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"Adieu ihr lieben Schwarzen"

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ISBN: 9783205771449 Year: Pages: 416 DOI: 10.26530/oapen_437215 Language: German
Publisher: Böhlau Grant: Austrian Science Fund - D 3594
Subject: Anthropology
Added to DOAB on : 2013-03-27 11:49:49
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Franz Mayr was "one of the most interesting of catholic missionaries in Southern Africa" states Professor Joy Brain ("University of Durban") in the foreword she wrote for this first edition of his writings. Mayr was born in the Austrian province of Tyrol in 1865, educated as a priest in the diocese of Brixen and arrived in Natal (South Africa) at the beginning of May 1890, inspired by the work being done there by the Trappist-Monks led by Abbot Franz Pfanner. Mayr was physically handicapped and soon left the trappists but just to offer his services to the vicar apostolic of Natal, Bishop Charles Jolivet, who accepted him for work among the African population. He was sent to Pietermaritzburg then capital of the British colony to take over the care of the African parishioners to bring the "good news" to those who had never heard it. He founded several new mission-stations in Natal, Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe) and Swaziland where he was killed by a native robber in 1914. Mayr - a man of many talents - was a gifted linguist, studied and published books in several African languages. He was interested in cultural anthropology and collected information about African customs. It is now more than a hundred years since Franz Mayr began his work of evangelisation and scholarship in Southern Africa. Publishing his letters and articles - kept by several archives in Europe - should help to remember a man of the Habsburg-Monarchy who went to preach the gospel to the so called heathen of Africa. Although Austria or Austria-Hungary never owned colonies in Africa many of its inhabitants left their homes to work in catholic mission-stations around the continent. 
Several introductory chapters in this book explain the particular historical context which has to be put into consideration when reading Mayrs' writings. From there we learn about his life, his work, how he treated the native population, what he thought about other religious congregations around him, the colonialists and about troubles when trying to convince people to believe in the only - the "European God". 
The missionary deserves to be better known. The present edition of historical sources is to be seen as a most relevant step allowing us to interpret his personality adequately. 


Reguliertes Abenteuer

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ISBN: 9783205796138 Year: Pages: 282 DOI: 10.26530/oapen_508002 Language: German
Publisher: Böhlau Grant: Austrian Science Fund - PUB 186
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2014-12-04 09:02:09
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The book focuses on german speaking catholic missionary sisters who came to South Africa after 1945. In three chapters (space of origin, convent space, missionary space) the life stories are interpreted as an “adventure with a rule”. The group portrait shows motivations, daily life and experiences of one of the last generations of missionary women.

Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Afrika

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ISBN: 9783205994022 Year: Pages: 408 Seiten DOI: 10.26530/oapen_574818 Language: German
Publisher: Böhlau Grant: Austrian Science Fund - D 3254
Subject: Anthropology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-09-08 11:01:28
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Contemporary art of Africa reached a wider audience in the aftermath of the Magiciens de la Terre exhibition (Paris 1989). This study of fourteen artists from Ivory Coast and Benin is based on ethnographic fieldwork in both countries (1997), during which I worked with several artists. In order to consider the reception of contemporary art of Africa in the European/North American art world, researches in London, Paris, and New York followed (1997, 1998). 
In Ivory Coast, I focused on a group of academically trained artists who belong to the Vohou Vohou movement which started in the early 1980s, and reached prominence in the 1990s. In Benin, I worked with artists who were not academically trained. One needs, however, to differentiate, as some had training as traditional artists, like the iron sculptures Calixte and Théodore Dakpogan, and adapted in the early 1990s their acquired skills to the creation of contemporary sculptures. Others, like Romuald Hazoumè and Georges Adéagbo, are self-trained. But they too interact with academically trained artists during residencies in various, West African or European countries.
In the major part of the volume, I am presenting the artists: which materials they are working with, what are their stylistic characteristics, which ideas and reflections are informing their work. In a following chapter, I try to trace the artists’ trajectories, the connections they are using in their work, be it to traditional stylistic canons, materials, techniques, and concepts, or to European modernism. In doing so, I adopt a situated perspective from these local art worlds (Abidjan and Cotonou/Porto Novo), in order to show the complexity of these creative artistic practices.
Other chapters of the volume deal with the notions of the art world (Becker’s sociological one and Danto’s cognitive). From an anthropological viewpoint I argue for a combination of both notions. Becker’s is important as to show the social, cultural, and economic aspects of the local art world. These aspects concern what is possible, or what is restricting the artistic endeavour. Danto’s concept needs an adaptation, in as far as it is not an embedding of the works of these artists within the grand narrative of Occidental art history. Rather, the notion is used in the plural, as the focus is on local, regional, and transcultural connections of artistic practices. I thereafter argue against a universalising, hegemonic narrative of the European/North American art world.
The other notion, which is discussed in the volume, is the one of ‘contemporary African art.’ Instead of analysing the notion from a theoretical perspective, I follow the artists, how they explain their art and its possible African character. This approach shows a wide continuum between a clear African dimension and one that considers contemporary art practices as encompassing without any regional specification.
The final chapter deals with reflections about a modern, contemporary anthropology of art. Such an anthropology does not restrict itself to the study of ethnic arts but considers all art as its subject. In particular, it has to deal with contemporary art in its present, multiple expressions on the basis of ethnographic fieldwork. It may participate in wider discussions about global art (although the notion is not dealt with in the volume), from locally situated gazes.
Context is a major topic in that respect. While former studies in the anthropology of art contextualised works of art by considering their functions and meanings, context is here as well considered as related to artistic practices, the connections to other skills, techniques, materials, styles, or ideas which are visualised in the work of art.
I would like to express my gratitude to the ‘Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung’ (FWF) which enabled the fieldworks, archival researches, and the publication of the present volume.

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