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Thanks to Renzo Duin’s annotated translation, the voice of Lodewijk Schmidt—an Afrodiasporic Saramakka Maroon from Surinam—is finally available for Anglophone audiences worldwide. More than anything else, Schmidt’s three mid-twentieth-century ethnographic accounts tell the tragic story of Indigenous Peoples of the Eastern Guiana Highlands (northern Brazil, and southern Suriname and French Guiana). Schmidt’s is a story that takes account of the pathological mechanisms of colonialism, in which Indigenous Peoples and African Diaspora communities, both victims of colonialism, vilify each other falling privy to the divide-and-conquer mentality mechanisms of colonialism.

Accounts like that of the death and mourning of a magnificent Indigenous leader, Alapité, on 13-14 August 1941, suggest a deep respect on the part of the Maroon author, while his accounts also show his awareness of how the Indigenous Peoples vilified the Maroons. Beyond the ethnographic element, Duin argues that Schmidt was sent on a covert mission to determine whether or not the Nazis had engaged in covert missions and if they had established bases and airfields in the region.

As current ecological disasters, incurred by neocolonial, neoliberal and geopolitical practices, threaten to completely destroy the Amazonian forests that Schmidt describes, his meticulous accounts underscore the predetermined tragedy that is the result of the European and later North-American presence in present-day Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil. Duin’s profound knowledge of the history, topography, and fauna of the region contextualizes Schmidt’s ethnographic accounts and forces us to take account of the catastrophe that is deforestation and ethnocide of the Indigenous Peoples of the Eastern Guiana Highlands.
The Things of Others: Ethnographies, Histories, and Other Artefacts deals with the things mainly, but not only, mobilized by anthropologists in order to produce knowledge about the African American, the Afro-Brazilian and the Afro-Cuban during the 1930s. However, the book's goal is not to dig up evidence of the creation of an epistemology of knowledge and its transnational connections. The research on which this book is based suggests that the artefacts created in fieldwork, offices, libraries, laboratories, museums, and other places and experiences – beyond the important fact that these places and situations involved actors other than the anthropologists themselves – have been different things during their troubled existence. The book seeks to make these differences apparent, highlighting rather than concealing the relationships between partial modes of making and being ‘Afro’ as a subject of science. If the artefacts created in a variety of situations have been different things, we should ask what sort of things they were and how the actors involved in their creation sought to make them meaningful. The book foregrounds these discontinuous and ever-changing contours.
In American History in Transition, Yoshinari Yamaguchi provides fresh insights into early efforts in American history writing, ranging from Jeremy Belknap’s Massachusetts Historical Society to Emma Willard’s geographic history and Francis Parkman’s history of deep time to Henry Adams’s thermodynamic history. Although not a well-organized set of professional researchers, these historians shared the same concern: the problems of temporalization and secularization in history writing.
As the time-honored framework of sacred history was gradually outdated, American historians at that time turned to individual facts as possible evidence for a new generalization, and tried different “scientific” theories to give coherency to their writings. History writing was in its transitional phase, shifting from religion to science, deduction to induction, and static to dynamic worldview.

Résumé

Quel est le point commun entre un chérif musulman (descendant du prophète Mohammed) de la confédération Aït Ba’amran des tribus du Sud-Ouest marocain et un Indigène animiste d’Amazonie brésilienne ? À la surprise de l’ethnologue, tous deux sont affiliés à une ascendance juive. Cette judaïté, conçue davantage comme une origine que comme une pratique religieuse, participe à préciser le lien au sol des générations actuelles. La mise en regard de deux cas ethnographiques permet une discussion plus large sur la multiplicité des origines en contexte migratoire dans le temps long. La judaïté des origines participe à asseoir pleinement l’inscription actuelle des populations au sein d’un espace marqué par l’histoire de la construction des Etats empires portugais et espagnols.

In: Lusotopie

Resumo

Neste artigo reflicto sobre as repercussões da “descoberta” dos Marranos em Portugal, no princípio do século XX, na questão do resgate da identidade brasileira pelos judeus do Brasil. Esta “descoberta” despertou grande interesse de especialistas da História dos Judeus, de cientistas sociais, e também da Média europeia. Mas foi igualmente alvo do interesse de pessoas que, no outro lado do Atlântico, tentavam comprovar a presença de uma população de origem judaica desde os tempos coloniais em Terra de Santa Cruz e, portanto, o seu papel fundamental para a construção da colónia que se tornaria o país Brasil.

In: Lusotopie
In: Lusotopie