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The Devil's Book of Culture: History, Mushrooms, and Caves in Southern Mexico Paperback – December 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0292701908 ISBN-10: 029270190X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029270190X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292701908
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,551,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The author's elegant prose, at times raw, and peppered with colorful vignettes exposing the many foibles of fieldwork, makes for pleasurable and engaging reading. Perhaps more importantly, Feinberg's work represents a significant theoretical contribution to the study of ethnic identity in Oaxaca, a topic of considerable anthropological narration. It demands a thorough reexamination of the very ways in which we study and write about indigenous "culture" by looking at how Mazatec identity is constructed through a host of intersecting metacultural discourses, including those of its ethnographers. While based on regionally specific ethnographic material, I highly recommend Feinberg's book not only to anthropologists, but also historians and others interested in critical theory and identity formation, as well as cultural and historical representation. (Ronda L. Brulotte The Americas 2006-01-00)

About the Author

Benjamin Feinberg is Professor of Anthropology at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Laura Resau on November 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been interested in the Sierra Mazateca for years-- after spending time there, I read the handful of books written about it, yet felt that there was much more to be said. I was thrilled to discover that last year, someone finally wrote a well-researched ethnography about it. Feinberg's book is packed with fascinating observations and reflections on the way people in the Sierra Mazateca understand and talk about their lives, history, and "culture." I would recommend this book to anyone with a background in anthropology or a similar field who is interested in cultural identity negotiation and "indigenous-ness," Oaxaca, sacred mushrooms, and folklore about devils and caves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben Webb on June 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book more than any I've yet read has captivated my attention and informed my thinking in a variety of ways. It is not a book about "culture," where ideas and meaning are fixed according to implied moral distinctions, but rather "meta-culture," where the creation of space is changing according to the global and local evolving of discourses about time, place, and identity. He is not just a person writing about his magic mushroom experience, he is writing about the impact the Idea of mushrooms has had on people, their representation and meaning, as well as reporting the psychoactive effects and how they relate to this different way of conceptualization. I've had two classes with my academic advisor Ben Feinberg, and he is as intelligent, witty, and strange as this book, with new depth in each turn of the page and eye. I've probably read this book in full five times, as well as referencing parts of it consistently in conversations. That he met the Devil who offered him a book of culture (and has offered European-descent people similar kinds of intellectual riches) is vivifying to the central theme that ideas shape our world, often moreso than actions.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I know for a fact that Ben Feinberg has watched over one hundred hours of "I Dream of Jeanie."
But if that's not enough to convince you to buy his book, you might consider the actual subject matter. How do people in small places not overcome by the hegemony of time and space most people reading this website live with conceive of time and space? Feinberg looks at this, dealing with different categories of time and such from the perspective of the Sierra Mazteca. How do you get to Oaxaca de Juarez from Juatla? Where is the United States, and who are these weird tourists?
Read the book for the answers to these questions and more.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Evan Secan on January 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
His analysis is brilliant. If you are unsatisfied after reading through once, then I suggest you purchase another copy and read it over again.
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