Being and Place among the Tlingit

Being and Place among the Tlingit

by Thomas F. Thornton
     
 

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In Being and Place among the Tlingit, place signifies a specific geographical location and also reveals the ways in which individuals and social groups define themselves. The notion of place consists of three dimensions-space, time, and experience-which are culturally and environmentally structured. Thomas Thornton examines each in detail to show how individual and… See more details below

Overview

In Being and Place among the Tlingit, place signifies a specific geographical location and also reveals the ways in which individuals and social groups define themselves. The notion of place consists of three dimensions-space, time, and experience-which are culturally and environmentally structured. Thomas Thornton examines each in detail to show how individual and collective Tlingit notions of place, being, and identity are formed. As he observes, despite cultural and environmental changes over time, particularly in the post-contact era since the late eighteenth century, Tlingits continue to bind themselves and their culture to places and landscapes in distinctive ways.

About the Author:
Thomas F. Thornton is associate professor of anthropology at Portland State University in Oregon

Editorial Reviews

The Northern Review
Being and Place Among the Tlingit provides an excellent grounding in indigenous environmental values and how they operate in society. The book will almost certainly become a standard text for Northwest Coast anthropologists, human geographers, even archaeologists, for whom Thornton's discussion of material symbols, such as Chilkat blankets, will serve as a useful reminder of the ways artifacts can actively reference people and places. Finally, because it is a well written book, brimming with helpful examples of the politics of place-making, it will interest scholars studying human-landscape interactions in diverse regions of the globe.

BC Studies
This thoroughly researched, well-organized, and well-written book is a pioneering study of the ethnography of the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast. Its methods and many of its conclusions could fruitfully be used in studying the toponymy of the Aboriginal nations of coastal British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. It would work well as a text in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in anthropology and First Nations studies. It will also be an invaluable resource for the Tlingit people themselves.

Alaska History
Thomas Thornton takes the reader on a rich journey into the physical and social landscape of Southeast Alaska.... a solid work of ethnography grounded in serious scholarship but written in a language that will also be accessible to most readers.

Journal of Anthropological Research
This book is about the meaning of place among the Tlingit, but it is also a comprehensive, scholarly essay on the ideal of place in Western philosophy and social science theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295987491
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
11/28/2007
Series:
Culture, Place, and Nature Series
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
528,423
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Richard Dauenhauer
This book will be a model for Native Alaskan cultural ecology. Case studies are illustrated with the lives of traditional Tlingit elders and the naming of particular places, showing how names, stories, songs, myth, legend, history, artistic designs, food gathering, and material culture (such as boat design) are specific to place.

Keith H. Basso
Thomas Thornton has written an excellent book: adroitly conceived, carefully researched, rewardingly informative. It provides a compelling example of how cultural constructions of geographic places shape and pervade experience, not only among the Tlingit—-whose places, one discovers, are both plentiful and arresting—-but also, by implication, among indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world.

Eugene Hunn
This book is a powerful testament to the complexity, durability, and sensitivity of Tlingit ethnoecology that allows us to appreciate more fully what it means to be a 'child of the land' as Tlingit characterize the relationship between clan members and the particular places to which they belong.

Julie Cruikshank
This remarkable and fine—grained ethnography... speaks to broad environmental questions and provides a powerful vision of the roles that place and landscape play in cultural systems.

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