2005_11_22rev - Culture Embodiment and the Senses Tuesday...

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Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses Tuesday, 22 November 2005 Reading Paul Stoller, Sensuous Scholarship , prologue, parts one and two, pp. ix-73. Student presentation Stoller’s focus: Africa, ethnographic film, anthropology of religion, culture of cities. In this book, Stoller ties to focus on his theory of sensuous scholarship and incorporates examples from Songhay people to support his theory. Prologue – anthropologists need to use sensuous scholarship to understand cultures W Sufi story in which there is a fusing of the heart and the head contrary to Western tradition (recall Decartes and how he said you can’t really trust your senses) W also gives theories he’s trying to refute (rationalism) W quotes Merleau-Ponty saying that rationalism is flawed because knowledge can also be obtained from unobservable phenomenon – reason has come to be confused with the knowledge of conditions and causes W Stolelr’s goal: challenge social theorists and cultural critics who followed in the rationalist tradition and who treat the body as a text instead of an organic whole In the attempt to describe the body’s role in social thought, body has been treated as text that can be read and organized. Stoller proposes the use of sensuous scholarship which links analytical and sensible approaches – only possible with the rejection of mind/body duality and acceptance of interconnectedness. Songhay people use the senses to fuse body and being. Basic beliefs: stomach as basis of personality and agency, social relations in terms of eating. Professor’s commentary: In Haiti, something similar in that the term for eating is also used to described feeling fatigued (as if something ate energy or soul). Also used in terms of using up resources – exploitation by the rich who “eat too much” of economic resources. First few chapters, Stoller mixes theory with his Songhay experiences.
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2.158 taught by Professor Ericajames during the Spring '03 term at MIT.

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2005_11_22rev - Culture Embodiment and the Senses Tuesday...

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