Search Results


Spencer Culham Bullivant

belief or have never thought of themselves as belonging to a religion. They have come to this quiet Montana town to spend time with other people who are living in an America that struggles to understand their lack of religious sentiment. This camp and others like it have become places where these non

Rosati, Jerel A.

psychology to examine the belief systems of Carter, Brzezinski, and Vance and assesses their impact on the administration's foreign policy.keywordspsychological theory; foreign policy and ideas; Jimmy Carte...

Stephan Palmié

[First paragraph]Ritual, Discourse and Community in Cuban Santería: Speaking a Sacred World. Kristina Wirtz. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.xxiv + 253 pp. (Cloth US $ 59.95)Crossing the Waters: A Photographic Path to the Afro-Cuban Spirit World. Claire Garoutte & Anneke Wambaugh. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2007. xiii + 258 pp. (Paper US $ 24.95)In recent years, the literature on Santería has grown by leaps and bounds. Check the call number BL2532.S3 in the Library of Congress online catalogue, and you will see that, as of January 2009, the number of acquisitions it includes has reached exactly one hundred, with thirty new additions since the beginning of the millennium! Of course, BL2532.S3 locates a somewhat heterogeneous array of publications – ranging, as they do, from full-fledged academic monographs to practitioners’ manuals and memoirs, or the type of flimsy booklet one is likely to encounter in dog-eared versions in the book market at Havana’s Plaza de Armas. But it is clear that even specialists are nowadays likely to throw up their hands in despair over the dwindling prospects of being able to keep up with this flood of representations of Santería.


Karin Schürmann


It is common to attribute a person’s environmentally and climate friendly behaviour to corresponding beliefs and attitudes. According to this assumption, green behaviour results from green thinking and can be fostered through education. Although many people have a sound knowledge about the causes of climate change as well as other environmental issues and express climate and environmentally-friendly beliefs and attitudes, their actions still speak a dif­ferent language. It seems plausible to suppose, therefore, that the relation between beliefs, attitudes and behaviour is more complex than assumed com­monly.

This article aims to help understand the relationship between environmental and climate-relevant beliefs and behaviour by offering a different perspective. Instead of adhering to a causal relationship between thinking and acting the following study is based on the assumption that human activities strongly depend on the logic of social practices. The paper will give a short introduction to the theory of social practices. Based on these practice theoretical foundations, the second part of the paper will be dedicated to an empirical analysis of climate change beliefs and the practice of mobility as it is carried out in the everyday life of 21 interviewees living in selected urban centres on the Northern US West Coast.

Cavari, Amnon

attitudes toward Israel among the American public. It finds that two factors are significant in predicting those attitudes: religious beliefs and the extent of elite polarization between the two polit...

Holsti, Ole R.

's political views—his operational code—by answering ten questions (five each) about the secretary of state's political and instrumental or policy beliefs.keywordsDulles, John Foster; decision making; methodolo...

The Anansi Folk Tales Collection

Spider Trickster Tales from Jamaica

Various Authors & Editors

Spider Trickster Tales from Jamaica: The Anansi Folk Tales Collection
From the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

On 35mm microfilm

According to Robert Hill, Professor of History & Editor-in-Chief of The Marcus Garvey & UNIA Papers at UCLA, these Anansi tales are the single most important collection of original folktales from the Caribbean in existence for facilitating research and teaching in the area of cultural studies of the African Diaspora, popular culture, and ethnomusicology.

The collection
The collection consists of nearly 5,000 handwritten stories, each with a typed transcript, giving variants of about 200 basic trickster tales. The texts were written in Creole by 1,124 school children from 97 primary schools (both public and private, including various religious denominations) in Jamaica in 1930-1931 in response to a contest organized by the Jesuit missionary and ethnologist Joseph John Williams to collect material on the oral tradition of tales concerning the spider "Anansi" (usually written "Anancy" in Jamaica) and/or other animal and human figures. It is the largest manuscript collection of Anansi folk tales in existence.
The original manuscripts are contained in school "bluebooks" per student. The penmanship is usually quite good and the stories are easily legible. Many are illustrated with drawings made by the children and include music and the lyrics of songs. The transcripts are typewritten one to a single sheet and interleaved with the relevant stories. The collection has been microfilmed in its entirety.

Trickster tales
Trickster tales concerning animal or human protagonists are a well-known feature of oral traditions worldwide. The trickster is often an animal, but can also be a human figure and is thought to possess special powers. The tales combine elements of violence, deception and magic and the hero is variously perceived to be godlike or a fool, a destructive villain or an innocent prankster. The tales may be grouped in cycles and serve both ritualistic and entertainment purposes. Various trickster protagonists are the coyote among Native Americans of the west and the African trickster hare, who became "Brer Rabbit" in the US southeast. The spider trickster of the peoples of West Africa, "Anansi", was transmitted to the Caribbean by slaves brought over in the colonial period, especially to Jamaica, where he is known as "Anancy" or "Brea Nancy".

The collector
Joseph John Williams, S.J. (1875-1940) was a prominent ethnologist with a strong interest in religious beliefs and psychic phenomena in Jamaica and their links to West African culture. He first visited Jamaica in 1907 and served as a missionary there in the period 1912-1917 becoming closely acquainted with the African-Jamaican population of the island's central and western "parishes" (districts) and their folklore and customs. His first book, Whisperings of the Caribbean (1925), contains recollections of his experiences there. He went on to publish major studies of West Indian religious culture, including Voodoos and Obeahs (1932) and Psychic Phenomena of Jamaica (1934). Starting in 1932 he lectured in cultural anthropology at Boston College, where he established a very extensive collection of mostly printed materials on Africa and the Caribbean, named in honor of his father Nicholas M. Williams. The Anansi manuscripts form part of this collection. They were gathered with the cooperation of the Jamaican Director of Education, who distributed Williams's circular calling for contributions to his contest to schools all over the island.

Importance for research
Such a body of material forms a unique resource for research, but until today the collection is not as widely known as it should be. Covering the whole island as it does with contributions from children from varied religious and social backgrounds, who would have heard these stories at home from parents and grandparents or in other cultural contexts, it provides a truly remarkable snapshot of Jamaica's oral traditions at a moment when they were still very much alive. It is fortunate indeed that these stories were captured and preserved thanks to Williams's initiative. Now their publication on microfilm will make them more easily accessible to scholars working in various fields, including Caribbean studies, African and African-American studies, ethnology, folklore, and linguistics.


Karel Dobbelaere and Liliane Voyé

, processions, etc.) seems to be thriving, but its relationship with the institutional Church is deteriorating. In fact, the Church has never been enthusiastic about it. The cult of saints belongs to the realm of popular beliefs, in the sense that people are particularly likely to appeal to saints when there

Jerome S. Handler

Describes the medical beliefs and practices of Barbadian slaves. Author discusses the role of supernatural forces in slave medicine, the range of beliefs and practices encompassed by the term Obeah, and how the meaning of this term changed over time. He emphasizes the importance of African beliefs and practices on which Barbadian slave medicine fundamentally rested. In the appendix, the author discusses the early use of the term Obeah in Barbados and the Anglophone Caribbean.