AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details


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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: RETERRITORIALIZING AND DETERRITORIALIZING DEATH IN SOUTH AFRICA: MYTH, HERITAGE, AND THE BECOMING MINOR OF NON-IDENTITY
Author: ROSALIND MORRIS (Columbia University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 10:45 AM
Co-Author(s): ROSALIND MORRIS (Columbia University) 
Abstract: Recent work on ‘necropolitics’ in African post-colonial contexts shares Deleuze’s and Guattari’s claim that capitalism is dominated by the “death instinct.” For Mbembe, Africa is dominated not by biopolitics but by power derived from the capacity to inflict death. For Deleuze and Guattari, capitalism rests on the deterritorialization or decoding of flows, and the internalization of capitalism’s limit (in ghettos or enclaves of indigenous or migrant laboring populations). In this context, people “do not desire death, but what is desired is … already dead: images” (337). Theirs is a diagnosis of the media-saturated world. But what, for Mbembe, is the specific predicament of the colonized is, for Deleuze and Guattari, generalized throughout capitalism. They thus differ in their sense of possible escapes. In this paper, I consider the stakes in these different positions, considering South African cultural production at a time when, many believe, new forms of criminality and new forms of aesthetic self-expression are emerging in thrall to death. I consider these works in relation to: 1) a revalorization of indigenous narrative, particularly San myth, in which human death itself is figured as the origin of identity or territorialization; 2) a transformation of myth into the mythic via the mass media (Barthes), such that single images bear ideological meanings beyond narrative; 3) a heritage industry that posits the San, and the first narration of human death, as the origin of human life; and 4) contemporary media and art work (including gallery-based and more quotidian forms), that attempts to assert a minor relation to the heritage industry’s dependence upon such territorializations.

Program Number: 3-0385
Session Title: DELEUZE AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): BHRIGUPATI SINGH (Harvar