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Interethnic conflict is a worldwide phenomenon. Many scholars have explored the traumatic legacy of conflict, yet what impact this conflict has in the long term and how it might be placed in a schema of healing and survival deserve ongoing attention. Methodologically, this work is born of my experiences as an anthropologist working with people who are both historically and structurally oppressed after generations of cultural wounding. I have carried out ethnography in northern Australia with Indigenous groups for the last thirteen years and in northern Brazil with African-descendant community groups for the last seven years. In both instances, I have witnessed cultural wounding, listened to the form it takes in narratives of personal and group experiences, and watched it manifest in everyday suffering across generations. Yet it has struck me that with each instance of suffering persists the condition of survival, marked by a capacity to “get on with things,” to continue to live life while attesting to the importance of one’s ethnic identity. This book is the result of working with these groups of people and comes about from trying to describe the indescribable and reconcile the impossible. How is it that histories of colonization and enslavement, trauma, and suffering can sit alongside survival, transformation, and ethnic vitality? How do the wounded survive?
KeywordsEthnic Group Ethnic Identity Healing Action Social Memory African Nation
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