Accounts of early European travelers show ample textual evidences of travelers oscillating between the cultural and religious biases and prejudices that obviously conditioned them and a candid sense of wonder and admiration that directly contradicted inherited stereotypes of one kind or another. In the process such travelogues, letters, and observations not only become sites of ambivalence and hybridity but also testify to processes of “cultural mobility” (Greenblatt et al. 2010) and attendant self-fashioning that did not conform to the racial and imperial con- structs generated by the “White Man’s Burden” at a later date. This article examines such issues through an analysis of the descriptions and letters of Thomas Coryat, who wandered across Mughal India between 1612 to 1617. What emerges through his accounts is an interstitial perspective that fosters a vision of cultural mobility without the teleological triumphalism often associated with empire and theology.
This article examines the quotations of Elizabeth I’s iconic portraiture as Virgin Queen in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and their effect on our a posteriori conceptualization of the depicted body of the female sovereign. Using Mieke Bal’s concept of preposterous history, I argue that Kapur’s transposition of Virgin Queen iconography onto celluloid results in a “(complex) text” that “is both a material object and an effect” (1999: 14). Bal acknowledges that the complexity that lies in the material results of the artistic quotation is not necessarily subversive, as it is dependent on the quoting artist’s ideological premise. Indeed, Kapur’s intermedial quotation of Elizabethan portraiture imbues the highly complex body of the female ruler with contemporary heteronormative notions of female sexuality, thereby reducing it to an object for the male gaze.
Samuel Baron's Description of Tonqueen (1686)
Samuel Baron's A Description of the Kingdom of Tonqueen (1686) contains many tropes of the European travel narrative. However, its author was no stranger to the country, but was born to a Vietnamese mother and Dutch father in mid-seventeenth-century Hanoi. Here I discuss how Baron fashioned his identity during his life to attract multiple patrons in the unstable maritime world of Southeast and East Asia. I re-read his Description as an example of “auto-ethnography,” showing how the author shaped his work to achieve certain ends. A comparison with a contemporary Chinese description of northern Vietnam reveals many similarities in tone and approach and helps situate Baron's text within the commercial and diplomatic exchanges of the region.
Male Physicality on the Late-Victorian Stage
David Haldane Lawrence
James Eli Adams, in Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Masculinity (1995), has written of the ‘intractable element of theatricality in all masculine self-fashioning, which inevitably makes appeal to an audience, real or imagined … even the normative is typically asserted as an unending performance’. It could also be argued that ‘masculine self-fashioning’, and the necessity for display to an audience gaze, is taken to its extreme in the world of entertainment, where men appear on stage, in costume, wearing make-up, and acting out aspects of masculinity often alien to their own personae. Through applying this debate to nineteenth-century popular culture, this article discusses men who confronted the gaze of both sexes while posing as living statues, displaying muscular strength, or encouraging idolatry through their charismatic presences on the legitimate stage.
'European Turks' and Negotiations of Neighbourliness at 'Home'
This article examines how Turks returning from Germany to Turkey self-fashion as 'orderly neighbours'. By maintaining aesthetically pleasing homes and gardens, keeping public spaces clean, and obeying rules and laws in public, return migrants believe they act as modern 'European-Turks' and exemplify good neighbourliness. Many neighbours, however, feel these actions are unnecessary or even disruptive to Turkish communities. In conversation with the burgeoning anthropology of ethics, this research explores how local, national and transnational assemblages foster reflections and debates on neighbourly ethics. Further, this study highlights anxieties about individualism, reciprocity, 'modernity' and 'European-ness' in today's Turkey.
Discipleship in a Pentecostal-Charismatic Organization
Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) is a Ghanaian Pentecostal-charismatic organization with a transnational reach. In this article, I analyze the pedagogical system whereby this denomination has introduced converts into its ‘church planting’ mission. LCI leaders are keenly aware of both the necessity and the perils of discipline to the Christian life, exemplifying two stances of Pentecostal-charismatic ethics and politics: its quantitative concern with accessibility, and its qualitative concern with piety. Attempts to balance these relatively autonomous trends engender a gradational and distributive approach to discipline and leniency in LCI, which calibrates disciplinary demands according to converts’ level of ‘spiritual maturity’. This article takes the dialectics of discipline and lenience that characterizes LCI’s ecclesiology as an opportunity to reconsider religious subject formation beyond the dominant problem of ‘self-fashioning’.
Travel Tales of Captivity in Rabbinic Literature
This article examines a travel narrative of sexual captivity in Rome from rabbinic literature of late antiquity. By comparing two textual versions, Palestinian and Babylonian, the article discusses not only the dynamics of cultural identity formation as negotiated in the “contact zone” of captivity, but also the tradition history of this tale as it migrated from late antique Palestine to the rabbinic circles in the Sasanian Empire. While the Palestinian version is a narrative about the reunification of space and identity disrupted by exile, the diasporic rabbinic community in Babylonia creates a fiction of identity despite place; de-territorializing the physical component of place in identity and replacing it with a textual self-fashioning.
A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers
Travis Warren Cooper
Nebraska Press . Desai , Gaurav . 2001 . Subject to Colonialism: African Self-Fashioning and the Colonial Library . Durham, NC : Duke University Press . Douglas , Mary . 1966 . Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo . New