McElvain Library Catalog
Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Main library collection
Staley Prize shelf
Reference REF 362 .19699 Ste 2014 Not For Loan T 19093
Main library collection
Stacks
362 .19699 Ste 2014 Available T 16575
Total holds: 0

Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-242) and index.

" In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our common sense understanding of what life is and what it means to care for the life of another. Through close attention to the images in which we think and dream and through which we understand the world, Stevenson describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend's newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive. For the Inuit, and perhaps for all of us, life is "somewhere else," and the task is to articulate forms of care for others that are adequate to that truth"--

"This ethnographic study examines two historical moments in the Canadian Arctic: the Inuit tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). The colonial Canadian North was imagined as a laboratory for a social experiment to transform Inuit into bona fide Canadian citizens by, among other things, reducing their death rate. This experiment demanded Inuit cooperation with the forms of anonymous care the state provided--including the evacuation of tubercular Inuit Southern Sanatoria, which left many Inuit families without the story or image of their loved one's death. A similar indifference to who lives or dies is manifest in the adoption of the "suicide hotline"--an explicitly anonymous form of care where caregivers exhort unidentified Inuit to live while simultaneously expecting them to die. Through attention to the images through which people think and dream, Stevenson describes a world in which life is "beside itself": the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend's newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. For the Inuit, life is "somewhere else," and Stevenson attempts to articulate forms of care adequate to that truth"--Provided by publisher.

J.I. Staley Prize, 2020
Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, 2015

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