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Siobhan B. Somerville

This article offers a first-person account of the author's experience teaching an undergraduate course on local queer culture, using her own campus as the site for primary research. The course asks how students might understand the role of Midwestern public universities in the production of queer culture. And how might such knowledge revise understandings of queer culture and its locations, both in the past and in the present? The author describes the course design, the goals of introducing undergraduate students to two scholarly methods (archival research and ethnography) and a number of original research projects undertaken by students.

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Martyn J. Powell, Kerry Featherstone, and Jonathan Skinner

Christopher J. Woods, Travellers’ Accounts as Source-Material for Irish Historians, Maynooth Research Guides for Irish Local History (2009) Reviewed by Martyn J. Powell

Nicholas Shakespeare and Elizabeth Chatwin, eds., Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin (2010) Reviewed by Kerry Featherstone

Graham Huggan, Extreme Pursuits: Travel/Writing in an Age of Globalization (2009) Reviewed by Jonathan Skinner

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Ruy Llera Blanes and Abel Paxe

In this article we chart the histories and political translations of atheist cultures in Angola. We explore the specific translations of atheist ideologies into practical actions that occurred in the post-independence period in the 1970s–1980s and perform an ethnographic exploration of their legacies in contemporary Angola. We also debate the problem of atheism as an anthropological concept, examining the interfaces between ideology, political agency, and social praxis. We suggest that atheism is inherently a politically biased concept, a product of the local histories and intellectual traditions that shape it.

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Hesitant Recognition

Toward a Crop Ontology among Sugar Beet Farmers in Western Poland

Dong Ju Kim

In response to climate change, sustainability has become the keyword for exploring alternative ways of cultivation in different parts of the world. However, local farmers still understand these sustainable alternatives in terms of soil nutrients and their absorption by crops. I examine how sugar beet farmers in western Poland read the condition of crops and field conditions, and accordingly try to cope with agricultural droughts in spring and early summer. While they maintain a practical position that is extremely inductivist, they simultaneously allow for symbolic, indexical meanings. These meanings of farming practices are multilayered and evoke relationships, local histories, and traditions. The farmers accept the reality of climate change only hesitantly, and their aspiration of gaining recognition in Europe has only started to penetrate the multilayered indexical meanings of farming practices.

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Reclaiming European Heritages of Transatlantic Migration

The Politics of Identity of East European Immigrants to the U.S.A.

Vytis Čiubrinskas

This article provides a fieldwork-based case study for the application of identity empowerment through heritage as a research perspective for the analysis of East European transnationalism seen in Lithuanian immigration in the U.S.A. Two patterns of reclaiming European heritages, 'diasporic' and 'recognitionist', are discussed. The 'diasporic' pattern among more recent migrants embraces a transatlantic heritage in which culture stands for the nation. It is instrumentalised as a claim to retain essential Lithuanianness, and reinforced by the moral imperative to return to the homeland. The 'recognitionist' pattern is exemplified by descendants of earlier East European immigrants, and is focused on family roots, as well as on ethnic history and culture. Transatlantic roots and ethnic heritages of the Lithuanian 'Texas pioneers' are reinforced by belonging to the local United States as migrants strive to achieve re-inscription of that heritage as one that has long been rooted in the local history of Texas.

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Softly, softly

Comparative silences in British stories of genetic modification

Cathrine Degnen

Since the late 1990s genetically modified foods, crops, and products have provoked a great deal of controversy in Britain. This article does not challenge the presence of debate over genetic modification in Britain, but rather calls attention to public silences on genetic modification that have often been overlooked. Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork in two parts of the north of England, I explore the ways in which these silences were not equally present across both fieldsites. I argue that this is partly due to the intersection of local histories with the ideological framing of genetic modification by the British government as a question of and for scientific expertise. I also explore how silence on the topic may be a form of what Sheriff (2000) has termed ‘cultural censorship’. Finally, I discuss the theoretical and methodological difficulties of studying and writing about silence, proposing that silences can importantly highlight issues of political and social salience.

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Mary N. Taylor

Since the early 1990s, language used to speak of cultural practices once thought of as "folklore" has become increasingly standardized around the term intangible heritage. Supranational intangible heritage policies promote a contradictory package that aims to preserve local identity and cultural diversity while promoting democratic values and economic development. Such efforts may contribute to the deployment of language that stresses mutual exclusivity and incommensurability, with important consequences for individual and group access to resources. This article examines these tensions with ethnographic attention to a Hungarian folk revival movement, illuminating how local histories of "heritage protection" meet with the global norm of heritage governance in complicated ways. I suggest the paradoxical predicament that both "liberal" notions of diversity and ethno-national boundaries are co-produced through a number of processes in late capitalism, most notably connected to changing relations of property and citizenship regimes.

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Jaro Stacul

Abstract

This article analyzes the reorganization of public memory space in postsocialist Poland and how the state and municipal councils use it to legitimate themselves. Drawing on research conducted in Gdańsk, the birthplace of the social movement (Solidarność) that questioned the legitimacy of the socialist state in the 1980s, it examines the proposed redevelopment of the shipyard where the movement was formed. While the redevelopment sets out to create a public memory space, it is rife with contradictions, for it involves demolishing many buildings associated with the movement. What legitimated the municipal council’s authority over its memorial landscapes was not so much its rediscovery of complex local histories as it was its ability to define the local past in “material” terms.

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Heaney and Walcott

Two Poems

Simon Dentith

Seamus Heaney’s ‘The Ministry of Fear’, and Derek Walcott’s ‘Homecoming: Anse La Raye’, written within a few years of each other, bear some striking resemblances, which – together with their inevitable differences – illuminate the specific national situations from which their poetry emerges, and the differing ways each poet takes to negotiate or make the most of their particular histories. Heaney’s poem is the first in a sequence of six poems called ‘Singing School’, published in North in 1975; while Walcott’s poem first appeared in The Gulf and Other Poems in 1969 – both collections in which the pressures of local histories, and the demands of dramatic and immediate political events, are explicitly registered. In each case the poem is concerned with the difficulties caused, and the creative possibilities made available, by the distance between personal history and available poetic tradition – though this is a story told in a personal register, as autobiography, and told with varying degrees of ruefulness, sadness, and comedy. Both poems tell the story of the ‘growth of the poet’s mind’, and, indeed, Wordsworth is the explicit startingpoint for Heaney, whose poem systematically rewrites The Prelude, insofar as that can be done in a poem of such smaller compass. But Walcott also takes on one of the great poets and translates him into local terms – a project to be realised at much greater length some twenty years later with the writing of Omeros.

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Svetlana Huusko

When visiting the Severobaikal'skii Museum of Local History in Nizhneangarsk in 2012 and later in 2016, I had a sense of the unquestionable reality of the community through the representation of its place in the history of Russia. A visitor can read