Shakespeare in the Bush by Laura Bohannan


Shakespeare in the Bush by Laura Bohannan summary

The author is an American anthropologist who visits an African tribe named the Tiv. During her visit, she takes a copy of Shakespeare’s book the Hamlet to prove that the points illustrated in the book are universal and that anyone can understand them with a little help. The tribe she visits spends a lot of their time narrating stories and drinking, something, which is according to their culture. The author is, as well, supposed to narrate stories, but she is nervous about narrating the Hamlet story to them despite the fact that the tribe is exceedingly eager to hear the stories. While telling the story, they keep on interrupting her because they think they know the meaning of the story more than she does.

To them, it is hard to understand certain concepts like drowning because the water to them is good, and they only know of zombies, not ghosts. The point of the book is that the story in Hamlet loses its meaning in Africa because of the different points of view they have of the central concepts. The author later learns that values and concepts are not universal as different cultures have different interpretations of different concepts according to the values they hold (Bohannan 28- 33).

Summary of Japanese Mothers and Obentos by Anne Allison

In this article, Anne talks of the importance and culture of the obento, which has its origins in Japan. She spent a year making obentos for her son while in Japan and through this she learned a lot about the social rules and structure of the Japanese. An obento is a small lunchbox made for preschool children by their mothers every day. It is made with variety and creativity.

The mothers put a lot of care and artistic element into these obentos. In a culture where obedience and structure are observed, the teacher of the child then scrutinizes the obento, and their success in school depends on their ability to finish their obento cleanly and quickly. Each obento is constructed with each part apart from others and with excellent balance. The emphasis on the design emphasizes the presence of food’s nature. The obento, therefore, is extremely crucial, as a way to prepare the children to do well in school (Allison 195- 208).

  1. What is the political issue about space in the Nationalist Rhetoric of the Hellenic Republic and The Republic of Macedonia?

Since the end of the Roman era, Macedonia was never identified with constant and specific geographical and administrative borders. It was only later in the nineteenth century when the title Macedonia was used to refer to the region of three Ottoman provinces. By this time, the area had become a cause of disagreement among numerous nationalities of the Balkan origin. Nations were fighting to take over this area and expand its borders for economic success and political powers.

By the early twentieth century, the term Macedonia was broadly accepted as the geographical indication for the area, which more or less was comprised of the three Ottoman provinces. During this time, Macedonia did not have an administrative or an ethnic connotation, but a geographical one. This situation made it possible for others to try to take this space away from the original dwellers. As a result, of the 1912- 13 Balkan wars, the area became liberated from Ottoman leadership. The three allies who had fought for this liberation shared parts of the area (Peckham 59- 67).


  1. What are the political implications of space for indigenous people?


In a study carried out in 2008, Ajala observed that space performs four main roles in indigenous communities: communication, consumption, settlement, and security. All these functions, according to the study are commonly shown in the political values usually related to space. He further argued that the construction of space is different in different cultures. As it follows, the different perspectives on space are based on the attitude of a group to space, access to that space and their interaction with space as a resource of political dominance and power. The concept of space plays a crucial role in negotiations of power and decision (Alfred 34- 45).

In socio-political organizations, space is established in the categorization of women and men in a socio-political structure, which has effects and influences on their access to power. In this case, it is conceptualized as the method of claiming power or a right to make decisions or question the resolutions and decisions that have the potential to exclude the group or individual or affect their life. Power gives an individual or a group the ability to cause others to obey and do as directed by the individual. Power can be exercised through a number of ways.  In an indigenous society, therefore, power obtained from space can mean that the indigenous people will do as directed by their political leaders to maintain their space and its four functions (Alfred 34- 45).

  1. Explain how time can be a cosmology and what is a cosmology?

In anthropology a cosmology is a construct of analysis, as well as, an object of study that can be defined as a set of beliefs, knowledge, practices and interpretations of a culture or society related to explanations about the evolution and origins of the universe and the meaning and role of life, human and the world within the cosmos. A cosmology, therefore, includes an explanation of the past, future, and present of culture and these explanations are part of comprehending the cosmo-eco-ethnogenesis, and it has to do with the origins and the destiny, as well as, the finality of humans and other existing forms.

In anthropology cosmology, therefore, is used to mean the set of beliefs, knowledge, practices and interpretations and the set of overarching behavioral templates and cognitive templates, which are transformed and utilized by a society to understand, interpret and explain its functions and roles within the world, life and the general cosmos (Reichel-Dolmatoff  307- 18).


Using these definitions of cosmology one can argue that time can be a cosmology. This is because time can be taken as an analytical construct or an object of study when it comes to studying different periods of human society from the evolution periods to modern times. Time can be used to explain the different practices of a society and their periods, and how they relate to different trends in human history. As it follows, time is a cosmology as it can be studied like other analytical constructs in anthropology (Reichel-Dolmatoff 307- 18).


Work cited

Alfred, T. Peace Power Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto. Oxford University Press,          1999. Print.

Allison, A. ‘Japanese Mothers, and Obentos: The Lunch-Box as Ideological State Apparatus’.            Anthropological Quarterly, 64. 4 (1991):195-208. Print.

Bohannan, L. ‘Shakespeare in the Bush. An American anthropologist set out to study the Tiv of   West Africa and was taught the true meaning of Hamlet’. Natural History 75 (1996): 28–         33. Print.

Peckham, S. National histories, natural states: Nationalism and the politics of place in Greece.    London: I.B. Tauris, 2001. Print.

Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. ‘Cosmology as Ecological Analysis: A View from the Rainforest.   The Huxley Memorial Lecture’. MAN. 11.3 (1976): 307-18. Print.

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