Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Signs of the AmericasA Poetics of Pictography, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Edgar Garcia

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226658971

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226659169.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Death Spaces

Death Spaces

Shamanic Signifiers in Gloria Anzaldúaand William Burroughs

Chapter:
(p.159) 5 Death Spaces
Source:
Signs of the Americas
Author(s):

Edgar Garcia

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226659169.003.0006

This chapter investigates what anthropologist Michael Taussig calls “the death space of signification,” or the act of language that “challenges the unity of the symbol, the transcendent totalization binding the image to that which it represents.” Taussig refers to linguistic practices that he saw in the Colombian Amazon in the 1970s and 80s, where shamans were tasked with healing people suffering from the violence and terror of the rubber extraction business. Existentially threatened by neocolonial governance, the shamans ritualized erasure and negativization to break apart the dominant symbols of that governance, interpolating in the gaps of these signifiers new concretions of space, time, being, belonging, and, indeed, political disappearance. Pushing into that pliability, this chapter examines the lateral movement of shamanic technique across neoliberal borderlands into the writings of Gloria Anzaldúa and William Burroughs, two writers whose signal methods of cutting and canceling text were derived from encounters with folk healing. The comparison of this apparently incompatible pair further problematizes our reception of authors who bear different social locations yet encounter comparable challenges in a set of linguistic techniques. Such a reading reframes Anzaldúa’s field-defining mestiza intersectionality as a position not of identity formation but of identity deformation.

Keywords:   shamanism, Colombia, Amazon, borderlands, negativity, race, Whiteness Studies, Intersectional Studies, collage, erasure

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.