The Phantom Gringo Boat: Shamanic Discourse and Development in Panama | Paperback
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The Phantom Gringo Boat: Shamanic Discourse and Development in Panama | Paperback

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The Phantom Gringo Boat: Shamanic Discourse and Development in Panama

Stephanie C. Kane


As in the myth of a phantom gringo boat receding into the mist, elusive promises of participatory democracy and a semi-autonomous forest reserve have spurred the Emberá Indians of Panama to leave their dispersed settlements in the Darién forests and become more involved with the outside world. Since the late 1960s, they have elected representatives to the national government and sought to equalize their political and economic relationships with neighboring blacks.

In this first full-length ethnography of the Emberá of Darién (also known, with the Wounaan, as the Chocó), Stephanie C. Kane investigates their use of myth and magic to interpret the changes that occurred in the mid-1980s after Manuel Noriega assumed command of the Panama Defense Forces. She reveals how magical discourse, founded on the ancient global practice of shamanism, is the language used to cross the gap between the known and the unknown. Approaching local history with shamanic logic and organizing each chapter around a set of interpretive dilemmas, Kane highlights the ways in which myth and magic relate integrally to Emberá life, including ecology, economy, politics, health, constructs of race and gender, and memory.

Arguing that anthropology is both empirical and imaginative, Kane modifies the ethnographic gaze to include Indian views of the anthropologist and, more generally, Euro-Americans. Kane also presents analyses of indigenous women's land rights and the politics of rainforest development.

First published in 1994, this second edition of The Phantom Gringo Boat includes a new preface by the author, as well as two supplementary essays, “The Rise of Patriarchy in Emberá Indian Village Law” and “Emberá (Chocó) Medicinal Plant Use: Implications for Planning the Biosphere Reserve in Darién, Panama,” and three reviews of the first edition.

Comments on the First Edition

“A marvelously sensitive, stimulating, witty, yet forboding portrait of life on the tropical forest frontier between Central and South America. . . . a model ethnography for a discipline striving to find new means of expression, and her treatment of international politics and indigenous shamanism, women’s domestic roles and changing ecology, canoe construction and cash economies, murder and mythology, makes for a rich, sophisticated story that readers at all levels may find engrossing.” – P. R. Sullivan, Choice

“Among the best and most elegant works of ethnography that I’ve ever read. . . . a model of and for contemporary ethnographic practice and representation.” – Paul Stoller, American Anthropologist

“A fascinating work that will be very useful in courses on South American ethnology, development, ethnohistory, and ethnographic writing. . . . a tribute both to the author’s creativity as an ethnographer and to the resilience of social anthropology in an unpredictable world.” – Jonathan D. Hill, American Ethnologist

 The Author

Stephanie C. Kane, a native New Yorker, is currently Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Gender Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. She has a Ph.D. in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of AIDS Alibis (1998) and co-editor of Crime's Power (2003). For further information click here.

Purchasing Information

312 pages

1-877275-66-2 (paperback) $20.95

1-877275-67-0 (ebook: PDF) $15.95

Overview

Originally published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1994, Stephanie C. Kane's The Phantom Gringo Boat has been recognized as a ground-breaking piece of ethnological research. This second edition contains a new preface by the author and, reprinted in an Appendix, two supplementary essays on gender, the rain-forest and the state, and three reviews of the first edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781877275661
Publisher:
Lisa Loucks Christenson Publishing, LLC
Publication date:
10/28/2004
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
751,394
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Preface for Second Edition, ........................................................................................ix
Preface, ....................................................................................................................xiii
Abbreviations, ...........................................................................................................xv
Acknowledgments, ...................................................................................................xvii
Introduction, .............................................................................................................xix 
Chronology, .............................................................................................................xxv
1 Contours of Social Space, ........................................................................................1 
2 Authentic Discontinuities, .........................................................................................20 
3 Transformation and Taboo (Burning Forests), ..........................................................43 
4 The Absent Patriarch, ..............................................................................................52 
5 Techno-Magic (Canoe Construction), ......................................................................66 
6 Misfortune’s Hat, .....................................................................................................83 
7 Scale of Sentient Beings (Political Economy of Race and Gender), ............................97  
8 Shaman’s Song, .....................................................................................................129  
9 Cosmo-Snake and the Nation-State, ......................................................................162 
Notes, ......................................................................................................................185
Glossary of Emberá Words, ......................................................................................201
Appendix
The Rise of Patriarchy in Emberá Indian Village Law, .................................................209
Emberá (Chocó) Medicinal Plant Use, ........................................................................232
Reviews of The Phantom Gringo Boat, ........................................................................247
Bibliography, ..............................................................................................................267
Index, .........................................................................................................................279

 


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