In five wide-ranging essays, A. David Napier explores the ways in which the foreign becomes literally and metaphorically embodied as a part of cultural identity rather than being seen as something outside it. Pre-classical Greece, Baroque Italy, and Western postmodernism are among the artistic domains Napier considers, while the symbolic terrain ranges from Balinese cosmography to body symbolism in biomedicine.
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A. David Napier is Associate Professor of Art and Anthropology at Middlebury College and Fellow in Medical and Psychiatric Anthropology at the Harvard Medical School. He is the author of Masks, Transformation, and Paradox (California, 1986).From Library Journal:
When the strange becomes familiar, boundaries of all kinds dissolve. Napier covers such diverse topics as art, immunology, and social psychology yet manages to create conceptual bonds that hold these five essays together. Here, humans are not mere toolmakers, but meaning makers--pivotally speaking, meaning maintainers. Without the category of "stranger" there could be no separation into "us" and "them." The trouble lies in our collective choice of metaphor. What we conceive is what we believe, and our behavior, for better or for worse, is its flower. This is not light reading. Stimulating relevant theories are often shrouded in needlessly ornate language. At times, Napier seemingly strenghtens his arguments through simplistic West-bashing. However, he also gives his straw man many useful ideations that can help him to become less of a stranger to himself. Recommended for academic libraries.
- Susan M. Olcott, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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