- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: University of British Columbia Press; New ed edition (1 January 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0774811870
- ISBN-13: 978-0774811873
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ FREE Delivery
+ FREE Delivery
+ FREE Delivery
Do Glaciers Listen?: Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination Paperback – 1 Jan 2006
Customers who bought this item also bought
In part a work of environmental history juxtaposing orally transmitted tribal memories and knowledge with modern scientific perceptions of climate change and landscape transformation, Cruikshank's text makes a strong case for the privileging of orally constituted local knowledge in present-day management decisions.--ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
Reading this book was as exhilarating as taking a raft trip down the Alsek River...Although this book will particularly delight those familiar with cultures of Alaska and the Yukon, it holds much interest for a broader audience.--American Anthropologist
Julie Cruikshank's book on the connections between glaciers and human history and imagination could not be more timely... Reading Do Glaciers Listen? is a thrilling and sobering experience. Cruikshank combines splendid scholarship and majestic descriptions in a cross-disciplinary tour-de-force. Readers will come away with a new appreciation of the meaning of glaciers.--Journal of Folklore Research
About the Author
Julie Cruikshank is professor emerita in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Life Lived Like a Story (winner of the 1992 MacDonald Prize); Reading Voices; and The Social Life of Stories.
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)||0%|
|4 star (0%)||0%|
|3 star (0%)||0%|
|2 star (0%)||0%|
|1 star (0%)||0%|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The ontology of the Indigenous people of northwestern North America, particularly, Tlingit people on the Gulf of Alaska Coast and the interior Athapaskans, is that nature and society are inseparable. Hence, the native people view nature, in this case, glaciers, as sentient beings with as much agency as their human counterparts. There is mutual respect between glaciers and humans, as glaciers can respond to insolent behavior – making obscene remarks about glaciers, insulting elderly people, calling glaciers and cooking greasy food around glaciers – leading to dire consequence, such as their deluge on entire settlements.
Knowledge – about the behavior of glaciers – is acquired and transmitted through stories passed down from one generation to the other. These stories about glaciers, however, are given in the context of the daily material practices of humans; hence, glaciers are a determinant of the material and imaginative outcomes of the society. Humans are able to navigate their daily lives through knowledge of the behavior of glaciers, and knowledge of the glaciers is acquired through a navigation of their daily lives and transmitted through oral narratives. Local knowledge, therefore, is not static or discovered, but it is produced and reproduced through a dynamic process of nature/society interaction.
On the other hand, the book reveals that European explorers, who later made contact with the glaciated lands of northwestern North America, viewed the area as “discovered” and external to human society. They did not only see clear lines between humans and the glaciers, but also, they (explorers) and the indigenous people. For instance, the French exploration leader, Jean-Francois de La Perouse, viewed the glaciers of Lituya Bay in 1786 with awe, yet he was ready with instruments to ascertain their dimensions and characteristics. The American environmentalist, Muir, introduced a definition of nature as something to be protected and preserve without regard for the already existing human population that drew its livelihood from the environment.
This dualistic ontology and the epistemological hegemony of science – dismissal of oral narratives as myths, as they do not fit into the jigsaw puzzle of science – formed the base of European imperialism. The British writer and traveller, Edward Glave, who wanted to return to the Belgian Congo, needed to prove to his targeted employer that he had the requisite skill to work in his colony; hence, he changed his previous tolerance of native views of the environment during his second visit to northwestern North American. The consequence of this emergent ontology – nature/society dualism – and epistemology – science – in northwestern North America was its annexation, demarcation, and sharing, albeit protracted disputes, which did not involve the original inhabitants; as the area was viewed, by its invaders, as though it was an uninhabited space. Much of this area now stand as protected lands, national parks, and the UNESCO World Heritage site. Traces of this dualism are found in contemporary issues of environmental governance, biodiversity and climate change globally.
Nonetheless, Cruikshank makes the point that many scientific disciplines are beginning to acknowledge the importance of local knowledge in knowledge production and the interconnectedness of nature and society. A juxtaposition of oral narratives of three women who lived the Saint Elias Mountains area – present day Yukon Territory – and oral histories left by early explorers demonstrates no significant differences in their stories about glaciers, except for the fact that the Native women encased their stories about the natural landscape in their social life.
In my opinion, this book will be useful to students of interdisciplinary programs as it demonstrates that there are diverse ontologies and epistemologies, which may not necessarily be in conflict with each other, but can be complementary in the process of knowledge production. Also, lessons from this book can be useful to environmental policy. In an era when the looming problem of climate change may require the cooperation of all sovereign states of the world, lessons from this book can engender tolerance and cooperation among nations. Academically, this book can serve as a key text in the study of the theoretical and methodological approaches in social science research, while the imperial content can be useful to students studying the Aboriginal communities and histories of northwestern North America.