Mimesis And Alterity

Author : Michael T. Taussig
ISBN : 0415906873
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 21.12 MB
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In Mimesis and Alterity Taussig undertakes and eccentric history of the mimetic faculty. He moves easily from the nineteenth-century invention of mimetically capacious machines, such as the camera, backwards to the fable of colonial first contact' alleged mimetic prowess of primitives, ' and then forward to contemporary time, when the idea of alterity is increasingly unstable. Utilizing anthropological theory, Taussig blends Latin American ethnography and colonial history with the insights of Walter Benjamin, Adorno and Horkheimer. Vigorous and unorthodox, Taussig's understanding of mimesis in different cultures deepens our meaning of ethnography, racism and society.
Category: Social Science

Walter Benjamin S Grave

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 0226790002
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 54.39 MB
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In September 1940, Walter Benjamin committed suicide in Port Bou on the Spanish-French border when it appeared that he and his travelling partners would be denied passage into Spain in their attempt to escape the Nazis. In 2002, one of anthropology’s—and indeed today’s—most distinctive writers, Michael Taussig, visited Benjamin’s grave in Port Bou. The result is “Walter Benjamin’s Grave,” a moving essay about the cemetery, eyewitness accounts of Benjamin’s border travails, and the circumstances of his demise. It is the most recent of eight revelatory essays collected in this volume of the same name. “Looking over these essays written over the past decade,” writes Taussig, “I think what they share is a love of muted and defective storytelling as a form of analysis. Strange love indeed; love of the wound, love of the last gasp.” Although thematically these essays run the gamut—covering the monument and graveyard at Port Bou, discussions of peasant poetry in Colombia, a pact with the devil, the peculiarities of a shaman’s body, transgression, the disappearance of the sea, New York City cops, and the relationship between flowers and violence—each shares Taussig’s highly individual brand of storytelling, one that depends on a deep appreciation of objects and things as a way to retrieve even deeper philosophical and anthropological meanings. Whether he finds himself in Australia, Colombia, Manhattan, or Spain, in the midst of a book or a beach, whether talking to friends or staring at a monument, Taussig makes clear through these marvelous essays that materialist knowledge offers a crucial alternative to the increasingly abstract, globalized, homogenized, and digitized world we inhabit. Pursuing an adventure that is part ethnography, part autobiography, and part cultural criticism refracted through the object that is Walter Benjamin’s grave, Taussig, with this collection, provides his own literary memorial to the twentieth century’s greatest cultural critic.
Category: Social Science

The Magic Of The State

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9781135249045
Genre : POLITICAL SCIENCE
File Size : 86.66 MB
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Enter an ethnographically surreal work located in a fictive Latin American country: The Magic of the State focuses on the theater of spirit possession at a Spirit Queen's enchanted mountain where the dead - Blacks and Indians, Europe's fetishized others - pass into the bodies of the living, creating a circulation of ecstatic bodily power. Employing Bataille's concept of the sacred, Taussig draws on his extensive fieldwork to create his own theater of spirit possession. He then traces the circulation of power, along with its dada-like transformations between spirit and matter, everywhere - through popular shrines, official monuments and slogans, money, the police, automobiles, taxis, the freeway system, and the stealing of the sword of state.
Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE

What Color Is The Sacred

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9780226789996
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 37.79 MB
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Over the past thirty years, visionary anthropologist Michael Taussig has crafted a highly distinctive body of work. Playful, enthralling, and whip-smart, his writing makes ingenious connections between ideas, thinkers, and things. An extended meditation on the mysteries of color and the fascination they provoke, What Color Is the Sacred? is the next step on Taussig’s remarkable intellectual path. Following his interest in magic and surrealism, his earlier work on mimesis, and his recent discussion of heat, gold, and cocaine in My Cocaine Museum,this book uses color to explore further dimensions of what Taussig calls “the bodily unconscious” in an age of global warming. Drawing on classic ethnography as well as the work of Benjamin, Burroughs, and Proust, he takes up the notion that color invites the viewer into images and into the world. Yet, as Taussig makes clear, color has a history—a manifestly colonial history rooted in the West’s discomfort with color, especially bright color, and its associations with the so-called primitive. He begins by noting Goethe’s belief that Europeans are physically averse to vivid color while the uncivilized revel in it, which prompts Taussig to reconsider colonialism as a tension between chromophobes and chromophiliacs. And he ends with the strange story of coal, which, he argues, displaced colonial color by giving birth to synthetic colors, organic chemistry, and IG Farben, the giant chemical corporation behind the Third Reich. Nietzsche once wrote, “So far, all that has given colour to existence still lacks a history.” With What Color Is the Sacred? Taussig has taken up that challenge with all the radiant intelligence and inspiration we’ve come to expect from him.
Category: Social Science

Defacement

Author : Michael T. Taussig
ISBN : 0804732000
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 74.99 MB
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Defacement asks what happens when something precious is despoiled. In specifying the human face as the ideal type for thinking through such violation, this book raises the issue of secrecy as the depth that seems to surface with the tearing of surface.
Category: Social Science

I Swear I Saw This

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9780226789842
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 40.90 MB
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I Swear I Saw This records visionary anthropologist Michael Taussig’s reflections on the fieldwork notebooks he kept through forty years of travels in Colombia. Taking as a starting point a drawing he made in Medellin in 2006—as well as its caption, “I swear I saw this”—Taussig considers the fieldwork notebook as a type of modernist literature and the place where writers and other creators first work out the imaginative logic of discovery. Notebooks mix the raw material of observation with reverie, juxtaposed, in Taussig’s case, with drawings, watercolors, and newspaper cuttings, which blend the inner and outer worlds in a fashion reminiscent of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs’s surreal cut-up technique. Focusing on the small details and observations that are lost when writers convert their notes into finished pieces, Taussig calls for new ways of seeing and using the notebook as form. Memory emerges as a central motif in I Swear I Saw This as he explores his penchant to inscribe new recollections in the margins or directly over the original entries days or weeks after an event. This palimpsest of afterthoughts leads to ruminations on Freud’s analysis of dreams, Proust’s thoughts on the involuntary workings of memory, and Benjamin’s theories of history—fieldwork, Taussig writes, provokes childhood memories with startling ease. I Swear I Saw This exhibits Taussig’s characteristic verve and intellectual audacity, here combined with a revelatory sense of intimacy. He writes, “drawing is thus a depicting, a hauling, an unraveling, and being impelled toward something or somebody.” Readers will exult in joining Taussig once again as he follows the threads of a tangled skein of inspired associations.
Category: Social Science

Sensual Relations

Author : David Howes
ISBN : 0472026224
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 76.97 MB
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With audacious dexterity, David Howes weaves together topics ranging from love and beauty magic in Papua New Guinea to nasal repression in Freudian psychology and from the erasure and recovery of the senses in contemporary ethnography to the specter of the body in Marx. Through this eclectic and penetrating exploration of the relationship between sensory experience and cultural expression, Sensual Relations contests the conventional exclusion of sensuality from intellectual inquiry and reclaims sensation as a fundamental domain of social theory. David Howes is Professor of Anthropology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.
Category: Social Science

The Corn Wolf

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9780226310855
Genre : History
File Size : 35.83 MB
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Collecting a decade of work from iconic anthropologist and writer Michael Taussig, The Corn Wolf pinpoints a moment of intellectual development for the master stylist, exemplifying the “nervous system” approach to writing and truth that has characterized his trajectory. Pressured by the permanent state of emergency that imbues our times, this approach marries storytelling with theory, thickening spiraling analysis with ethnography and putting the study of so-called primitive societies back on the anthropological agenda as a way of better understanding the sacred in everyday life. The leading figure of these projects is the corn wolf, whom Wittgenstein used in his fierce polemic on Frazer’s Golden Bough. For just as the corn wolf slips through the magic of language in fields of danger and disaster, so we are emboldened to take on the widespread culture of academic—or what he deems “agribusiness”—writing, which strips ethnography from its capacity to surprise and connect with other worlds, whether peasant farmers in Colombia, Palestinians in Israel, protestors in Zuccotti Park, or eccentric yet fundamental aspects of our condition such as animism, humming, or the acceleration of time. A glance at the chapter titles—such as “The Stories Things Tell” or “Iconoclasm Dictionary”—along with his zany drawings, testifies to the resonant sensibility of these works, which lope like the corn wolf through the boundaries of writing and understanding.
Category: History

Animal Capital

Author : Nicole Shukin
ISBN : 9780816653416
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 20.31 MB
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The juxtaposition of biopolitical critique and animal studies--two subjects seldom theorized together--signals the double-edged intervention of Animal Capital. Nicole Shukin pursues a resolutely materialist engagement with the "question of the animal," challenging the philosophical idealism that has dogged the question by tracing how the politics of capital and of animal life impinge on one another in market cultures of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Category: Social Science

Shamanism Colonialism And The Wild Man

Author : Michael T. Taussig
ISBN : 0226790134
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 59.64 MB
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Looks at the interaction between civilized and primitive people in Colombia, examines the role of the shaman, and discusses healing practices in the jungle
Category: Social Science