Do you know a book?

I’m looking for a book suggestion about a particular topic.

I can’t think of anywhere else I exist on the internet where this would be a more appropriate ask, but I am looking for some decent scholarship, history or commentary on, or just recorded examples of the pan-African Br’er animal stories (Br’er rabbit, the briar patch, e.g.) Does anyone know a book, or a good source?

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I think @Telengard might have a particular interest in this iirc? Might be misremembering

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I know Anansi is a large figure in many stories but I haven’t read anything myself. The Wikipedia page has a list of sources that might be a good jumping off point.

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I had this cool illustrated book when I was a kid that was a story about Anansi. It was very pretty!



oh dang I remember that one

It’s definitely in line with my interests, but, unfortunately, my familiarity begins and ends with the Joel Chandler Harris book. Whenever I studied in Europe, the Uncle Remus stories were regarded as among the most quintessentially American tales. They’re clever and entertaining, so they’re worth reading, but that’s all I got.

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Thanks! Those are definitely on my list.
If I find anything cool, I’ll bring it back here and share it.

Does anyone know of any good reading on the subject of abstract representation? I am not totally sure what fields of study this topic directly relates to, but I would guess it’s largely a semiotics thing.

I am interested in the fact that abstraction is a process of reduction or of paring something down without damaging the significance behind the representation. I am interested in how abstraction is used to make things clearer and more intuitive despite making the original thing smaller and obviously imperfect.

I’m cooking up a proposal for a paper and looking for research materials. So if anyone can think of any games studies literature on abstraction in games, that’s the goldmine! And also if anyone appreciates how abstraction functions in classic models of dream interpretation and psychoanlysis and knows a general resource that sort of outlines how abstraction works in that context, that is also of interest to me!

This is probably way outta left field, and I certainly have no expertise in this topic, but the way you wrote your request made me think about Maxwell’s papers on electromagnetic theory. In essence he takes empirical data from experimentalists (chiefly Faraday) and creates an entirely metaphorical model (in the sense that it is merely an abstracted mental aid to envision EM processes and doesn’t purport to be what’s “actually happening”) that encompasses all the data in order to produce elegant equations that turn out to be correct (meaning, they actually predict EM behavior) even though the model is a complete abstraction! A really excellent case study on the uses of abstraction and also a really eye opening look at the philosophy of physics for a nonscientist like me.

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That’s so cool! Abstraction in effect. I am actually very interested in this, and examples of people taking complex theories and making intuitive models or representational metaphors to explain them. It’s usually the realm of scifi in my experience where you see this happen, like the Matrix and ideology, but you would hope it would also happen in the hard sciences too!

This is Clerk Maxwell, right? I have heard of Maxwell’s sorting demon… read about that in The Crying of Lot 49.

Yeah this guy

I want to emphasize (because this is the really cool thing about it) that the point of Maxwell’s model is not to simplify and communicate to a non-science crowd; rather it takes experimental data, generates the abstract model, and then derives equations from the model’s natural consequences - which are later then proven experimentally! Dig deep enough and you start getting into epistemology. Crazy stuff.

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Oh I get it now. It’s crazy that it actually works out like that. Thanks for the suggestion, it seems like there is something to learn from that about the process and mechanics of abstraction. What an unexpected place to find that kind of thing.