Animism, Totemism, Traditional Gift Economies and “Deep Ecology”

Image courtesy of Saffell Gardner.

Tuesdays at 9338 Jos Campau, Hamtramck, MI at 7pm.

This course will present and discuss aspects of Native American worldviews, what have become known as “indigenous ontologies,” from historical and ethnographic accounts.  The material will be linked to traditional practices and to the effects of European conquest.  We will be looking for the “blind spot” in western post-Enlightenment rationality.

Tuesday, July 8: Bruno Latour (2009)Perspectivism: ‘Type’ or ‘bomb’?
Hallowell, A.I. (1960) `Ojibwa Ontology, Behavior and World View

Tuesday, July 15: Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo (2004)  Exchanging Perspectives:The Transformation of Objects into Subjects in Amerindian Ontologies.

Tuesday, July 22:A Circumpolar Night’s Dream,” in: Ingold, Tim (2000)  The Perception of the EnvironmentEssays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill

Tuesday, July 29:Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Peter Skafish (Nov/Dec 2013) Cannibal metaphysics: Amerindian perspectivism; With an introduction by Peter Skafish

Tuesday, August 5: We will be continuing our discussion of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Peter Skafish (Nov/Dec 2013)  “Cannibal metaphysics: Amerindian perspectivism; With an introduction by Peter Skafish“; now available in a file (LINK)

Tuesday, August 12: Tânia Stolze Lima (1999) The two and its many: Reflections on perspectivism in a Tupi cosmology, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 64:1, 107-131. file: (LINK)

Tuesday, August 19: Aparecida Vilaça (2005)CHRONICALLY UNSTABLE BODIES: REFLECTIONS ON AMAZONIAN CORPORALITIES J. Roy. anthrop. Inst. (N.S.) 11, 445-464.

Tuesday, August 26:  Ghassan Hage (2012)  Critical anthropological thought and the radical political imaginary today.  Critique of Anthropology, 32: 285-308. (LINK)

NOTE:  The Animism class will continue in September with a two-week excursion into African culture via Richard Farris Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit.  Please note the change of time.

Tuesdays: September 2 and September 9, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Venue: “9338 Campau” Gallery, 9338 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck
In this course we will read selected sections from Richard Farris Thompson’s influential book “Flash of the Spirit”, with a specific concentration on the Yoruba section. Participants in the course will gain an understanding of the general themes of Thompson’s book and an introduction to some aspects of Yoruba culture. The course will accompany, the show “until something else comes along” by artist Saffell Gardner whose work reflects some of the themes of the book.
During week 1 we will read the book’s Introduction, in which Thompson outlines his major thesis: that more African visual culture and philosophy crossed the Atlantic to the Americas than is generally recognized. Also we will look at the first section of Chapter 1, “Black Saints Go Marching In: Yoruba Art and Culture in the Americas” which looks at Yoruba concepts such as “ashe”, “iwa” and “itutu”.
During week 2 we will look at two or three of the book’s portraits of major Yoruba Orisha, perhaps Eshu-Elegba, Ifa and/or Shango.
Following a brief hiatus, the Animism course will resume later in September.