Creolization: History, Ethnography, Theory

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Social scientists have used the term "Creolization" to evoke cultural fusion and the emergence of new cultures across the globe. However, the term has been under-theorized and tends to be used as a simple synonym for "mixture" or "hybridity." In this volume, by contrast, renowned scholars give the term historical and theoretical specificity by examining the very different domains and circumstances in which the process takes place. Elucidating the concept in this way not only uncovers a remarkable history, it also re-opens the term for new theoretical use. It illuminates an ill-understood idea, explores how the term has operated and signified in different disciplines, times, and places, and indicates new areas of study for a dynamic and fascinating process.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In recent years the term 'creolization' has been much evoked but little studied. This fine set of essays—crossing the fields of anthropology, history, linguistics, and cultural studies—offers the first systematic effort to historicize the term 'creolization' and the processes it names, as well as assessing the term's usefulness for contemporary cultural theory. Readers will find vigorous debate between the participating authors, who by no means adhere to a single editorial line, allowing their differences of approach and emphasis to illuminate just what is at stake. In sum, this is a really valuable collection of essays, sure to become the first reference point for discussion of creolization." —Peter Hulme, University of Essex

"At last, a brave collection of essays on creolization. Framed by a skillful, remarkably even-handed introduction, the volume addresses the rich and controversial histories of the construct, and pushes valiantly to disentangle it from related terms, often used as synonyms, such as hybridity, globalization, transnationalism and transculturation. Best of all, the volume seeks out an exciting array of critical voices, both recent and long-standing, in its presentation of debates about cultural and linguistic mixture. It is sure to become a touch-stone work on these thorny but urgent subjects in anthropology, history, sociology, linguistics, comparative literature and cultural studies, as well as in the many vaster conversations now taking place across disciplines." —Janet hart, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

"As we try to grasp the organization of human diversity, globally as well as in varied regional contexts, creole concepts have been good to think with - in different and sometimes conflicting directions. Read this book, and you will have a very clear idea of the perspectives and the controversies!" —Ulf Hannerz, Stockholm University

"This innovative volume constitutes a major contribution to the on-going debates around the meaning of creolization. Bringing together contributions by scholars in anthropology, history, linguistics and literary theory, it provides both new empirical studies and fresh theoretical insights on some of the most pressing questions of identity facing us today." —Megan Vaughan, Cambridge University

"This work is most unique in its interdisciplinary connections...and its geographical scope as it expands our sense of creolization beyond the Caribbean basin....[W]hen does a theory become overdetermined? Aisha Khan believes that this occurred for creolization when its role as a model that describes historical processes of cultural change and contact became conflated with the model that interprets them (238). By instigating the reversal of this particular instance of overdetermination, this valuable collection both recovers the power of this crucial term and clears theoretical and rhetorical space for new research and forms of knowledge." - Postmodern Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598742794
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press
  • Publication date: 3/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Stewart teaches in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. He has conducted long-term field research in Greece and is the author of Demons and the Devil: Moral Imagination in Modern Greek Culture (Princeton University Press, 1991) and the editor (with Rosalind Shaw) of Syncretism/Anti-Syncretism (Routledge, 1994).

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