richard price & sally price

Travels with Tooy:
History, Memory, and the African American Imagination

by
Richard Price

paperback $24.00

Winner of the 2008 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Winner of the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship, and Winner of the 2009 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion.

Thirty-five years into his research with Saramakas (descendants of rebel slaves in the South American rainforest), award-winning anthropologist Richard Price meets Tooy, a priest-philosopher-healer who soon takes him through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole.

Tooy is a time-traveler who crosses boundaries between centuries and continents, between the worlds of the living and the dead, between the visible and the invisible, and between villages on land and under the sea. Whoosh! we're in the 18th century, talking about enslaved African arrivants who are as familiar as our friends and neighbors. Whoosh! we're talking about battles against colonial armies and double-agents and femme-fatale forest spirits. Whoosh, we're speaking with the comely sea-gods who control the world's money supply.

Moving between the canefields of Martinique, where slave-era spirits haunt a hardware emporium, to the criminal court of Cayenne, where a rape trial is underway, and on to the ritual sacrifice of cocks and goats, the book carries readers into that hallucinatory realm located somewhere between Castañeda's Teachings of Don Juan and Taussig's My Cocaine Museum.

Melding scholarship with storytelling, Price draws on long-term ethnography and archival research—-but above all on Tooy's teachings, songs, stories, and secret languages-—to explore how Africans in the Americas have gone about creating marvellous new worlds of the imagination.

“Richard Price has had a long and torrential romance with the Saramaka Maroons of Suriname, exploring them and himself through a harvest of mythologies which dissolve all boundaries of time and geographical location. With Tooy as guide and mentor, across three centuries of African exile and resettlement in the Americas, we revisit the recent or forgotten spaces of Price’s near 40 years of patient, scholarly research. It is an astonishing performance, rendering these treasures of anthropological materials in a narrative style as lucid and cordial as the best contemporary fiction.”
--George Lamming, author of The Pleasures of Exile

“An exemplary and loving account of the resilience of an African American cosmological system in a cosmopolitan world.”
--J. Lorand Matory, Harvard University, and author of Black Atlantic Religion

“A fascinating meeting of minds. A must-read for all Afro-Americanists.”
--Philip D. Morgan, Johns Hopkins University, and author of Slave Counterpoint

“The ethnography is incredibly rich and nuanced; the historical narratives are precise and eye-opening; and the portrait of Tooy is fine-grained and moving. This is scholarship at its very best.”
--Paul Stoller, author of Money Has No Smell

“Travels with Tooy is true ethnographic magic—-a compelling portrait of the co-production of anthropological memories and Maroon histories by a North American anthropologist and a Saramaka intellectual. Beautifully written and theoretically sophisticated, it is a model of politically engaged historical ethnography and sustained transcultural dialogue.”
--John Collins, City University of New York, and author of Revolt of the Saints

"Anthropologists wait a lifetime for an informant like Tooy who possesses much knowledge and is willing to share it. This work constitutes Price''s most complete synthesis of Saramaka worldview to date, and serves as an enduring testament to over 30 years of painstaking, diligent, and innovative research. . . . This is a great book!"
--Choice

Selected Books:

Ee i sa lesi Saamakatongo ....
French-language reimagining of Enigma Variations, published with the Espresso Book Machine
Winner of the 2012 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association in the field of Human Rights and the 2012 Senior Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society. "An extraordinary work, actively written and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic." Donald Brenneis, UC Santa Cruz
"A delicious combination of art, anthropology, and politics"--Lucy R. Lippard. "A fascinating, entertaining, and troubling book"--Journal of Anthropological Research. "A complex story of passion, intrigue, and power"--Journal of Surrealism and the Americas. "A crackling good story"--Museum.
Winner of the 2008 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship, and the 2009 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. . . . "An astonishing performance ... as lucid and cordial as the best contemporary fiction.”--George Lamming
A lavishly-illustrated art book
A French-language original, printed in full color.
"A tour-de-force ... a true marriage of anthropology and art history." --Fred Myers, New York University
"A witty, but scholarly, indictment of the whole primitive art business." --Newsweek
"A superb calaloo of a book ... that explores the underlying insanity of the colonial experience." --George Lamming
"A true gem... The promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain." --African Arts
"Sensitive and honest, First-Time is required reading for all who seek to learn something new through first-hand, long-term research with non-western intellectuals" --Ethnohistory
"A splendid effort to recover the past." --New York Review of Books
"A splendid anthology, skillfully edited and introduced." --Eugene D. Genovese
"An innovative analysis of the creativity of African-Americans under the extreme constraints of slavery." --Rebecca Scott
"Conceived with sophistication but presented with simplicity and clarity" --Choice
"A brilliantly crafted experiment in postmodern narration --J. Jorge Klor de Alva, president, University of Phoenix
As seas dry up, books speak out loud, and elephants assume human form, we are present at a whole sequence of world-shaping happenings such as the invention of sex, the discovery of drums,and the arrival of death among humans.
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