4 photographs, 1 illustration, 2 maps, 1 table
Fluent Selves examines narrative practices throughout lowland South America focusing on indigenous communities in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, illuminating the social and cultural processes that make the past as important as the present for these peoples. This collection brings together leading scholars in the fields of anthropology and linguistics to examine the intersection of these narratives of the past with the construction of personhood. The volume’s exploration of autobiographical and biographical accounts raises questions about fieldwork, ethical practices, and cultural boundaries in the study of anthropology.
Rather than relying on a simple opposition between the “Western individual” and the non-Western rest, contributors to Fluent Selves explore the complex interplay of both individualizing as well as relational personhood in these practices. Transcending classic debates over the categorization of “myth” and “history,” the autobiographical and biographical narratives in Fluent Selves illustrate the very medium in which several modes of engaging with the past meet, are reconciled, and reemerge.
Suzanne Oakdale is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of I Foresee My Life: The Ritual Performance of Autobiography in an Amazonian Community (Nebraska, 2005). Magnus Course is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Becoming Mapuche: Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile.
List of Illustrations
Suzanne Oakdale and Magnus Course
Part 1. Neither Myth nor History
1. “Like the Ancient Ones”: The Intercultural Dynamics of Personal Biography in Amazonian Ecuador
2. “This Happened to Me”: Exemplary Personal Experience Narratives among the Piro (Yine) People of Peruvian Amazonia
3. Memories of the Ucayali: The Asháninka Story Line
Part 2. Persons within Persons
4. Multiple Biographies: Shamanism and Personhood among the Marubo of Western Amazonia
Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino
5. The End of Me: The Role of Destiny in Mapuche Narratives of the Person
Part 3. Creating Sociality across Divides
6. Relieving Apprehension and Limiting Risk: The Rituals of Extraordinary Communicative Contacts
Ellen B. Basso
7. The Lascivious Life of Gabriel Gentil
Oscar Calavia Sáez
Part 4. Hybridity, Dissonance, and Reflection
8. An Indigenous Capitão’s Reflections on a Mid-Twentieth-Century Brazilian “Middle Ground”
9. Fluid Subjectivity: Reflections on Self and Alternative Futures in the Autobiographical Narrative of Hiparidi Top’tiro, a Xavante Transcultural Leader
Laura R. Graham
10. Autobiographies of a Memorable Man and Other Memorable Persons (Southern Amazonia, Brazil)