Sunday, November 8, 2009

Part I: "Watching and Recording"

Though I am not so versed in the work of French anthropologist and writer Claude Levi-Strauss, his death last week made for an interesting tribute by Nobel writer (and modern Orientalist) J. M. G. Le Clezio, "The Savage Detective." Among a list of graces attributed to Strauss, Le Clezio comments that he was (arguably) able to walk dangerously close but avoid the trap of the colonial mindset through "his humanity and his melancholy kindness, which made him reluctant to go into the field for fear of intruding on the people he studied or finding himself disappointed by what had been lost to the evolution of modern times." In the picture above, Strauss studies closely the technique of a Brazilian capoeira dancer.

Le Clezio ends with a quote that haunts from Strauss' Tristes Tropiques: “The world began without the human race and will certainly end without it.” (Photo: Claude Levi-Strauss from the New York Times)

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