MIMESIS AND ALTERITY A PARTICULAR HISTORY OF THE SENSES

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Mimesis And Alterity

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9781136645457
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 80.78 MB
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In his most ambitious and accomplished work to date, Michael Taussig undertakes a history of mimesis, the practice of imitation, and its relation to alterity, the opposition of Self and Other. Drawing upon such diverse sources as theories of Benjamin, Adorno and Horckheimer, research on the Cuna Indians, and theories of colonialism and postcolonialism, Taussig shows that the history of mimesis is deeply tied to colonialism, and more specifically, to the colonial trade's construction of "savages." With analysis that is vigorous, unorthodox, and often breathtaking, Taussig's cross-cultural discussion of mimesis deepens our understanding of the relationship between ethnography, racism and society.
Category: Social Science

Walter Benjamin S Grave

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 0226790002
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 69.90 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 : Social Science
File Size : 50.45 MB
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Set in the enchanted mountain of a spirit-queen presiding over an unnamed, postcolonial country, this ethnographic work of ficto-criticism recreates in written form the shrines by which the dead--notably the fetishized forms of Europe's Others, Indians and Blacks--generate the magical powers of the modern state.
Category: Social Science

What Color Is The Sacred

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9780226789996
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 62.13 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

I Swear I Saw This

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9780226789842
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 63.32 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

Defacement

Author : Michael T. Taussig
ISBN : 0804732000
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 42.20 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

My Cocaine Museum

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 0226790150
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 61.4 MB
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In this book, a make-believe cocaine museum becomes a vantage point from which to assess the lives of Afro-Colombian gold miners drawn into the dangerous world of cocaine production in the rain forest of Colombia's Pacific Coast. Although modeled on the famous Gold Museum in Colombia's central bank, the Banco de la República, Taussig's museum is also a parody aimed at the museum's failure to acknowledge the African slaves who mined the country's wealth for almost four hundred years. Combining natural history with political history in a filmic, montage style, Taussig deploys the show-and-tell modality of a museum to engage with the inner life of heat, rain, stone, and swamp, no less than with the life of gold and cocaine. This effort to find a poetry of words becoming things is brought to a head by the explosive qualities of those sublime fetishes of evil beauty, gold and cocaine. At its core, Taussig's museum is about the lure of forbidden things, charged substances that transgress moral codes, the distinctions we use to make sense of the world, and above all the conventional way we write stories.
Category: Social Science

The Corn Wolf

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9780226310992
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 56.45 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: Social Science

Shamanism Colonialism And The Wild Man

Author : Michael T. Taussig
ISBN : 0226790134
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 37.97 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

The Nervous System

Author : Michael Taussig
ISBN : 9781136606397
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 22.32 MB
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In a series of intriguing essays ranging over terror, State fetishism, shamanic healing in Latin America, homesickness, and the place of the tactile eye in both magic and modernity, anthropologist Michael Taussig puts into representational practice a curious type of engaged writing. Based on a paranoiac vision of social control and its understanding as in a permanent state of emergency leaving no room for contemplation between signs and things, these essays hover between story-telling and high theory and thus create strange new modes of critical discourse. The Nervous System will appeal to writers, scholars, artists, film makers, and readers interested in critical theory, aesthetics, and politics.
Category: Social Science