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Phong pioneers

Exploring the sociopolitics of mythology in upland Laos

Oliver Tappe

Hat Ang, mythological culture hero of the Phong (an ethnic minority in Laos), exemplifies the figure of the upland pioneer. Taking the legend of Hat Ang as a vantage point, this paper discusses the ethnohistory of this specific Austroasiatic group and offers a mythological perspective into the discussion of uplanders’ agency and future‐making. This key myth of the Phong addresses questions of remoteness and relationality, of individual aspirations and hubris. Therefore, investigating mythology is key to understanding past and present representations of Phong culture and society within a multi‐ethnic upland context.

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Hunting in Itelmen

Filming a Past Practice in a Disappearing Language

David Koester and Liivo Niglas

This article presents a narrative and analytical account of an ethnographic filmmaking project that could be described as “salvage anthropology.“ In 2008 anthropologist David Koester and ethnographic filmmaker Liivo Niglas worked with indigenous Itelmen hunters Georgii Zaporotskii and Pavel Khaloimov to record accounts of hunting practices in the Itelmen language and the formerly practiced tradition of hunting sable with a net. The article describes the project and what went into the making of the first film to result, Itelmen Stories. It provides details of the ethnohistorical record of sable hunting that could not be included in the film. The article emphasizes the collaborative and serendipitous nature of “salvage anthropology“ in the twenty-first century, and discusses the problem of “museification“ and the value of filming technique that emphasized equally observation of practices and attending to narratives. The article gives an account of the filming in context and in turn a more general context for understanding of Itelmen life today.

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Senses and Gender in Modern and Ancient Greek Healing Rituals

Evy Johanne Håland


This article presents ethnographic fieldwork combined with studies of historical sources to explore modern and ancient healing rituals in Greece. It focuses on the importance of the senses, especially smell, taste, and sight, in relation to gendered practices and beliefs about healing. In Greece, healing rituals are generally connected with the domestic sphere where women are the dominant agents of power. Based upon the author's fieldwork, the article presents the “female sphere” from the perspectives of female informants. It seeks to deconstruct male perceptions of women and their magic healing rituals that appear in ancient sources produced by men, by a comparison with the modern material.

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Among Cannibals and Headhunters

Jack London in Melanesia

Keith Newlin

Press . Aswani , Shankar . 2000 . “ Changing Identities: The Ethnohistory of Roviana Predatory Head-Hunting. ” Journal of the Polynesian Society 109 : 39 – 70 . Bennett , Judith A . 1987 . Wealth of the Solomons: A History of a Pacific

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Strange Fruit

The South African Truth Commission and the Demonic Economies of Violence

Allen Feldman

At no other time more than in the present day has individual, social and institutional memory come under such concerted pressure, critique and exposure as a fragile foundation for truth and facticity. This current reluctance to authenticate social memory is intimately tied to well-known postmodernist depredations, which profoundly disenchanted the authority of tradition and authenticity, and emptied core institutionalised myths of their temporal and semantic continuity. As institutionalised memory fails to provide overarching master narratives that can win cultural consent, it has also become increasingly disjunctive with previously unnarratable history and experience. Consider the synchronic fictions of recent ethno-histories, the historians’ debate in Germany on the facticity of the Holocaust, or even the critique of post-traumatic stress disorder and other recuperations of traumatic memory whose fictive psycho-medical legitimacy has been challenged by Alan Young and Ian Hacking.

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Histories of Transport Labor, Modes of Circulation, and Mobile Subjects in South Asia

Tarini Bedi

Discussions of the historiography of mobility, circulation, and transport in South Asia, a region that covers the modern nation-states of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan, and Tibet, must begin with an acknowledgment of what has shaped broader historical approaches to this area. I begin by offering a brief overview of the rich, but also dominant area of focus in South Asian transport history, namely, a focus on the history of railways and on the colonial period as a watershed in South Asian transport innovation. This overview provides context to recent shifts in the transport historiography of South Asia. While focus on the history of railways was concerned with technological and economic ramifications of transportation networks and with debates over colonial governance, recent work reviewed here highlights social, cultural, and political implications of transportation within precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial settings. These newer works in cultural, economic, and labor history, literary studies, ethnohistory, global history, and anthropology acknowledge the significance of railways and existing work in transport history.

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Mary Elaine Hegland and Magdalena Rodziewicz

presented their original research in 11 thematic panels devoted to education, ethnohistory, visual anthropology, political participation of women, religion in popular culture, the concept of romantic love, Middle Eastern youth, modernity, sports, non

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An Appraisal of Participant Observation Methodology

Soheila Shahshahani

masterpiece in ethno-history, a totally different article. She shows how a bird's becfiques -history due to its medical qualities and taste has been recorded in various texts from Aristotle to the Holy Bible in the Middle East to Egypt, Rome, and Greece, to

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The Magic of Bureaucracy

Repatriation as Ceremony

Laura Peers

. London : Routledge . Fogelson , Ray . 1989 . “ The Ethnohistory of Events and Nonevents .” Ethnohistory 36 ( 2 ): 133 – 147 . 10.2307/482275 Gell , Alfred . 1992 . “ The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology .” In

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Publications, Exhibitions and Conferences

Sara Farhan, Paul Fox, and Fakhri Haghani

’, ‘Anthropology of Art and Architecture in the Middle East’, ‘Ethno-history of the Middle East’ and ‘Anthropological Perspectives of Documentary Films about Women in the Middle East’. Examples of the topics presented and discussed at the conference were the ‘end