Tanyxiwe's journey: A Javae theory of history

The intention of this study is to be an historical ethnography; its main object is the Javae concept of History and its relationship with the social structure. I attempt to reveal the manner in which the Javae understand the process of the historical construction of society through their mythical discourse, which is treated here as a legitimate form of historical conscience. Given the interrelation between structure and process, the analysis of mythology as a theory about praxis takes place in parallel with an analysis of how this historical praxis takes place among the Javae in its current form. The idea that otherness is immanent within the reproduction of society itself, in a similar way to that conferred by studies on the construction of personhood in Amazonian societies, is analyzed in its inherently historical dimension, since the Javae conceive historical transformations as a product of the structural and permanent relationship between inside and outside. Understanding the principles of the creation of culture/society and reality also depends on studying native concepts and practices in relation to the body -- a fundamental theme within South American ethnology for some decades. The basic model of the Javae concept of History is procreation, which here does not have any naturalizing connotation and is seen as the extraordinary capacity to transform sameness into difference by means of a fertile interaction between male and female, identity and otherness. It is therefore a corporalized, genderized, and spatialized History, so that describing the process of the making of society down the ages is inseparable from an ethnographic description of the making of personhood/body and the construction of kinship. It is also my intention to make an unprecedented proposal that the present-day Javae are the product of a complex historical fusion in Central Brazil between peoples related to the Arawak and Macro-Je (Je-Bororo) linguistic trunk. I also argue that the Dance of the Aruanas, the principal Javae ritual, is a native version of the classic Je-Bororo onomastic theme, whereby personhood is constituted through the opposition between a profane and polluted substantial identity and one which is sacred, public, and ceremonial. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by addressing your request to ProQuest, 789 E. Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346. Telephone 1-800-521-3042; e-mail: disspub@umi.com