Exotica

He tells of a tribe whose name in translation means "I Will Kill You"

Conversations with the Cannibals

Michael Kreiger

Kreiger's encounters with a crooked preacher on Palmerston, former cannibals on Malekula, a sourcer on Ambrym, cargo cultists on Tanna, tribal warriors on Malaaita, and the dauntless missionaries of Batuna provide glimpses of passing ways of life on the Cook Islands.

His account of the desecration of the Kwaio by fundamentalist missionaries and their own government is perhaps a sad last chapter in 200 years of European exploitation in this part of the world – David Stanley

Publisher: Ecco
Hardback: 228 pages
Illustrated

Reviews

Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia

Edited by Janet Hoskins

“Brings together comparative material on headhunting in a number of Southeast Asian societies, examining the cultural contexts in which such practices occurred, and relating them to colonial history, violence and ritual. This volume documents and analyzes headhunting practices and shows the persistence of headhunting as a symbol or trope. Ethnographers of seven regions (the Philippine highlands, Sarawak, Brunei, South Borneo and the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Sumba and Timor) share their experiences of living with former headhunters (including an eyewitness account of a headhunting feast), attending rituals and collecting oral histories to understand the heritage of headhunting in context. They also report on contemporary people who reenact headhunts, often with effigies or surrogates for the head itself.”

Publisher: Stanford University
Paperback: 296 pages
Illustrated

The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India

Zia Jaffrey

“In this spellbinding book—at once travelog, history, interview and fiction—Jaffrey invents a hybrid voice to match her subject as she meets journalists, police commissioners, detectives and doctors and tries to trace the hijiras´ tradition through layers and layers of obfuscation and denial, as well as through Hindu, Muslim and British history. This is the first major book on this taboo and invisible subject, a compelling work on an enthralling subject.”

Publisher: Pantheon
Hardback: 293 pages
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Island Encounters: Black and White Memories of the Pacific War

Lamont Lindstrom and Geoffrey M. White

“Explores the massive and sudden contact between powerful military forces and Pacific Islanders, blending oral histories recorded in the islands after WWII with some 175 photograph gleaned from Japanese newspaper morgues, the private albums of U.S. veterans, and Allied military archives.”

Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
Hardback: 208 pages
Illustrated

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Island of Bali

Miguel Covarrubias

“Outstanding Mexican painter and caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias found equal fame in writing one of the finest books on strange and distant lands. Only an artist could have penetrated so deeply into the spirit of the dance, theater, music, handicrafts and sports of Bali; and only a man of learning in anthropology could have understood and recorded so accurately the island’s religion, sexual customs, family life and economic and political organization. Covarrubias proceeds to describe the geography and nature of the island and then to relate the history of the race. Includes a thorough account of the community, the family and the individual in all spheres of thought, emotion and behavior, in addition to chapters on the Balinese arts, festivals and rituals.”

Publisher: Columbia University
Paperback: 430 pages
Illustrated

The King of the World in the Land of the Pygmies

Joan Mark

Patrick Tracy Lowell sailed to Africa in 1927 as part of a three-person anthropological expedition from Harvard University. The nature of anthropology was changing but Mr. Lowell wasn’t. He remained a New England gentleman for the entire duration of his 25-year stay in Africa. Although he was considered a failure as an anthropologist when he died in 1953, he was certainly a success in the “life is art” category. This book gives one of the great eccentrics of the 20th century his proper due. He created a home away from home in northwest Zaire, and his hospitality enabled a number of anthropologists a chance to study the region and its people and publish their findings, in the process providing a glimpse of a world where there were still outposts of purity, untrammeled by civilization. SA

Publisher: University of Nebraska
Hardback: 272 pages
Illustrated

Kon-Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl

“In 1947, Heyerdahl and a crew of five men set out to prove that it was possible that Polynesia had been settled by South Americans by re-creating the conditions of such a voyage. The result was a ripping yarn that has been translated into at least 65 languages and is now considered a classic. This edition also features a reader’s supplement section, which includes literary criticism, notes on allusions, and a piece on the changing nature of anthropology.”

Publisher: Washington Square
Paperback: 240 pages
Illustrated

Love With a Few Hairs

Mohammed Mrabet

A Moroccan youth risks the displeasure of his British patron and gains the love of a neighborhood beauty through magic. But magic, like love, does not always last forever. Terse phrasing efficiently evokes 1960s Morocco as it feels the encroaching influences of the West. Mrabet was a protégé of Paul Bowles known for his swagger and natural storytelling skills. Transcribed from tapes and translated from the Moghrebi by Bowles. JAT

Publisher: City Lights
Paperback: 198 pages

M’Hashish

Mohammed Mrabet

The term m’hashish means to act in an irrational or unexpected manner, as if under the influence of hashish. Ten short tales depict frequently extreme behavior and have the flavor of classic folk legends with vaguely menacing twists. Excellent as a short divertissement or as highbrow bathroom reading. Transcribed from tapes and translated from the Moghrebi by Paul Bowles. JAT

Publisher: City Lights
Paperback: 79 pages

Mambu: A Melanesian Millennium

Kenelm Burridge

“Mambu is the name of a native of New Guinea, a kanaka who in the late 1930s led what has come to be known as a ‘cargo’ movement. Most of his activities took place in the Bogia region of the Madang District in the Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea. Mambu was a rebel, a radical, a man sufficiently able to free himself from the circumstances of his time to grasp what he thought to be valuable in tradition and weld it to his perception of what he would have liked the future to be… Typically, participants in a cargo cult engage in a number of strange and exotic rites and ceremonies, the purpose of which is apparently to gain possession of European manufactured goods such as axes, knives, aspirins, china plate, razor blades, colored beads, guns, bolts of cloth, hydrogen peroxide, rice, tinned foods and other goods to be found in a general department store… Large decorated houses, or ‘airplanes’ or ‘ships’ made of wood, bark and palm thatch bound together with vines, may be built to receive the goods, and participants may whirl, shake, chant, dance, foam at the mouth or couple promiscuously in agitated attempts to obtain the cargo they want, not from a shop or trade store but directly from the mystical source supposedly responsible for manufacture and distribution… Though comparatively tiny in scale—which, however, makes them more easily appreciated as a total phenomenon—cargo cults are movements of positive protest and dynamic aspiration whose study can provide valuable insights into such convulsions as the French and Russian revolutions and the more gradually emergent African and Asian nationalisms.”

Publisher: Princeton University
Paperback: 296 pages
Illustrated

Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body

Edited by Arnold Rubin

Rubin, the late UCLA professor of non-western academic art history, is often remembered as the first to legitimize piercings, scarification and tattoos as serious objects of academic scrutiny. Reviled by some for popularizing body modification yet adored by many as the father of modern primitivism and the prophet of the tattoo renaissance, Rubin provides rigorous yet accessible ethnographic studies of the history of body art, offering art historians, anthropologists and aficionados alike an excellent comparative text. Since its publication by the UCLA Museum of Cultural History in 1988, Marks of Civilization has remained the ethnographic bible of body modification, with well-illustrated offerings from anthropologists, art historians and ethnologists, who span the globe from Africa to Japan, Micronesia to the Americas. Rubin’s closing essay, “Tattoo Renaissance,” brought well-deserved academic and popular acclaim to such artists as Don Ed Hardy, Cliff Raven, Leo Zulueta and the late Jamie Summers. HS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 280 pages
Illustrated