Harmattan: A Philosophical Fiction

Harmattan: A Philosophical Fiction

by Michael D. Jackson


View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 1 week


We all experience qualms and anxieties when we move from the known to the unknown. Though our fulfillment in life may depend on testing limits, our faintheartedness is a reminder of our need for security and our awareness of the risks of venturing into alien worlds.

Evoking the hot, dust-filled Harmattan winds that blow from the Sahara to the Gulf of Guinea, this book creatively explores what it means to be buffeted by the unforeseen and the unknown. Celebrating the life-giving potential of people, places, and powers that lie beyond our established worlds, Harmattan connects existential vitality to the act of resisting prescribed customs and questioning received notions of truth. At the book's heart is the fictional story of Tom Lannon, a graduate student from Cambridge University, who remains ambivalent about pursuing a conventional life. After traveling to Sierra Leone in the aftermath of its devastating civil war, Tom meets a writer who helps him explore the possibilities of renewal. Illustrating the fact that certain aspects of human existence are common to all people regardless of culture and history, Harmattan remakes the distinction between home and world and the relationship between knowledge and life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231172356
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Series: Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. He has done extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the Kuranko of Sierra Leone, the Warlpiri of Central Australia, the Kuku-Yalanji of Cape York Peninsula, and with African migrants in Europe. He is the author of more than thirty books on ethnography, poetry, and fiction, including the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing: Radical Empiricism and Ethnographic Inquiry and At Home in the World.

Table of Contents

1. Limitrophes
Show and Tell
A Place in the Bush
Allegories of the Wilderness
Within and Without Limits
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
Life Is Elsewhere
Dark Soundings
On Not Being Rule Governed
Confronting One's Demons
Sentiments Limitrophes
The Faraway Tree
What Lies Beneath
Schrödinger's Cat
2. Harmattan
Stories Happen
Thousands Bay
Persona Non Grata
Tom Lannon's Story
Ezekiel's Story
Petra's Letter
No Condition Is Permanent
The School
After Fieldwork

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews