Imaginary Ethnographies: Literature, Culture, and Subjectivity by Gabriele Schwab

Imaginary Ethnographies: Literature, Culture, and Subjectivity

byGabriele Schwab

Kobo ebook | September 18, 2012

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Through readings of iconic figures such as the cannibal, the child, the alien, and the posthuman, Gabriele Schwab analyzes literary explorations at the boundaries of the human. Treating literature as a dynamic medium that "writes culture"—one that makes the abstract particular and local, and situates us within the world—Schwab pioneers a compelling approach to reading literary texts as "anthropologies of the future" that challenge habitual productions of meaning and knowledge.

Schwab's study draws on anthropology, philosophy, critical theory, and psychoanalysis to trace literature's profound impact on the cultural imaginary. Following a new interpretation of Derrida's and Lévi-Strauss's famous controversy over the indigenous Nambikwara, Schwab explores the vicissitudes of "traveling literature" through novels and films that fashion a cross-cultural imaginary. She also examines the intricate links between colonialism, cannibalism, melancholia, the fate of disenfranchised children under the forces of globalization, and the intertwinement of property and personhood in the neoliberal imaginary. Schwab concludes with an exploration of discourses on the posthuman, using Samuel Beckett's "The Lost Ones" and its depiction of a future lived under the conditions of minimal life. Drawing on a wide range of theories, Schwab engages the productive intersections between literary studies and anthropology, underscoring the power of literature to shape culture, subjectivity, and life.

Gabriele Schwab is Chancellor's Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and a faculty associate in the Department of Anthropology. She is also a trained psychoanalyst, and is affiliated with the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Her books in English include Haunting Legacie...
Title:Imaginary Ethnographies: Literature, Culture, and SubjectivityFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:September 18, 2012Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231530803

ISBN - 13:9780231530804


Read from the Book

Read the introduction to Imaginary Ethnographies: Literature, Culture, & Subjectivity (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner):

Table of Contents


Part I: Writing
1. Another Writing Lesson: Lévi-Strauss
2. Traveling Literature
3. Restriction and Mobility: Desire
Part II: Cannibals
4. The Melancholic Cannibal: Juan José Saer's The Witness and Marianne Wiggins's John Dollar
5. War Children in a Global World: Richard Powers's Operation Wandering Soul
6. Ethnographies of the Future: Personhood
Part III: Coda
Cosmographical Meditations on the Inhuman: Samuel Beckett's The Lost Ones

Editorial Reviews

Though a series of interrelated essays, this is a powerful book presenting a unified argument...Highly recommended.