Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Cultural TechniquesGrids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Bernhard Siegert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263752

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263752.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Medusas of the Western Pacific

Medusas of the Western Pacific

The Cultural Techniques of Seafaring

(p.68) 4 Medusas of the Western Pacific
Cultural Techniques

Bernhard Siegert

, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young
Fordham University Press

According to Sophocles, seafaring is the very first cultural technique which makes possible all other cultural techniques. The chapter analyzes shipbuilding and navigational practices among the inhabitants of the Trobriand Islands as a complex actor network comprising many highly heterogeneous actors, including creepers, myths, several kinds of magic, taboos, flying women, and the threat of shipwreck. For the Trobriands the canoo is a technology which proves seaworthy inasmuch as it incorporates elements which are attributed to the evil eye of flying witches which personify the horrors of the sea. The canoo uses magic related to these medusas in an apotropaic way. The ship therefore articulates the difference between land and sea as a system of differences between eye and gaze, shape and shapelessness, unity and disunity, good and evil woman, the imaginary and the real, the salvation and disintegration of reality.

Keywords:   Shipbuilding, Seafaring, Trobriand Islands, Magic, Witches, Evil Eye, Apotropaion, Gaze

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .