Danilyn Rutherford: Structuralism and Materialism

source: WGSS OSU  2014年12月16日
The Ohio State University, Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies presents:
Professor Danilyn Rutherford, Department of Anthropology, University of California-Santa Cruz
Structuralism and Materialism
How does structuralism matter? How does it still matter at this centenary, well past its heyday in anthropology and the other so-called “sciences of man?” In this talk, I go out on a limb and offer a forceful and somewhat perverse response to this question. Certain premises associated with structuralism are at the heart of some of the most interesting new work in anthropology and related fields. I take as my starting point Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Elementary Structures of Kinship (1969) with a focus on moments where Lévi-Strauss finds himself compelled to tell us how kinship begins. I compare how Lévi-Strauss and more recent writers on kinship, sociality, and normativity treat what I call the matter of residence, the matter of relation, and the matter of difference. One part memoir, one part self-interested map of the lay of the land, my talk ends with some autoethnographic reflections on how the study of disability can contribute to debates over the nature of sign use and sociality. “There is nothing outside of language.” Structuralism might want to tell itself this, but it can’t avoid admitting awkward intruders of the sort I consider. These awkward intruders can lead us to a way of thinking about reality as both material and relational – material because relational through and through.

Professor Danilyn Rutherford (Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz) is a past president of the Society for Cultural Anthropology and former fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. She is the author of Laughing at Leviathan: Sovereignty and Audience in West Papua (U Chicago Press) and Raiding the Land of Foreigners: The Limits of the Nation on the Indonesian Frontier (Princeton UP). Her articles have appeared in Cultural Anthropology, Public Culture, American Ethnologist, and Comparative Studies in Society and History.

Sponsored by Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Co-sponsored with Anthropology, Comparative Studies, and Linguistics

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