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Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415906876
ISBN-10: 0415906873
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Taussig's deeply informed anthropological readings present us with a contemporary cabinet of curiosities that informs the longstanding fascination with the primitive in the constitution of the modern, and shocks us, in the spirit of Benjamin, into reconsidering what we thought we had largely dismissed in our concerns with the politics of representation."
-George E. Marcus, Rice University
"In "Mimesis and Alterity Taussig investigates the contacts between anthropologists and subjects and the world created therein . . . his accounts have the tactility one gets from a good storyteller."
-"Artforum
"This book can most profitably be read in conjunction with Taussig's provocatice and often original earlier works (e.g. "The Devil and Commodity Fetishism) since these provide the details of the historical and cultural stage of mimetic performance."
-"Bulletin of Society for the Anthropologyof Europe, October, 1993

From the Back Cover

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 23, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415906873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415906876
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An unsettling and hallucinatory ride through the history of image-making, from the point of first contact between the Old and New Worlds, to the present day. Taussig is among the most original and challenging anthropologists of our time, forcing readers to radically rethink their notions of not only anthropology and the nature of academic inquiry, but of the human condition itself.
A must read!
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By Kayem on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I first read this text in undergraduate studies - to this day it remains one of my favourite books.

It is distinguished by Taussig's ability to both blend sharp anthropological insight with nuanced reading of philosophical theory. This strengthens his anthropology and adds to the understanding of key Critical Theory exponents.

He adds rigour to anthropological practice and substance to philosophical theory - both difficult tasks.

A text of great import to the humanities generally.
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Taussig has been described as a high theorist writing as a beatnik novelist. A pretty good description, it seems to me. In my eyes, or in my sensuous 'history' of personal awareness, this book appears as a welcomed aid for those familiar with critical theory, from Foucault to Kristeva to Derrida to Bourdieu, etc. He places 'mimesis' within a multitude of contexts, each of which redefines the wor[l]d, the effect of which releases concepts that have become conventional tools for cultural theory from their static availability and performs an invented space (mimetic) that stuns the senses. If writing is a mimetic endeavor (as Taussig claims), then reading this book is equally an opportunity to mimetically become alter to oneself. He's a unique writer, a breathe of fresh air, someone to take your time with.
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