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ISBN: PB: 9780226698670

ISBN: HB: 9780226684581

University of Chicago Press

May 2020

192 pp.

21.5x13.9 cm

5 halftones



Mastery of Non-Mastery in the Age of Meltdown

For centuries, humans have excelled at mimicking nature in order to exploit it. Now, with the existential threat of global climate change on the horizon, the ever-provocative Michael Taussig asks what function a newly invigorated mimetic faculty might exert along with such change. "Mastery of Non-Mastery in the Age of Meltdown" is not solely a reflection on our condition but also a theoretical effort to reckon with the impulses that have fed our relentless ambition for dominance over nature.   Taussig seeks to move us away from the manipulation of nature and reorient us to different metaphors and sources of inspiration to develop a new ethical stance toward the world. His ultimate goal is to undo his readers' sense of control and engender what he calls "mastery of non-mastery". This unique book developed out of Taussig's work with peasant agriculture and his artistic practice, which brings performance art together with aspects of ritual. Through immersive meditations on Walter Benjamin, D. H. Lawrence, Emerson, Bataille, and Proust, Taussig grapples with the possibility of collapse and with the responsibility we bear for it.

About the Author

Michael Taussig is the Class of 1993 Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of many books, most recently "Beauty and the Beast" and "I Swear I Saw This", both also published by the University of Chicago Press.