European Goo

European goo gets a good going over, intellectually, in this marginal paper:

Black Goo: Forceful Encounters with Matter in Europe’s Muddy Margins,” Stuart McLean [pictured here], Cultural Anthropology, vol. 26, no. 4, 2011, pp. 589–619. The author, at the University of Minnesota, explains;

“This essay undertakes an evocative conjuration of alternative visions of materialism through consideration of intermediary states of matter. Specifically, it focuses on gelid, semi-liquid, semi-solid environments such as bogs, swamps and marshes lying on the fringes of human settlement and against which the claims of reason and historical progress have often been staked. The paper juxtaposes ethnographic and historical examples from Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia and Siberia with reflections on (amongst others) Bachofen, Bataille and Hegel. In doing so it seeks both to explore the limits of certain canonical formulations of historicity and historical knowledge and to ask what new cultural and political imaginaries and what possible futures might become thinkable through a more sustained engagement with the recalcitrant materiality of Europe’s muddy margins.”

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