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New publications as of July 2012 ---
Strangers in a Strange Land: Occidentalist Publics and Orientalist Geographies in Nineteenth-Century Georgian Imaginaries.
Manning examines the formation of nineteenth century intelligentsia print publics in the former Soviet republic of Georgia both anthropologically and historically. At once somehow part of 'Europe,' at least aspirationally, and yet rarely recognized by others as such, Georgia attempted to forge European style publics as a strong claim to European identity. These attempts also produced a crisis of self-definition, as European Georgia sent newspaper correspondents into newly re-conquered Oriental Georgia, only to discover that the people of these lands were strangers. In this encounter, the community of "strangers" of European Georgian publics proved unable to assimilate the people of the "strange land" of Oriental Georgia. This crisis produced both notions of Georgian public life and European identity which this book explores.
Semiotics of Drink and Drinking.
Drink, as an embodied semiotic and material form, mediates social life. This book examines the fundamental nature of drink through a series of modular but connected ethnographic discussions. It looks at the way the materiality of a specific drink (coffee, wine, water, beer) serves as the semiotic medium for a genre of sociability in a specific time and place.
As an explicitly comparative semiotic study, the book uses familiar and unfamiliar case studies to show how drinks with similar material properties are semiotically organized into very different drinking practices, including ethnographic examples as diverse as the relation of coffee to talk (in ordering at Starbucks). Further chapters look at the dryness of gin in relation to the modern cocktail party and the embedding of beer brands in the ethnographic imagination of the nation. Rather than treat drinks as mere propos in the exclusively human drama of the social, the book promotes them to actors on the stage.