When Bamboo Bloom

An Anthropologist in Taliban's Afghanistan

When Bamboo Bloom

When Bamboo Bloom is a medical anthropologists highly personal ethnographic chronicle of time spent as an aid worker and community outreach trainer in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. While managing to avoid notice by the Taliban herself, Patricia Omidian, an outsider but one who speaks a local language, exposes the searing realities of scarce access to education and health care alongside limited resources and personal loss in Kabul, Hazarajat, and Herat. Readers feel every pothole in the road as she traverses the vast, rugged country and share her distress over everyday Afghan struggles for survival. Yet, resiliency endures, both for the writer and for the Afghan people, even in the face of Taliban edicts. Omidian illustrates how Afghans must negotiate between the dictates of their own culture and the intimidation of the Taliban, wondering herself what characteristic or trait they possess to cope with the erosion of honor and freedom. This rare, experiential narrative provides an insiders view of people and circumstances that reaches beyond ubiquitous news headlines of wars, invasions, coups, and droughts. It reveals the unexpected hazards, elusive joys, difficult decisions, and subtle complexities in a country where peace may come when bamboo bloom.

Writing Anthropology

A Call for Uninhibited Methods

Writing Anthropology

A call for new methods for anthropology, this book explores the nature of anthropological knowledge and the conditions of integration and communication with people. Starting with an analysis of anthropologists' guilt, Fan addresses issues of reflexivity, reciprocity, and respect, then builds on this to evaluate how researchers generate knowledge.

Life in Classrooms

Life in Classrooms

Since its first appearance, Life in Classrooms has established itself as a classic study of the educational process at its most fundamental level.

Reading the Grateful Dead

A Critical Survey

Reading the Grateful Dead

In Reading the Grateful Dead: A Critical Survey, Nicholas G. Meriwether has assembled a collection of essays that examine the development of Grateful Dead studies. This volume includes work from three generations of scholars and includes a wide variety of perspectives on the band and its cultural significance. Organized into four sections, each describes an aspect or approach to Dead studies, along with an overview of the nature and extent of Dead studies: how it evolved and what it comprises today.

Bad Animals

A Father's Accidental Education in Autism

Bad Animals

Joel Yanofsky tried for years to start this memoir. “It’s not just going to be about autism,” he told his wife, Cynthia. “It’s going to be about parenthood and marriage, about hope and despair, and storytelling, too.” “Marriage?” Cynthia said. “What about marriage?” A veteran book reviewer, Yanofsky has spent a lifetime immersed in literature (not to mention old movies and old jokes), which he calls shtick. This account of a year in the life of a family describes a father’s struggle to enter his son’s world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best: self-help books, feel-good memoirs, literary classics from the Bible to Dr. Seuss, old movies, and, yes, shtick. Funny, wrenching, and unfailingly candid, Bad Animals is both an exploration of a baffling condition and a quirky love story told by a gifted writer.

Medical Identities

Health, Well-being and Personhood

Medical Identities

Illness and misfortune more broadly are ubiquitous; thus, healing roles or professions are also universal. Ironically, however, little attention has been paid to those who heal or promote wellbeing. These come in many different guises: in some societies, healing is highly professional and specialized; in some cases, it is more preventative, in others more interventionist. Based on rich and wide-ranging ethnographic data and especially written for this volume, these essays look at how a great variety of health providers are perceived - from traditional healers to physicians, from diviners to nursing home providers. Conversely, the authors also ask how healers, or those concerned with wider matters of well being, view themselves and to what degree social attitudes differ in regard to who these people are, as well as their power, prestige and activities. As these essays demonstrate, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or state policy may all play formative roles in shaping the definition of health and wellbeing, how they are delivered, and the character and prestige of those who provide for our health and welfare in society.

Silver Screen Buddha

Buddhism in Asian and Western Film

Silver Screen Buddha

How do contemporary films depict Buddhists and Buddhism? What aspects of the Buddhist tradition are these films keeping from our view? By repeatedly romanticizing the meditating monk, what kinds of Buddhisms and Buddhists are missing in these films and why? Silver Screen Buddha is the first book to explore the intersecting representations of Buddhism, race, and gender in contemporary films. Sharon A. Suh examines the cinematic encounter with Buddhism that has flourished in Asia and in the West in the past century – from images of Shangri-La in Frank Capra's 1937 Lost Horizon to Kim Ki-Duk's 2003 international box office success Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring. The book helps readers see that representations of Buddhism in Asia and in the West are fraught with political, gendered, and racist undertones. Silver Screen Buddha draws significant attention to ordinary lay Buddhism, a form of the tradition given little play in popular film. By uncovering the differences between a fictionalized, commodified, and exoticized Buddhism, Silver Screen Buddha brings to light expressions of the tradition that highlight laity and women, on the one hand, and Asian and Asian Americans, on the other. Suh engages in a re-visioning of Buddhism that expands the popular understanding of the tradition, moving from the dominance of meditating monks to the everyday world of raced, gendered, and embodied lay Buddhists.

The Americas That Might Have Been

Native American Social Systems Through Time

The Americas That Might Have Been

Imagines the development of the Western Hemisphere without European contact and colonization. This work answers the hypothetical question: What would the Americas be like today—politically, economically, culturally—if Columbus and the Europeans had never found them, and how would American peoples interact with the world's other societies? It assumes that Columbus did not embark from Spain in 1492 and that no Europeans found or settled the New World afterward, leaving the peoples of the two American continents free to follow the natural course of their Native lives. The Americas That Might Have Been is a professional but layman-accessible, fact-based, nonfiction account of the major Native American political states that were thriving in the New World in 1492. Granberry considers a contemporary New World in which the glories of Aztec Mexico, Maya Middle America, and Inca Peru survived intact. He imagines the roles that the Iroquois Confederacy of the American Northeast, the powerful city-states along the Mississippi River in the Midwest and Southeast, the Navajo Nation and the Pueblo culture of the Southwest, the Eskimo Nation in the Far North, and the Taino/Arawak chiefdoms of the Caribbean would play in American and world politics in the 21st Century. Following a critical examination of the data using empirical archaeology, linguistics, and ethnohistory, Granberry presents a reasoned and compelling discussion of native cultures and the paths they would have logically taken over the past five centuries. He reveals the spectacular futures these brilliant pre-Columbian societies might have had, if not for one epochal meeting that set off a chain of events so overwhelming to them that the course of human history was forever changed. Julian Granberry is Language Coordinator with Native American Language Services in Florida and author of numerous publications, including A Grammar and Dictionary of the Timucua Language. Additional reviews: "Offers the latitude to explain a model of cultural evolution based on kinship categories while speculating about hjow several Indian nations might have developed sans colonialism."—North Dakota Quarterly "Granberry offers scenarios that should have us thinking of the innumerable possible trajectories that these societies might have followed had they not been impacted by Europeans."—Journal of Anthropological Research

Japanese Company in Crisis

Japanese Company in Crisis

Japanese white-collar workers have been characterised by their intense loyalty and life-long commitment to their companies. This book is based on very extensive ethnographic research inside a Japanese insurance company during the period when the company was going through a major crisis which ended in the company's bankruptcy and collapse. It examines the attitudes of Japanese employees towards their work, their company and related issues at a time when the established order and established attitudes were under threat. The wide range and detail of the reporting of workers' attitudes, often in their own words, sustained over a considerable timescale, makes this study a particularly valuable resource.