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Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache / Edition 1

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Overview

This remarkable book introduces us to four unforgettable Apache people, each of whom offers a different take on the significance of places in their culture. Apache conceptions of wisdom, manners and morals, and of their own history are inextricably intertwined with place, and by allowing us to overhear his conversations with Apaches on these subjects Basso expands our awareness of what place can mean to people.

Most of us use the term sense of place often and rather carelessly when we think of nature or home or literature. Our senses of place, however, come not only from our individual experiences but also from our cultures. Wisdom Sits in Places, the first sustained study of places and place-names by an anthropologist, explores place, places, and what they mean to a particular group of people, the Western Apache in Arizona. For more than thirty years, Keith Basso has been doing fieldwork among the Western Apache, and now he shares with us what he has learned of Apache place-names—where they come from and what they mean to Apaches.

"This is indeed a brilliant exposition of landscape and language in the world of the Western Apache. But it is more than that. Keith Basso gives us to understand something about the sacred and indivisible nature of words and place. And this is a universal equation, a balance in the universe. Place may be the first of all concepts; it may be the oldest of all words."—N. Scott Momaday

"In Wisdom Sits in Places Keith Basso lifts a veil on the most elemental poetry of human experience, which is the naming of the world. In so doing he invests his scholarship with that rarest of scholarly qualities: a sense of spiritual exploration. Through his clear eyes we glimpse the spirit of a remarkable people and their land, and when we look away, we see our own world afresh."—William deBuys

"A very exciting book—authoritative, fully informed, extremely thoughtful, and also engagingly written and a joy to read. Guiding us vividly among the landscapes and related story-tellings of the Western Apache, Basso explores in a highly readable way the role of language in the complex but compelling theme of a people's attachment to place. An important book by an eminent scholar."—Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Basso, an anthropologist who has done fieldwork among the Western Apache of Arizona for over 30 years, provides a fascinating scholarly study of the meaning and significance of the Apache place names found in the area surrounding the community of Cibecue, Arizona. Some Apache place names describe features of the landscape or climate, while others derive from historical or mythological events. All, however, are rich in descriptive imagery and depth of meaning for the Apache people of the area. With the help of several Apache informants, Basso explores the place worlds underlying the names of localities and through them lets the Apache express their own understanding of their history, identity, values, and morality. This work, which won the Western States Book Award for creative nonfiction, is a valuable contribution to anthropological studies of place and location. At the same time, it provides a sensitive perspective on the Apaches' understanding of themselves. A useful addition to anthropology and linguistics collections in academic libraries.Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, Ohio
Booknews
In the tradition of The Tao of Physics, Perkowitz (physics, Emory U.) mingles scientific theories with psychic mysteries, creating an elegant and evocative technical interpretation of light's story. Inspired by Magritte's painting Empire of Light and its paradoxical portrayal of day and night, Perkowitz picks up the artist's theme in discussions of ancient discoveries, modern theories (in cosmic and subatomic form), and the human eye's ability to receive data to link it with physiological responses. All this rather dry analysis is illuminated with examples from the artistry of Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Edgar Degas, and James Turrell. Our only regret is that the beautiful description of how light moves across real water and the water of van Gogh's perspective could not be accompanied by a reproduction of the painting. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826317247
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 191
  • Sales rank: 151,610
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Western Apache Pronunciation Guide
Preface
1 Quoting the Ancestors 3
2 Stalking with Stories 37
3 Speaking with Names 71
4 Wisdom Sits in Places 105
Epilogue 151
Notes 153
References Cited 161
Index 167
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