Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccan (Paperback)
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Tuhami is an illiterate Moroccan tilemaker who believes himself married to a camel-footed she-demon. A master of magic and a superb story-teller, Tuhami lives in a dank, windowless hovel near the kiln where he works. Nightly he suffers visitations from the demons and saints who haunt his life, and he seeks, with crippling ambivalence, liberation from 'A'isha Qandisha, the she-demon.
In a sensitive and bold experiment in interpretive ethnography, Crapanzano presents Tuhami's bizarre account of himself and his world. In so doing, Crapanzano draws on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and symbolism to reflect upon the nature of reality and truth and to probe the limits of anthropology itself. Tuhami has become one of the most important and widely cited representatives of a new understanding of the whole discipline of anthropology.
About the Author
Vincent Crapanzano is a distinguished professor of comparative literature and anthropology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. He is the author of, among others, Serving the Word: Literalism in America from the Pulpit to the Bench and Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccan, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.
"A powerful case for the place of self-reflexivity in all ethnographic writing. . . . Not the least of the anxieties Crapanzano portrays is tied to the notion of realism, sharply revealed here as a Western convention. The interviews were to have resulted in a biography, or, in social science jargon, a 'life history.' But the effect of the encounter was to undermine the expected meanings of both 'life' and 'history.'"
— James Clifford