of balance—a dynamic assembly of perceptual skills and motor responses—that they use to keep upright while inverted. Across all cultures, forms of physical education and apprenticeship assemble distinctive physical skills, forms of cultural difference that should be defended as ardently as other forms of distinctiveness.

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Cornelia Wilhelm

This article explores the changing perception of "diversity" and "cultural difference" in Germany and shows how they were central in the construction of "self" and "other" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries affecting minorities such as Jews, Poles, and others. It examines different levels of legal and political action toward minorities and immigrants in this process and explores how the perception and legal framework for the Turkish minority in the past sixty years was influenced by historical patterns of such perceptions and their memory. The article tries to shed some light on how the nature of coming-to-terms with the past ( Vergangenheitsbewältigung ) and the memory of the Holocaust have long prohibited a broader discussion on inclusion and exclusion in German society. It makes some suggestions as to what forced Germans in the postunification era to reconsider legislation, as well as society's approach to "self" and "other" under the auspices of the closing of the "postwar period" and a newly emerging united Europe.

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Anthropology at the dawn of apartheid

Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski’s South African engagements, 1919–1934

Isak Niehaus

In this article, I focus on different strategies of anthropological engagement with government and potential funders. I do so by considering the diverse nature of Alfred Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski’s encounters with South African authorities, between 1919 and 1934. I suggest that Radcliffe-Brown saw South Africa as an integrated society in which segregation was impossible, and advocated the sympathetic scientific understanding of cultural difference within this context. By contrast, Malinowski was committed to a romantic vision of holistic cultures, collaborated directly with colonial authorities, and argued for a policy of effective cultural and territorial segregation. The strategies had important longterm consequences and costs, calculable only from the privileged vantage point of history.

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"Maintaining the Class"

Teachers in the New High Schools of the Banlieues

Frédéric Viguier

Over the past twenty years, a silent revolution brought 70 percent of a generation to the baccalauréat level (up from 33 percent in 1986), without ensuring students corresponding job opportunities. Sociologists have analyzed the impact of this educational democratization, which sought to solve the economic crisis by adapting the younger members of the French workforce to the new economy of services: it has paradoxically accentuated the stigmatization of youths from working-class and immigrant families who live in suburban housing projects. Therefore, high school teachers have had to deal with students' profound disillusionment with education. Moreover, teachers have been central to all of the recent political controversies in France regarding cultural difference. While there are books, pamphlets, and memoirs reflecting their experiences, there is no research exploring the discrepancy between high school teachers' expectations and those of their predecessors. This article explores this discrepancy and its contribution to the social and political construction of the "problème des banlieues."

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The Glass Curtain

Bridges from Ethnography to Art

Katharina Eisch-Angus

In an interdisciplinary workshop in the former Iron Curtain borderlands of the Czech Republic and Bavaria seven multi-national artists and one European ethnologist revealed the cultural dynamics of boundaries both by exploring an expressive landscape and memory field, and by experiencing cultural difference as reflected in the co-operation and creation processes within the group. By using ethnographic approaches to assist the process of developing and conceptualising artworks and self-reflexive, ethno-psychoanalytic interpretation, the project followed the impact of twentieth-century border frictions and violence into collective identities, but also the arbitrary character of borders. The results suggest how a multi-perspective, subjectively informed methodology of approaching space and spatially expressed memory could be developed both for ethnology and for art, bridging the supposed gap between 'artistic' and 'scientific' methods by combining their strengths in a complementary way.