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Imaginary Ethnographies - Literature, Culture, and Subjectivity


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Part I: Writing 1. Another Writing Lesson: Levi-Strauss 2. Traveling Literature 3. Restriction and Mobility: Desire Part II: Cannibals 4. The Melancholic Cannibal: Juan Jose 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 Notes Bibliography Index

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Gabriele Schwab has done it again. She has given us another work whose clarity of prose reflects a clarity of thought that crosses the often restrictive boundaries of disciplines. She marshals philosophy, psychoanalysis, anthropology, and politics in a reading of literature and culture that adds a distinctive Schwabian voice to critical theory. Imaginary Ethnographies consolidates her well-established reputation. -- Ngugi wa Thiong'o, author of Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing In exploring the many routes that make up the refined architecture of Schwab's new book, her readers will understand a theory and live an experience. The theory expands her definition of the literary as the psychic life of language into all transformations of knowledge to come. The experience is a destabilizing yet also humorous encounter with various figures of humanity's intimate aliens. Theory and experience, however, keep exceeding one another, and it is this dynamic decalage that gives Imaginary Ethnographies its lasting power of affecting our minds. -- Etienne Balibar, author of Politics and the Other Scene

About the Author

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 Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma and Accelerating Possessions: Global Futures of Property and Personhood (coedited with Bill Maurer).


Though a series of interrelated essays, this is a powerful book presenting a unified argument...Highly recommended. Choice Imaginary Ethnographies reads, most beautifully, like a literary-critical analogue of science fiction gesturing toward new worlds and new forms Cultural Critique

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