BOOK REVIEW of Gendered Scenarios of Revolution: Making New Men and New Women in Nicaragua, 1975–2000. Rosario Montoya. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012. 256 pp.

BOOK REVIEW of Gendered Scenarios of Revolution: Making New Men and New Women in Nicaragua, 1975–2000. Rosario Montoya. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012. 256 pp.

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  Book Reviews Political Oratory and Cartooning: An Ethnography of Democratic Process in Madagascar .  Jennifer Jackson  .Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. xxvi + 257 pp. MICHAEL LAMBEK University of Toronto Political Oratory and Cartooning   is a terrific book. It is a wholly srcinal and pathbreaking approach to political lan-guage (or the language of politics) as it rethinks democracy itself as a kind of orchestration of voice and speaking. It isalso an authoritative and skillful account of how two gen-res of language, namely political speeches and political car-tooning, deployed in the capital of Madagascar, establishtheir publics. It further charts transformations in the na-ture of Malagasy oratory and how these changes are cap-tured in both cartooning and the ways speechwriters andcartoonists talk about their work and each other’s prod-ucts. Hence, the book dives right into the question of how “democracy”mightworkinacountrylikeMadagascar.Jack-son herself is a stunningly proficient speaker of Malagasy;she took courses in traditional oratory and hung out withspeechwriters and cartoonists as they crafted their work.The result is riveting as Jackson knits together a deep struc-turalisthermeneuticsofMalagasyspeechesandcartoonstoproduceacomplexsociolinguistic,pragmatic,andsemioticanalysis.The background to all of this is the fascinating rise andfall of President Marc Ravalomanana, who, in a radical dis-solution of French colonial and postcolonial influence, wastutored by American campaign advisors. Not only was thenewstyleoforatorydisconcerting,itactuallywatereddownthe democracy the advisors supposedly advocated. Amer-ican rhetoric is not really transparent—that is, pure lan-guage ideology—but, rather, about image. Desperately try-ing to regain popular support, Ravalomanana next hireda British anthropologist to teach him traditional oratory (Freeman 2007). But in the end the main problem lay less with his speeches than in his attempts to redirect the busi-ness of the state into his own private enterprises, forcing otherbusinessoutofcompetition.Therewasakindofelec-tive affinity between the president’s anxious need to accu-mulate and neoliberalism—something his American han-dlers must have recognized from the start.Starting from a perspective of linguistic anthropology,Jackson provides an account of talk at multiple levels. First,she is interested in oratory, and, specifically, in how politi-cal speeches draw on but also depart from the conventionsof ordinary speaking. Second, there is talk about talk—thatis,thekindsofcommentaryandcriticismleveledattheway the speeches are constructed and conducted. One form of commentaryiscartooning,whichthenbecomessubjectforanalysis in its own right—as another form of primary talk,as it were—and that also gets talked about, not least by thelargenumberofcitizenswholookatthecartoonsthatgracethe covers of the capital’s many newspapers. Third, there istalkabouttalkabouttalk—whichisJackson’sanalysisofthe ways in which talk places speakers and auditors in relationto each other and as citizens of specific kinds—divided andrelated by gender and age, degrees of politeness, and skill—but also by class and other scales of social value that areboth indicated and produced by distinctions among kindsof talk—and by the way that talk gets talked about. Finally,there is the relation of what is being said or unsaid, andhow it is being said or silenced, to what is getting done—ornot getting done—as evident in the cartoonists’ skepticismabout the speeches and the linguistic production of truth.Contemporary political speeches draw on whatJackson lucidly describes as interanimating registersindexing at least three historical periods. First there is“traditional” highland Malagasy oratory. This srcinates inthe precolonial period, near the end of which the Merinakingdom of the capital region had conquered a good partof the rest of the island. This oratory, associated with theold elite, relies on the use of speech forms like proverbs; itmoves slowly and allusively, in twists and turns, to makeits point. Political oratory   (kabary),  Jackson explains, isdesigned to make people think rather than to convincethem of a specific truth. Its elaboration and metaphoricalallusiveness are its very heart. Oratory exaggerates selectedfeatures intrinsic to ordinary language, notably the passivevoice. This occurs syntactically, semantically, and prag-matically as orators apologize for the mistakes they areabout to make and for their very temerity at speaking at all.Drawing on concepts of imagined community and publics,Jackson argues that the point is to get the audience torealize itself and come together “not over a particular issuebut as a particular kind of people” (p. 81). The ostensibly   AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST  , Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 193–227, ISSN 0094-0496, online ISSN 1548-1425.  C  2014 by the American Anthropological Association. All rights reserved. DOI: 10.1111/amet.12070  American Ethnologist   Volume 41 Number 1 February 2014 ultradeferentialmannerofspeakingcanhaveverypowerfuleffects, not least a demonstration of the orator’s eloquenceand worth as a leader.The second register in political speeches is a Christianone. Highlanders in the capital region were converted by theLondonMissionarySociety(LMS)intheprecolonialpe-riod. The LMS provided printing presses and achieved highrates of literacy, hence, also the wide spread of newspapers.(The French, whose conquest came later, had less impactonoratorybutcertainlyinfluencedthestyleofpoliticalcar-tooning.) Politicians draw on qualities of the sermon, bothin their biblical references and in their cadence. However,Ravalomanana’s speeches had more affinity with an aggres-sively evangelizing rhetoric than with the style of MerinaProtestantism that itself had drawn on conventions of thekabary. Athirdregisterevidentinspeechesisderivedfromcon-temporary neoliberal NGO-speak and American linguis-tic conventions. Pioneered by Ravalomanana, this style of speaking is ostensibly the inverse of Merina oratory, valu-ingsoundbitesthatarestraightandtothepoint.Americansthinktheroundabout,allusivewayofspeakingisiconicandindexical of political corruption and claim that transpar-ent talk indicates honesty. Malagasy politicians mindful of transnational audiences and potential donors adapt to new semiotic ideologies.This book is both a fascinating intervention within lin-guistic anthropology and an important contribution to po-litical anthropology that serves as a powerful antidote totired political science discourse about democracy and gov-ernance in places like Madagascar. Jackson demonstratesthatlanguageformspartofthecontext,ground,means,andsubstance of politics and not only a vehicle for expressing or representing opinion. Politics, in effect, is language “allthe way down.” The kinds of political debates or argumentsMalagasy or Americans can have with each other, and thekind of political campaigns they conduct, depend as muchon our respective conventions and use of language as onanyobjectifiedtopicsofspeech.Thisisanexceptionalbook byanexceptionalanthropologist.Itishighlyrecommendedto all and Wiley-Blackwell should be persuaded to circulatea reasonably priced paper edition immediately. Reference cited Freeman, Luke2007 Why Are Some People Powerful?  In   Questions of Anthro-pology. Rita Astuti, Jonathan Parry, and Charles Stafford, eds.Pp. 281–306. Oxford: Berg. Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece. Charles Stewart  . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,2012. 259 pp. ELIZABETH ANNE DAVIS Princeton University The Cycladic island of Naxos is famous for its dreamers,Charles Stewart tells us. Yet this notoriety is double-edged,connotingbothaprivilegedaccesstosacredknowledgeen- joyed by Naxiotes and a credulous eccentricity verging onmadness. In  Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Is-land Greece,  Stewart explores these ambiguous stakes of vi-sionary dreaming, meditatingon the conditions and mean-ings of Naxiotes’ dreams, and on how the tradition as suchof dreaming on Naxos has inflected residents’ conscious-ness of history and the island’s history itself.This fascinating and carefully researched text liessomewhere between ethnography and historiography.Stewart dwells on two historical moments—or, rather, twomoments when historical time itself became a collective,open-ended experiment among residents of Naxos. Thefirst was the period from 1831 to 1835, when a number of Naxiotes repeatedly dreamed of Panagia (a manifestationof the Virgin Mary) and her miraculous icon, buried some- whereontheisland;numerousexcavationstookplaceuntiltheicon’sdiscoveryin1836.Thesecondmomenttranspireda century later, in 1930, when a Naxiote schoolgirl dreamedof Panagia, her srcinal icon, and its restoration to its siteof discovery. Schoolchildren soon began dreaming and dis-cussing their dreams, which they recorded both in detailednarratives and in drawings they inscribed in their “dreamnotebooks,” simulating the exercise books they used atschool. Stewart makes much of the recursion of this “epi-demic of dreaming” to that of the 1830s, and of the “mixed”or “cyclical” temporality enacted through that recursion.The notebook of the sole child dreamer still alive at thetime of Stewart’s fieldwork some 70 years later furnisheshim vivid evidence of the transformation of the children’sdreams through their process of collective interpretation.Heobservesaradicalproliferationof“signs”anddocumen-tation among the children during the year of 1930, whichnever led to the discovery of the missing icon itself butthat nevertheless yielded prophetic visions that continued,ever after, to shape the recognition of dreams as forms of knowledge.Stewart’smainsources—clericalreportsfromthe1830sand dream notebooks from the 1930s—are necessarily el-liptical and offer a limited vantage onto social and religiouslife on Naxos at these critical moments; on relationshipsamong the dreamers and between them and other islandresidents; and on the individuated experience of dream-ing itself. These materials are, thus, meager resources for 194  Book Reviews   American Ethnologist ethnography, but Stewart offers an admirably detailed ren-dering of their particular richness: their representation of a collective imagination of the past and the future. Fromthese sources, he develops a compelling conceptualizationof“historicalconsciousness”amongNaxiotes,whichheun-derstands both as their sensibility to complex temporality and as the way they have come to know the past. This his-torical consciousness, Stewart argues, counters “Western,”“rational” historicism, whose knowledge production is in-vested in strict chronology and the evidentiary separationof past, present, and future. He perceives a deep dynamismatworkbetweenthesocial,economic,andpoliticalchangesthrough which Naxiotes lived in the 1830s and 1930s, onthe one hand, and their conscious and unconscious divin-ingtechniques,ontheotherhand.Hedulyrejectsprevalent“black-box” theories of dreams as reflections of sociopolit-ical and economic forces—theories that suspend explana-tion of how individuals themselves experience and expresssuchmacroscaleforces(pp.209–210).Hefindsaprovisionalfootinginsteadatthe“intermediatelevel”ofcollectiveanxi-etyaboutsocialandeconomicchange.InStewart’sview,thelocal tradition of visionary dreaming has offered Naxiotes a way to “process” such change in a shared idiom rather thanin individual experience. What Stewart provides his readers, then, is not an eti-ological account of visionary dreaming but, rather, its con-textualization in terms of its dynamic interaction with his-torical events that reconfigured Naxiotes’ understanding of thepastandoftheland.Thisapproachdoesnotopenuporilluminate the black box of dream theorization, but it aptly displaces that black box as a central analytic problem in fa-vorof“conjunctures”betweenhistoryanddreaming(p.58).For the episode of the 1830s, the key events that formeda conjuncture with dreaming were the Greek revolutionand the founding of the Hellenic Republic. Stewart readsthe significance of these events not so much in a connec-tion between icons and an emerging national conscious-ness as in the appearance of the Greek state as a regulatory body,particularlyinitsrestrictionsonbuildinganddigging.For the second episode of dreaming, Stewart identifies askey events the global boom in emery mining and its sud-den decline. Working from the resonance between buriedicons and rich veins of emery as the subjects of divinatory dreams on Naxos, he accounts for the “epidemic of dream-ing”in1930bywayofageneralizedanxietyabouttheaban-donment of the island because of migration and economicdevastation.One of Stewart’s important contributions in this book is his theorization of agency. He situates the dreaming of miraculous icons in relation to a popular tradition of prophetic dream interpretation on Naxos and to the am-bivalence with which the Orthodox Church has addressedthat tradition, granting credence to visions of saints whiledeploying demonological discourse to discredit dream in-terpretation. Drawing from Freudian and existential psy-choanalysis, neuroscience, and surrealism, Stewart ex-plores the visionary dreaming of the Naxiotes as a form of unconscious agency (p. 196), coming from an “elsewhere”and an “elsewhen” (p. 206). Throughout, he emphasizes thecollective nature of dreaming and its overdetermination by social, political, and economic forces bearing on Naxiotecommunities as such. Thus, although he retains a psycho-analytic attentiveness to the function of dreaming as theprocessing of anxiety, he is less interested in that processfor the individual who dreams than he is in the shared exis-tential condition of Naxiotes in their imaginative opennessto the unfolding of time.That existential condition has material dimensions, as well, which Stewart explores in two intriguing chapters (5and 8) about practices of digging undertaken by Naxiotedreamers and those persuaded by their visions. Here, Stew-art explores the “trope” of buried treasure in richly sto-ried local forms (gold coins, antiquities, waterborne icons,emery), each of which carries its own distinctive “abduc-tive” theory (an intuitive imputation of how an object cametobewhereitwasfound).Stewartcrediblyinfersfromthesetheoriesageneralorderofvaluevestedintheland,inwhichdifferent types of treasure function as symbolic equiva-lences. By digging and discovering these objects, Stewartsuggests, Naxiotes may “[step] out of history” (p. 214) andexperience the co-presence of past, present, and future. While Stewart does not take a position on the attain-mentofNaxiotedreamstoprophecy,hecarefullypinsthesedreams to an empirical mode of being oriented to both anunstable past and an unknown future. He effectively showsthat the tradition of visionary dreaming on Naxos, whichmight appear as an object of folkloristic curiosity in a re-gion already primed for quaint exoticism, is instead a vitalanddynamicelementofcontemporaryNaxiotelife. Dream-ingandHistoricalConsciousnessinIslandGreece  isanambi-tiousandabsorbingbook.Asbothamonographandawork on methodology, it engages a complex rethinking of whathistory means, what it does, and how it can be known, inGreece and beyond. Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of SkinColor.  Nina G. Jablonski  . Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress, 2013. 260 pp. KEISHA-KHAN Y. PERRY Brown University Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color,  Nina G. Jablonski’s second book on this critical topicof skin, expands our current knowledge of how the biolog-ical intersects with the social meanings of skin color. Her 195  American Ethnologist   Volume 41 Number 1 February 2014 first book,  Skin: A Natural History   (2006), provides a schol-arly introduction to the history of the evolution of skin andits functions, while  Living Color   now offers academics andnonacademics alike a deeper understanding of how and why skin color has come to have such great meaning. Thisbook does more than satisfy our latent curiosity about skinand remind us that how we define the very idea of whoand what constitutes the “human” and “humanity” is stilltreated as a biological fact tied to the physicality of skincolor rather than a sociohistorical construction. In a sup-posed “postracial era,” when many may suggest that skincolor matters very little and hardly influences our social in-teractions, Jablonski begins  Living Color   with the provoca-tive statement that “we are united, and divided, by our skincolor”(p.1).Infact,thisbookforcesustoacknowledgethat whether we admit it or not, societal obsession with skinattributes, especially color, is insidious; we are far from acolor-blind society.Bydocumenting“theoriginandmeaningsofskincolorandthewaysitaffectsourdailylives”(p.2),Jablonskishowshowskincolordeeplyshapeshowweview,identify,andcat-egorizepeople;understandandinterveneintheirbiologicaldevelopmentandhealth;andinterpretsocialbehaviorsanddetermine how to change them. As the title suggests, thisbookprovidesaninterpretivelenstounderstandthatwedonot just have skin as one of our most important organs or just “have color” but also that we are “living color” in a way that structures everyday interactions, stereotypes, and at-titudes as well as economic and political practices such asslavery, Jim Crow, and apartheid. As Jablonski writes, “De-meaning images of blackness, in particular, had an inordi-nate influence on human history and set in motion some of the most odious behaviors, customs, and laws our specieshaseverdevised”(p.4).Theglobalracialorderhasbeenfix-ated on assigning social values based on the color poles of black and white, notably in ranking moral, intellectual, so-cial,andphysicalworth.Today,Jablonskiwrites,“wearestillburdened by the biases that were planted in the minds of people centuries ago” (p. 4). Living Color   is divided into an introduction and twoparts comprising a total of 15 chapters. Part 1, “Biology”(chs. 1–6), highlights that as “our largest interface withthe world” (p. 3), skin and its mutations have been wellresearched across disciplines, albeit not widely discussedor made accessible in a comprehensible language for thebroader public. This part of the book educates the readerabout the “facts of skin color,” focusing on how skin getsits color, the evolution of pigmentation, and how the prop-erties of the skin affect our health (p. 3). This section of the book may be most informative for those scholars whomay already be well read on the sociohistorical srcins of the formation of racial systems in relationship to the socialvalue of differences in skin color. Nature and habits shapedhow the skin evolved, specifically the amount of pigment we inherit, and how we are able to subsequently deal withsunshine. One important contribution in this section is thehealth risks of these changes in pigmentation and the abil-ity to absorb sun. The first chapter, “Skin’s Natural Palette,”provides some rudimentary biological information abouthow skin is constructed and how it gets its color. Jablonskigives much attention to an important compound found inhuman skin, eumelanin, generally referred to as melanin.Subsequentchaptersinpart1ofthebookarecrucialforas-sessing how we have come to focus so much on skin colorand form judgments about age, attractiveness, reproduc-tive potential, and health in today’s society based on skincolor. The chapters “Out of the Tropics” and “Skin Color intheModernWorld”showthe“complexinteractionbetweengenetic, hormonal, and environmental factors” (p. 67) thatcauses differences in skin color, including male and femalecoloration from the prereproductive years through old age.One of the most intriguing aspects of   Living Color   isJablonski’s in-depth discussions of the health benefits of dark pigmentation, such as the production of folate, whichis crucial for promoting reproductive health and early-childhood development. Vitamin D deficiency, especially among African-descendant people living in areas of the world with little sunlight or where indoor living and work arethenorm,mayallowustounderstandfromanepidemi-ological perspective why certain racial groups suffer fromcertain diseases, countering the belief that they are natu-rally susceptible to certain diseases as widely promulgatedeven in the medical and anthropological community.Inpart2,“Society”(chs.7–15),Jablonskimakesthelink between the biological characteristics and the social signif-icance of skin color. This part shows how the historical lack ofbiologicalfactsabouthowpigmentationdevelopedledtosocialbeliefsandbiasesaboutskincolor,andJablonskiusesthissectiontoillustratehowsocialmeaningshavealsobeentransformedovertimebasedonamixtureofculturalaswellas economic needs. This section explains how early infor-mation on skin affected how ideas of otherness, inferior-ity, and the nonhuman came to be conceived. Jablonski as-serts that we are “highly visual animals” (p. 93) and that wepay much attention to visual differences, but how we cometo develop stereotypes based on those visual differencesandreacttothemis“culturallydeterminedandcontingent”(p. 94). The strength of this second part of the book is herconvincingoutlineofhowthesereactionstoskincolorhavedeeply affected social and economic interactions through-out the course of history. “Encounters with Difference,” asthe title of chapter 8 reads, have always existed, but skincolorhasnotalwaysbeentheprimarymarkerofthatdiffer-ence. For example, slavery was not always associated withdarker skin in ancient Egypt, and in India “skin color wasnot strictly associated with class” until much later. Jablon-ski argues that “differences in skin color were noticed andcommented on, but skin color itself did not determine a 196  Book Reviews   American Ethnologist person’svalue”(pp.113–114).However,whileinearlyChris-tianity and Islam, skin color did not factor into a person’sability to receive the faith or to be enslaved, both belief sys-tems changed over time to include philosophical reasoning that claimed black inferiority and fitness for servitude. Skincolor and its variable social meanings, Jablonski maintains,cannot be separated from sociohistorical processes such asconquest, colonization, mass enslavement, and social ad-vancement based on race.Thisbookworkswellforthegeneralpublic,undergrad-uate and graduate students, and scholars across disciplinesinterested in the biological srcins of skin color and its so-cial significance over time who are working to dismantlecolor-based racism. And the book raises but does not ad-dress the problem we currently face as we continue to be“living color” in a society that believes it has transcendedrace. If we are naturally a visual species fixed on what wesee, as Jablonski suggests, is it even possible to get to aspace and time when we will see attributes other than skincolor? Or can we continue to see skin but reframe its socialmeaning? Reference cited Jablonski, Nina G.2006 Skin: A Natural History. Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress. In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Envi-ronmentalism, and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India.  Alpa Shah  . Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. 288 pp. MEGAN MOODIE University of California  At its best, ethnography is both descriptive and insistent.Its most important political provocations are based in thecomplications of social interactions and not in ready-madeactivist scripts. Alpa Shah’s ethnography,  In the Shadows of  theState:IndigenousPolitics,Environmentalism,andInsur-gency in Jharkhand, India,  takes us into the world of Jhark-hand’s  adivasis,  or srcinal inhabitants, uneasily situated atthe cusp of a penumbra that moves with the waxing and waning of state desire, elite resource capture, and adivasiability to “keep the state away.” The text always returns,however,toitsconcernsathomeinanthropology.Althoughitmayalterinvolume—atmomentsthewritingisquietanddetermined, at others it is as loud as wild elephants crash-ing toward us in the night—Shah’s book never allows us toforget that, in the end, we should ask: How are we going tobewithandforthosegroupsforwhomwewishtoadvocate? What kinds of imagination will it take? Whatever else I have learned from this outstanding ethnography, and there has been a great deal, I have takenaway Shah’s message that anthropologists should “give pri-ority to a commitment to the labor of critical ethnography rather than to a predetermined political program” (p. 27).Her ethnography, not to mention her work as a public in-tellectual, gives us an important model for how to translatethis critical exercise into accessible prose and to center thecreativityrequiredtoforgealliancesacrossclass,caste,race,and geopolitical positioning. This is especially important inan era when, as Shah describes it, political exchanges fromstate-making to terrorism are all about selling protectionagainst fear. For a sense of this work, listen to Shah’s reporton Maoist activities in Jharkhand (Shah 2010). This text isbrave.The model of critical ethnography as politics seems tomatter especially when working in and writing about areasand topics that many of us in South Asian and indigenousstudies may feel like we already know. (For this and many other reasons,  In the Shadows of the State   would be an ex-cellent teaching text in both graduate and undergraduateclassrooms.) By way of example, I will highlight two basicpointsofanthropologicalcommonsenseonindigeneity,in-surgency,andIndia’smarginalizedcommunitiesandShah’simportant intervention in each:(1)  Anthropologists’ frequent decision to support claims to indigenous identity and rights is the ethically sound choice—despite frequent academic struggles around the impossibility of the category and its charged colonial histories—because it puts us in solidarity with the vul-nerable communities with whom we often work  . ForShah, this choice has two unfortunate outcomes, well-intentioned as it may be, that she identifies as the “dark sideofindigeneity”(ch.1).First,thepositionreinforcesthe notion that “indigenous” is an unproblematic, un-differentiated identity. Among the Mundas and with whom Shah worked in Jharkhand, she found great andgrowing class disparities between an adivasi elite andthe poor, landless comrades they claimed to represent.Urban-based activists, who may or may not be adivasithemselves,misrecognizeaunifiedadivasiidentitythatreinforces class inequality within the “community” by denying difference and, thereby, “further marginalizethe people they claim to speak for” (p. 12). The result of thismisrecognitionisthesecondunfortunateoutcome:it allows anthropologists and activists to stick with akind of status quo, good-enough version of politics in which creative political energy goes toward being in-digenous, vulnerable, and  ecoincarcerated   (Shah’s termfor the presumption that indigenous communities arenature loving and attached to land, pp. 134–138). Simi-lar energy does not go into the exploration of other vi-sions and practices for social life and polity—into how groups engage in the imagination of things as they arenot yet. This is a political loss. 197
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