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Vincent Crapanzano: Tuhami
Morocco in the late 1960’s, a world of spirits and a world of human is what one man reveals to us through his personal history. In the world of Islam, both humans and spirits have souls; there are good spirits and bad spirits that live like humans but are invisible to our eyes unless they cross over. Tuhami is an illiterate Moroccan tile maker who believes he is married to a camel-footed she-demon. Tuhami is a master of magic and an outstanding story-teller; he lives in a dank, windowless hovel near his work. Nightly he suffers visitations from the demons and saints who haunt his life and he searches for liberation from 'A'isha Qandisha, the she-demon from saints and the brotherhood, the Hamasha’s. In a perceptive and intrepid experiment in interpretive ethnography, Crapanzano presents Tuhami's strange account of himself and his world. Crapanzano draws on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and symbolism to reflect upon the nature of reality and truth and to explore the limits of anthropology itself. The problem of the link between lives, narratives of those lives, and the production of stories of lives, and fiction or truth is very complex. Life stories are not always clear or the real truth of knowledge about a life. To recognize that lives are constructed means that we then need to search out ways for evaluating just what it is that is being constructed, and how their constructions may lead to different kinds of truths. One needs to look for consistency of objectivity and subjectivity. Crapanzano approaches his ethnographic encounter with attention and while interviewing Tuhami he recognizes that his presence in his encounter’s life enables him to tell his personal history. Tuhami would not be able to tell his stories to other Moroccans because of his feelings of being an outsider in the city of Meknes. But since Crapanzano is an outsider, he feels comfortable and feels a sense of importance by being interviewed. On the other hand, Tuhami...

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  • Submitted by:
  • on March 11, 2008
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 3,174 words
  • Views: 1142
  • Popularity Rank: 194656
  • 1 rating(s)

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