Symbolic Immortality: The Tlingit Potlatch of the Nineteenth Century (Naomi B. Pascal Editor's Endowment)

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9780295994895: Symbolic Immortality: The Tlingit Potlatch of the Nineteenth Century (Naomi B. Pascal Editor's Endowment)

Decades after its initial publication, Symbolic Immortality retains its status as the most comprehensive analysis of the mortuary practices of the Tlingit Indians of southeastern Alaska―or any other indigenous culture of the Northwest Coast. This updated and expanded edition furthers our understanding of the potlatch (koo.éex') as a total social phenomenon, with emotional and religious as well as economic and sociopolitical dimensions. The result is a major contribution to both Northwest Coast ethnology and theoretical literature on the anthropology of death.

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About the Author:

Sergei Kan is professor of anthropology and Native American studies at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Memory Eternal: Tlingit Culture and Russian Orthodox Christianity through Two Centuries and A Russian American Photographer in Tlingit Country: Vincent Soboleff in Alaska, and editor of Sharing Our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbors.

Review:

"Symbolic Immortality is a very thorough examination of the most important (in terms of both cultural significance and scholarly and popular interest) Native American ritual in the Pacific Northwest, the memorial potlatch. No other book probes the existing literature on the potlatch in such a constructively comprehensive, comparative, and critical way. . . . Symbolic Immortality has stood the test of time. . . . As the potlatch continues to serve a central function in Northwest Coast social life (even among non-Natives), this new edition . . . , with its insights into the contemporary potlatch, will likely become even more indispensable."―Thomas F. Thornton, University of Oxford

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