This evening we are reading an unpublished article by Uri Gordon that was presented at the 2015 NAASN conference. One of the study group was so excited by the piece that they stomped and cried until we begged Uri for the text. He dutifully responded.
We will be reading “Prefigurative Politics and Anarchism” by Uri Gordon which will be available in hard copy on Tuesday.
this week we have a 2002 interview by PLW of Michael Taussig, who wrote Mimesis and Alterity, and The Devil and Commodity Fetishism, among other titles.
from wikipedia: The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America is both a polemic about anthropology and an analysis of a set of seemingly magical beliefs held by rural and urban workers in Colombia and Bolivia. His polemic is that the principal concern of anthropology should be to critique Western (specifically, capitalist) culture. He further argues that people living in the periphery of the world capitalist economy have a critical vantage point on capitalism, and articulate their critiques of capitalism in terms of their own cultural idioms. He thus concludes that anthropologists should study peoples living on the periphery of the world capitalist economy as a way of gaining critical insight into the anthropologists’ own culture. In short, this polemic shifts the anthropologists’ object of study from that of other cultures to that of their own, and repositions the former objects of anthropological study (e.g. indigenous peoples) as valued critical thinkers.
the reading: michael-taussig-ayahuasca-and-shamanism
the reading is the PLW essay from Gone to Croatan called “Caliban’s Masque: spiritual anarchy and the wild man in colonial america”.
The Caravan of Summer
Something of the real difference between pilgrim and tourist can be detected by comparing their effects on the places they visit. Changes in a place—a city, a shrine, a forest—may be subtle, but at least they can be observed. The state of the soul may be a matter of conjecture, but perhaps we can say something about the state of the social.
Pilgrimage sites like Mecca may serve as great bazaars for trade and they may even serve as centers of production (like the silk industry of Benares), but their primary “product” is baraka or mana. These words (one Arabic, one Polynesian) are usually translated as “blessing,” but they also carry a freight of other meanings.