In postsocialist and postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina, popular dervish cults are re-emerging after several decades of (semi)clandestine existence due to official bans and repression imposed by the Yugoslav state socialist governmentality. This article explores how an absence of divine knowledge ensuing from this disruptive history—strongly felt among various Bosnian dervishes today—is transformed into spiritual creativity and an improvisatory dynamic mediated by charismatic sheikhs. It traces “creative moments” leading toward the formation of a Bosnian dervish cult and its realignment with translocal networks of dervish lodges to explore the dynamics of divine knowledge and its creation inside these networks. The ethnography presented here suggests that we move a step beyond mere sociological descriptions of how translocal cults are organized across distance to explore in a more nuanced way the historicity and the dynamics of how divine knowledge is (re)created and idiosyncratically appropriated within these networks.
The emergence of translocal dervish cults in Bosnia-Herzegovina
US Military Investments in the Concept of Creativity, 1945–1965
Bregje F. Van Eekelen
This article investigates the Cold War entanglements of the concept of “creativity” with the US military. The field of creativity studies came about after World War II, and the military was a vital site for the production of knowledge about creative thinking. Creativity emerged on the geopolitical radar, in terms of the acquisition of creative thinking skills, attempts to “think the unthinkable” (atomic futures), and the detection of creative citizens. Creative, divergent thinking garnered a renewed urgency with the Sputnik shock, which showcased that conformist practices in knowledge production would not put an American on the moon. Between 1945 and 1965, the concept of creativity—as something to be defined, measured, and stimulated—was framed as a matter of national security and an object of geopolitical concern. This ensuing traffic in knowledge between Cold War academic and military contexts has been constitutive of present-day understandings of creative, undisciplined thought.
Daniel T. Levin
Dean K. Simonton, Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and
Much has been written about Sartre’s views on artistic creativity as communication, but it has less often been remarked that the potential for not-communicating was inscribed from the outset within his theorisation of creation. This article is an exploration of those two apparent opposites, using the psychoanalytic theory of D.W. Winnicott as a counterpoint.
Remembering the Holocaust in Today’s Yiddish Song
The Holocaust was undoubtedly the single event that most influenced the course of Yiddish song during the twentieth century. Its effects on Yiddish culture were incalculable. Despite the increasing difficulty of Jewish life in central and Eastern Europe during the 1930s, this was also a period of flowering of Yiddish cultural life. Many believed that the strong network of Yiddish publications, education, cultural events and political organisations offered the promise of a secure and thriving Jewish life despite the restrictions being laid upon the Jews.
An Experiment in the Use of the Guest Interview, Focus Group Interviews and Learning Journals in the Teaching and Learning of the Anthropology of Modern Dance
Jonathan Skinner and Kirk Simpson
This article assesses the experimental teaching and learning of an anthropology module on 'modern dance'. It reviews the teaching and learning of the modern dances (lecture, observation, embodied practice, guest interview), paying attention to the triangulation of investigation methods (learning journal, examination, self-esteem survey, focus group interview). Our findings suggest that—in keeping with contemporary participatory educational approaches—students prefer guest interviews and 'performances of understanding' for teaching and learning, and that focus groups and learning journals were the preferred research methods for illuminating the students' teaching and learning experience.
Educational Lessons from Meteorology, Ethnobotany, and Systems Ecology
The number of terms used for historically unrepresented types of knowledge in environmental management is large and growing. The emphasis on these “new” perspectives reflects a shift in how society values different ways of knowing. A primary reason behind this recognition of value is that fresh perspectives offer new problem framings, approaches to solutions, and linkages to other issues. Successes in collaborating across multiple knowledge domains have yielded new medicines, culturally appropriate regulations, and a better understanding of ecological dynamics, among others. These examples show the search for creative solutions cuts across disciplines, each of which has its own priorities, values, ethical practices, and approaches to knowledge creation. This review demonstrates how systems ecology, ethnobotany, and meteorology increase problem solving by legitimizing different ways of knowing. Pioneers in valuing nonscientific ways of knowing, they set the path forward for methods and theory used to inform research questions.
African Trade and Chinese Oil Production in Western Chad
The oil industry tends to remain disconnected from local realities surrounding production sites, a situation that can be explained by theories of enclaving and technological zones. Despite these barriers, local people try to connect to and profit from oil projects that are set up in their vicinity. This article explores the relationships between a Chadian merchant, who started as a worker in the oil fields, his suppliers of goods and credit, and a Chinese oil company. The analysis focuses on the improvisation that the merchant and his Chinese clients undertook in order to develop trade in a difficult supply situation. The African system of trade enabled the Chinese company to overcome challenges to its project, while helping the merchant convert oil money into commercial capital.
Creating Situations and Spaces of a City's Counter-narrative
This article explores the creation of new structures of participation and counter imaginaries within the city between the poles of arts and politics. On the basis of two case studies, one situated in the non-institutionalised artistic field and one in the non-institutionalised political field, I will explore narratives of a 'topography of the possible' in the city of Salzburg. Aiming to outline collage pieces of a topography of the possible and of counter-narrative in and of the city – the city is looked at in terms of collage, understood as overlapping layers of the three spatial dimensions materiality (physical space), sociability (social space) and the imaginary (symbolic space). These are understood as differing but interrelated spatial dimensions, each one unfolding forms of collective appropriation of a city. The focus lies on the creation of social relations and collective imaginaries on the micro-level of cultural and political self-organised initiatives, looked at under terms of narration and storytelling. My ethnographic project asks for the creative potentiality of a city and for the creative power of social relations and collective imaginaries.
Between Ethnography and the Construction of Heritage
The article discusses the process of setting up an exhibition presenting the fragments of alternative creative practices in 1980s Maribor (Slovenia) in an art museum. Within an interdisciplinary approach – art historical, museological and anthropological, which is in focus here – I try to understand how such a heritage of alternative creative practices is constructed and produced. Furthermore, the question of the anthropological potentiality of exhibition-making as a method for researching certain aspects of urban practices and development is considered. During the exhibition the art museum became a collaborative place for negotiating, mediating and constructing a heritage between an imagined community of (once) alternative individuals and collectives who participated in the exhibition, the museum staff, visitors and the media. The exhibition was echoed in some other events in the city as it also addressed contemporary artistic, cultural and social issues in Maribor.