In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an Out-of-the-way Place

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Princeton University Press, Nov 21, 1993 - Social Science - 350 pages

In this highly original and much-anticipated ethnography, Anna Tsing challenges not only anthropologists and feminists but all those who study culture to reconsider some of their dearest assumptions. By choosing to locate her study among Meratus Dayaks, a marginal and marginalized group in the deep rainforest of South Kalimantan, Indonesia, Tsing deliberately sets into motion the familiar and stubborn urban fantasies of self and other. Unusual encounters with her remarkably creative and unconventional Meratus friends and teachers, however, provide the opportunity to rethink notions of tradition, community, culture, power, and gender--and the doing of anthropology. Tsing's masterful weaving of ethnography and theory, as well as her humor and lucidity, allow for an extraordinary reading experience for students, scholars, and anyone interested in the complexities of culture.

Engaging Meratus in wider conversations involving Indonesian bureaucrats, family planners, experts in international development, Javanese soldiers, American and French feminists, Asian-Americans, right-to-life advocates, and Western intellectuals, Tsing looks not for consensus and coherence in Meratus culture but rather allows individual Meratus men and women to return our gaze. Bearing the fruit from the lively contemporary conversations between anthropology and cultural studies, In the Realm of the Diamond Queen will prove to be a model for thinking and writing about gender, power, and the politics of identity.

 

Contents

PART ONE POLITICS OF THE PERIPHERY
23
1 MARGINAL FICTIONS
35
2 GOVERNMENT HEADHUNTERS
56
3 FAMILY PLANNING
88
4 LEADERSHIP LANDSCAPES
111
5 CONDITIONS OF LIVING
138
6 ON THE BOUNDARY OF THE SKIN
162
7 ALIEN ROMANCE
197
8 RIDING WRITING
214
9 THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD
237
NOTES
287
REFERENCES CITED
305
INDEX
319
Copyright

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Page 10 - Adang, a Meratus Dayak woman living in the Meratus Mountains of South Kalimantan, Indonesia, as transmitted by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing: I saw in her leadership what officials see in all Meratus: the transformation of state policy into exotic ritual. Only then could I begin to appreciate the link between submission and claims of autonomy. Her opposition occurred in the mimicry, hyperbole, and distortion of her attempts to get closer to power, rather than in defining herself against this power. In her...
Page xvi - ... strategically elaborated or displaced by the unconscious scene of latent Orientalism. Equally, it is difficult to conceive of the process of subjectification as a placing within Orientalist or colonial discourse for the dominated subject without the dominant being strategically placed within it too. There is always, in Said, the suggestion that colonial power and discourse is possessed entirely by the coloniser, which is a historical and theoretical simplification.
Page viii - civilized" regional majority, and the visiting anthropologists and travellers who learn to "know" them. Indeed, the name Meratus itself is my own awkward imposition, offered to avoid the derogatory ethnic term Bukit. Yet these powerful names and discourses do not have an unquestioned hegemony: Meratus respond, reinterpret, and challenge even as they accept and are shaped by these forms of knowledge. My analysis locates itself primarily at a "Meratus" level, in order to emphasize local negotiations...
Page xv - The approximation I notice relates to the author's careful presentation of Senanayak as a pluralist aesthete. In theory, Senanayak can identify with the enemy. But pluralist aesthetes of the First World are, willynilly, participants in the production of an exploitative society. Hence in practice, Senanayak must destroy the enemy, the menacing other. He follows the necessities and contingencies of what he sees as his historical moment. There is a convenient colloquial name for that as well: pragmatism....
Page 11 - An out-of-the-way place is, by definition, a place where the instability of political meanings is easy to see.
Page 2 - This work rejects the notion that gender asymmetries are parallel to those of race, class, and nationality, for race, class, and national hierarchies are themselves everywhere constructed in gendered ways, and gender divisions are established with "communal
Page xv - In contrast, minority scholars in the United States have had more to say about empowering aspects of self-involvement with cultural difference. The discourse of domination that seems most constraining is not that of encrusted difference, but that of white privilege falsely universalized to erase the struggles, accomplishments, and dilemmas of people of color. Thus, Cornel West writes of the "modern Black diaspora problematic of invisibility and namelessness...

About the author (1993)

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Santa Cruz. She is coeditor, with Faye Ginsburg, of Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture (Beacon).

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