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Ingrid Pfluger-Schindlbeck

The contemporary preoccupation with the headscarf and the new veiling shows us the importance of symbolic messages of hair behaviour not only in Western but also in Muslim societies. This article gives a survey of different methodological approaches to hair, namely the anthropological hair debate of the 1950s, studies on new Islamic dress, regional and culture-specific anthropological research on hair symbolism and hair sacrifice. Hair is either treated in the context of religious texts (Qur’an, Hadiths), Islamic institutional concepts of the sexual body (purity rules) or in the context of sacrifice revealing religious concepts of an asexual human body. It is shown that the contradictory statements of these diverse theoretical approaches are the result of a cleavage that can be traced throughout the literature and also accounts for the polyvalent meanings of the symbol of hair. Hair can be viewed in the context of individual versus society but also in the context of individual versus God. Therefore, the analysis of hair behaviour in Islamic societies has to combine both relations to understand the seemingly exotic behaviour of ‘the other’.

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Demotion as Value

Rank Infraction among the Ngadha in Flores, Indonesia

Olaf H. Smedal

A plausible reading by Joel Robbins of Louis Dumont as a value pluralist serves as the point of departure for this article. The value discrepancies in focus here are two fundamentally different ideological constructs. One manifests as a social organization characterized by hereditary rank based on notions of purity. The other echoes notions of a more egalitarian social order. The first is rooted in the cosmo-mythical past, the second in a much more recent discourse. The social organization premised on rank and purity is rapidly losing ground—in part due to the influence of ‘the modern’, but even more so because its internal logic works against it. Empirically, the article centers on a complex ritual in which the opposing values are triggered, producing profound emotional turmoil.

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Emma Liggins

The social purity ‘crusade’ that gathered force after 1885 initiated a change both in ways of representing prostitution and in public opinion about ways of dealing with the sexually deviant woman. Since the 1860s the police had been granted the power under the Contagious Diseases Acts to apprehend women of doubtful virtue in the streets and insist that they be medically examined; if found to be diseased, they could then be detained in lock hospitals. Once these acts were repealed in 1885, prostitutes had greater freedom but were also kept under surveillance by philanthropists and the medical profession. A variety of discourses constructed the prostitute either as an innocent victim of male lust or as a ‘demon’ and ‘contagion of evil’. Judith Walkowitz has argued that such an ideological framework excluded the experience of women who drifted into this lifestyle temporarily, and provided ‘a restrictive and moralistic image’ of the fallen woman. Arguably, literary representations of prostitutes tended to flesh out the potentially restrictive images used in feminist, medical and periodical writing on the subject, though no form of discourse was immune to the strong influence of the language of purity used by the members of the National Vigilance Association (NVA) and its advocates.

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John H. Gillespie

This article examines the main references to the Death of God in Sartre’s work (in ‘Un nouveau mystique’, Cahiers pour une morale, Le Diable et le bon Dieu, and Mallarmé : la lucidité et sa face d’ombre), and examines how his use of the term reveals his understanding of the development and progress of atheism in the modern world, contextualises his belief in the purity and correctness of his own version of atheism, and illustrates the persistence of his focus on God in his writing.

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The “strong nucleus of the Greek race”

Racial nationalism and anthropological science

Sevasti Trubeta

This article deals with the theory of the "strong nucleus of the Greek race" elaborated by the Greek physical anthropologist Ioannis Koumaris (1879-1970), who headed all academic anthropological institutions in Greece between 1915 and 1970. According to this theory human groups were in a state of "fluid constancy," meaning that the "proper" nucleus of the predominant race always persisted in a stable form despite miscegenation, and was hence capable of resurfacing. This theory footed, first, on racial theories challenging the existence of "pure races" in favor of evidencing "racial varieties" and "racial types" and, second, an early Greek national idea according to which Hellenism possessed the ability to acculturate and absorb foreign peoples or nations without losing its innate qualities. The Greek notion fili (meaning both nation and race), and its shifting semantics from religious to national and racial, is similarly instrumental to this analysis. By means of this theory racial purity was not so much rejected as it was relativized, essentially being replaced by the constancy of a race over time. With the shift from purity to constancy, the imperative of the homogeneity of an entity is not violated but, in contrast, supported by race anthropological arguments. Race hygienic theories, in turn, advanced the shift from racial consistency to purification.

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German Displaced Persons Camps (1945-1948)

Orthodox Jewish Responses to the Holocaust

Gershon Greenberg

Orthodox Jews in postwar German Displaced Persons camps experienced the Holocaust's rupture of God's covenantal relationship with history and the eclipse of sacred reality. They sought to recapture that reality, even though the continuity of tradition that held it had been shattered. This was done by voluntarily reviving tradition, as if by doing so the sacred could be invoked. Following momentary suspension, they sought to restore ethnic-generational purity and traditional ritual. They invested holiday celebration with Holocaust meaning. On the level of thought they expanded Israel's metahistory to include the unprecedented tragedy and intensified their own contributions of Torah and Teshuvah to the higher drama, and recommitted their trust that divine light was implicit to reality's darkness.

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Ethnographic engagements with global elites

Paul Robert Gilbert and Jessica Sklair

Anthropological interest in critical studies of class, system, and inequality has recently been revitalized. Most ethnographers have done this from “below,” while studies of financial, political, and other professional elites have tended to avoid the language of class, capital, and inequality. This themed section draws together ethnographies of family wealth transfers, philanthropy, and private sector development to reflect on the place of critique in the anthropology of elites. While disciplinary norms and ethics usually promote deferral to our research participants, the uncritical translation of these norms “upward” to studies of elites raises concerns. We argue for a critical approach that does not seek political purity or attempt to “get the goods” on elites, but that makes explicit the politics involved in doing ethnography with elites.

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Viranjini Munasinghe

Is nationalism more noble than racism? Anderson argues that it is: “Nationalism thinks in terms of historical destinies, while racism dreams of eternal contaminations, transmitted from the origins of time through an endless sequence of loathsome copulations” (1991: 149). For Anderson, racism springs from ideologies of class, which are rooted in notions of blood purity. In contrast, he holds that patriotic dreams and nationalist fellowship rest on a fundamentally different criterion—the language encountered on the mother’s knee. This distinction that Anderson draws is crucial. It leads him to view nations as open and inclusive, since one can be invited into the nation (as is implicit in the term ‘naturalization’), whereas the impulse of racism is to exclude.

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Angel in the House, Devil in the City

Explorations of Gender in Dracula and Penny Dreadful

Lauren Rocha

Season 1 of the television series Penny Dreadful showcases a Victorian London where monsters are reimagined as part of mainstream society. Much of season 1’s plot centres around an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, complete with a story arc involving a group of men attempting to save Mina Murray from a vampire master. At the end of Dracula, they are able to save Mina from Dracula’s influence and she is restored to a state of purity; however, in Penny Dreadful, Mina and the female characters remain unsaved. This article focuses on Penny Dreadful and the failed restoration of the gender order of Dracula’s society. It specifically emphasizes deeper gender issues present in the show’s adaptation of Victorian London, arguing that by allowing the main characters to be urban monsters, the show provides a non-human lens through which to examine societal constructs of gender in relation to selfhood.

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Johannes Görbert, Russ Pottle, Jeff Morrison, Pramod K. Nayar, Dirk Göttsche, Lacy Marschalk, Dorit Müller, Angela Fowler, Rebecca Mills and Kevin Mitchell Mercer

German Literary Anthropology: Across Cultures, Across Genres Stefan Hermes and Sebastian Kaufmann, eds., Der ganze Mensch – die ganze Menschheit: Völkerkundliche Anthropologie, Literatur und Ästhetik um 1800 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), 318 pp., 10 illustrations, €89.95

What’s Old Is New Again, Mostly Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst, eds., New Directions in Travel Writing Studies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 325 pp., $90

Complex Journeys around the World and through Literary and Intellectual Traditions around 1800 Johannes Görbert, Die Vertextung der Welt: Forschungsreisen als Literatur bei Georg Forster, Alexander von Humboldt und Adelbert von Chamisso. Weltliteraturen/World Literatures, Schriftenreihe der Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule für literaturwissenschaftliche Studien, vol. 7 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), vi, 426 pp., 8 illustrations, €109.95

Travel as Cultural Work Gary Totten, African American Travel Narratives from Abroad: Mobility and Cultural Work in the Age of Jim Crow (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015), 170 pp., $26.95

Colonial Encounters between Africa and Europe—with Special Reference to Austria and Switzerland Manuel Menrath, ed., Afrika im Blick: Afrikabilder im deutschsprachigen Europa, 1870–1970 (Zurich: Chronos, 2012), 329 pp., €43

Social Formations and Literary Forms in Long Nineteenth-Century Travel Writing Mary Henes and Brian H. Murray, eds., Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760–1900 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 248 pp., 21 illustrations, $95

Travel Accounts of Polar Regions and Colonial Discourse Mike Frömel, Off ene Räume und gefährliche Reisen im Eis: Reisebeschreibungen über die Polarregionen und ein kolonialer Diskurs im 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhundert (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2013), 288 pp., €29.50.

“Imagined Geographies” and the Navigation of British European Identity Katarina Gephardt, Th e Idea of Europe in British Travel Narratives, 1789–1914 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014), 248 pp., 15 illustrations, $104.95

Terminal and Threshold: Experiencing the Airport Christopher Schaberg, Th e End of Airports (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 216 pp., 25 illustrations, £13.99

NOVEL REVIEW Finding Purity Jonathan Franzen, Purity (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), 563 pp., $28