Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mimesis and Alterity

A Particular History of the Senses, 1st Edition

By Michael Taussig


228 pages

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In this ambitious and accomplished work, Taussig explores the complex and interwoven concepts of mimesis, the practice of imitation, and alterity, the opposition of Self and Other. The book moves from the nineteenth-century invention of mimetically capacious machines, such as the camera, to the fable of colonial ‘first contact’ and the alleged mimetic power of ‘primitives’. Twenty years after the original publication, Taussig revisits the work in a new preface which contextualises the impact of Mimesis and Alterity. Drawing on the ideas of Benjamin, Adorno and Horckheimer and ethnographic accounts of the Cuna, Taussig demonstrates how the history of mimesis is deeply tied to colonialism and the idea of alterity has become increasingly unstable. Vigorous and unorthodox, this cross-cultural discussion continues to deepen our understanding of the relationship between ethnography, racism and society.

Table of Contents

1. In Some Way or Another One Can Protect Oneself From Evil Spirits by Portraying Them

2. Physiognomic Aspects of Visual Worlds

3. Spacing Out

4. The Golden Bough: The Magic of Mimesis

5. The Golden Army: The Organization of Mimesis

6. With the Wind of World History in Our Sails

7. Spirit of the Mime, Spirit of the Gift

8. Mimetic Worlds: Invisible Counterparts

9. The Origin of the World

10. Alterity

11. The Color of Alterity

12. The Search for the White Indian

13. America as Woman: The Magic of Western Gear

14. The Talking Machine

15. His Master’s Voice

16. Reflection

17. Sympathetic Magic in a Post-Colonial Age

About the Author

Michael Taussig is 1933 Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, USA, and is affiliated with the European Graduate School in Switzerland.

About the Series

Routledge Classic Texts in Anthropology

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General