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DAVID E. JOHNSON Descartes's Corps The question of experience can be approached nowadays only with an acknowledgement that it is no longer accessible to us. Giorgio Agamben, Infancy and History But we are all human, I thought, wondering what I meant. Ralph Ellison, invisible Man Is not the dream state, whether a man is asleep or awake, just this—the mistaking resemblance for identity? Plato, Republic, V The body haunts us. It molests us wherever we are, whether we imagine ourselves beyond it, transcendental and without place, or whether we dismiss the tuse of such displacement and locate ourselves as positioned subjects. It will not matter. The body remains, disturbing us however we conceive the self. This is the case at both ends of modernity : at the beginning, in the wtiting of those two who will have turned away from others and toward themselves in a gesture toward knowledge of self that would be sufficient to ground a world, in Montaigne and Descartes;1 and at modernity's end, in the anthropological writing of one who turns toward others to ground knowledge of himself, in Renato Rosaldo.: The body troubles these apparently vety different projects and necessarily so, for the body will have been the contact zone for any and all relations among others, even among ourselves. Between me and myself the body remains, lies in state, grounding the possibility of anthropos and of anthropology. "Mais enfin me voici . . ." (Descartes, Méditations 91; Works 157); "Me voici devenu grammairien . . ." (Montaigne Essais l.xlviii.400; Essays 209):' these phrases instance early modern articulations of the I that, in Arizona Quarterly Volume S7, Number i, Spring 2001 Copyright © 2001 by Arizona Board ot Regents ISSN 0004- 1 610 114David E. Johnson theit presentation of the 1—"Finally here I am"—, unsettle it, remark its transience, even as they foreground its location, its spatialLation and temporalization, its substantialization ("Here I am turned grammarian "). The I is located, ex-posed; it is modified. So, too, it is in Rosaldo , who, according to Ruth Behat, inaugutated "the Chicano critique that brought home the brutal role of subjectivity in cultural interpretation . . . written by Anglo anthropologists" (162). In Rosaldo the I is temporally positioned: ". . . and now I am" (7). The temporal modifier distances his version of anthropology from an earlier, now outdated , mode: "This book [Culture and Truth] argues that a sea change in cultural studies has eroded once-dominant conceptions of truth and objectivity. The truth of objectivism—absolute, universal, and timeless —has lost its monopoly status" (21). The introduction of time into late twentieth-century social analysis effectively drags along with it notions of particularity and contigency heretofore bracketed in anthropological discourse. In Culture and Truth he "urges that social analysis recognize how much of life happens in ways that one neither plans nor expects" (91). Quoting Ann Landers favorably, Rosaldo remarks that "time is your best ally" and points out that "when in doubt, people find out about their worlds by living with ambiguity, uncertainty, or simply lack of knowledge until the day, if and when it arrives, that their life experiences clarify matters" (92). No "here" can help us, no spatial modification ; only "now," a temporal index, can save us from the formalist pitfalls of a timeless objectivism. Culture and Truth is always "now," up to date: first published in 1989, it was revised—repositioned—in 1993, appearing in its second edition with a new introduction that comes before the preface and the introduction to the first edition.4 Though Rosaldo notes in the preface that his "present understanding of the remaking ot social analysis was catalyzed by the 'Western Culture Controversy' at Stanford Univetsity during 1986-88" (xxii), the 1993 introduction considers the anxieties that have manifested themselves since 1988. In other words, the 1993 introduction is all about anthropology and change: the changes required , the changes made, and how to live with change. Rosaldo writes that "A new edition of Cuiture and Truth prov[i]des me with a dual opportunity, initially to reflect on recent developments in higher education and then to address the role of anthropologists in these changes" (ix). He addresses the role of anthropologists with a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9595
Print ISSN
0004-1610
Pages
pp. 113-152
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-02
Open Access
No
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