There is a common but often unspoken arrogance on the part of outside observers that folk science and traditional knowledgeathe type developed by Native communities and tribal groupsais inferior to the aformal sciencea practiced by Westerners. In this lucidly written and humanistic account of the Oaodham tribes of Arizona and Northwest Mexico, ethnobiologist Amadeo M. Rea exposes the limitations of this assumption by exploring the rich ornithology that these tribes have generated about the birds that are native to their region. He shows how these peoplesa observational knowledge provides insights into the behaviors, mating habits, migratory patterns, and distribution of local bird species, and he uncovers the various ways that this knowledge is incorporated into the communitiesa traditions and esoteric belief systems. Drawing on more than four decades of field and textual research along with hundreds of interviews with tribe members, Rea identifies how birds are incorporated, both symbolically and practically, into Piman legends, songs, art, religion, and ceremonies. Through highly detailed descriptions and accounts loaded with Native voice, this book is the definitive study of folk ornithology. It also provides valuable data for scholars of linguistics and North American Native studies, and it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how humans make sense of their world. It will be of interest to historians of science, anthropologists, and scholars of indigenous cultures and folk taxonomy.
This book takes a simple look at what it means to live in a desert. It examines basic geographical features, why people choose to live there, and dangers people might have because of living in a desert, such as extreme weather conditions. The book also looks at how people adapt to living in deserts and the different things both adults and children do in their daily lives, from desert-specific jobs to home schooling, respectively.
In the mid-nineteenth century, French colonial leaders in Algeria started southward into the Sahara, beginning a fifty-year period of violence. Lying in the shadow of the colonization of northern Algeria, which claimed the lives of over a million people, French empire in the Sahara sought power through physical force as it had elsewhere. But violence in the Algerian Sahara followed a more complicated logic than allowed by the old argument that violence was simply a way to get empire on the cheap. A Desert Named Peace examines colonial violence through multiple stories and across several fields of research. Breaking down its study into separate parts, the book presents four cases: the military conquests of the French army in the oases and officers' predisposition to use extreme violence in colonial conflicts; a spontaneous nighttime attack made by Algerian pastoralists on a French village, as notable for its brutality as its obscure causes; the violence of indigenous forms of slavery and the colonial accommodations that preserved it during the era of abolition; and the struggles of French Romantics whose debates about art and politics arrived from Paris to the Sahara with disastrous consequences. Benjamin Claude Brower uses these different perspectives to reveal the unexpected causes of colonial violence, such as France's troubled revolutionary past and its influence on the military's institutional culture, the aesthetics of the sublime and its impact on colonial thinking, the ecological crises suffered by Saharan pastoralists under colonial rule, and the conflicting paths to authority inherent in Algerian Sufism. Directly engaging a controversial history, A Desert Named Peace offers an important backdrop to understand the Algerian war for independence (1954-1962) and Algeria's ongoing internal war, begun in 1992, between the government and armed groups claiming to fight for an Islamist revolution.
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