Bookbeat: September 1999

The Boers in East Africa: Ethnicity and IdentityThe Boers in East Africa: Ethnicity and Identity

by Brian M. du Toit, Department of Anthropology
(Bergin & Garvey, 1999)
Available through Amazon

Brian du Toit's maturity as a fieldworker and his sensitivity to Afrikaner cultural nuances combine to provide an engrossing historical anthropology of a little known aspect of the Afrikaners which provides important insights into not only Afrikanerdom and diaspora studies, but settler colonialism in East Africa as well.

- Publisher


The Boers who decided that postwar South Africa was economically depressed or that they would not or could not live under a British administration made up their minds about emigrating....

...Afrikaner historiography documents repeated occasions on which Afrikaners migrated from pressure situations. It would seem that although they fought numerous battles, they would rather trek than fight and certainly rather migrate than negotiate. Thus, there are accounts of treks into the interior and then treks beyond the interior, and after the Anglo-Boer War large numbers of Afrikaners, designated as "Boers," refused to accept the inevitable. In what I have called the "Afrikaner diaspora," a large group (in three migrations) went to Argentina; another in a number of migrations settled in East Africa; and a third, smaller group took up residence on the American frontier. All of these groups left at approximately the same time and under more or less the same circumstances. We can thus assume a fair degree of uniformity in the cultural "stuff" they took with them.

The Self We Live By: Narrative Identity in a Postmodern WorldThe Self We Live By: Narrative Identity in a Postmodern World

James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium, Department of Sociology
(Oxford University Press, 1999)
Available through Amazon

...Today, according to some postmodern critics, the self has been cast adrift on a sea of disparate images. It's just one swirling representation among others, bandied about the frenzy of a media-driven society. At the turn of the 21st century, the self has lost its traditional groundings and fizzled empirically. The self's very existence is seriously being questioned.

The Self We Live By resurrects the big story by taking issue with this account. Holstein and Gubrium have crafted a comprehensive discussion that traces a different course of development, from the early pragmatists to contemporary constructionist considerations, rescuing the self from the scrap-heap of postmodern imagery.

- Publisher


The story of the social self begins with a radical break in the way the self had been conceived in Western social thought. Once viewed as an idealized, abstract platform from which concepts and judgments emanated, the self transcended society, standing prior to, apart from, and philosophically above the everyday hubbub of life. This was the lofty—even haughty—transcendental self born of the European Enlightenment. Two centuries later on the American scene, however, ordinary social relations could not be dismissed; social democracy was the very essence of American character, retaining an indomitable egalitarian hope for the future, ostensibly unshackled from philosophical stricture. American social thought offered up a new vision of the self as a social object that was part and parcel of ordinary living, which, to put it in the vernacular, would readily "go with the flow" of American progress and ingenuity.

Middle East and North Africa: Goverance, Democratization, Human RightsMiddle East and North Africa: Goverance, Democratization, Human Rights

edited by Paul J. Magnarella, Department of Anthropology
(Ashgate Publishing, 1999)
Available through Amazon

This collection contains articles by highly regarded international scholars assessing governance, democratization and human rights in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. In the spirit of the 50th anniversary year of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the authors examine the interrelationships among Islam, politics, and human rights and evaluate each country's contemporary record. The book contains in-depth articles on Islam and politics, Syria, Iraq, Jordon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, the Gulf States, Turkey, Egypt, and the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania). The authors discuss recent political developments in each of these countries and point out their accomplishments and shortcomings in the area of human rights.

- Publisher


December 10, 1997 marked the beginning of the 50th anniversary year of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thus, this is an appropriate time to access the progress that states in the Middle East and North Africa have made towards respecting the human rights of people under their jurisdictions. The chapter authors in this volume, each a recognized expert in his/her field, assess the records that countires in these contiguous regions have compiled in the ares of human rights, governance and democratization.

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