Beyond Aesthetics : Art and the Technologies of Enchantment
About the book
The anthropology of art is currently at a crossroads. Although well versed in the meaning of art in small-scale tribal societies, anthropologists are still wrestling with the question of how to interpret art in a complex, post-colonial environment. Alfred Gell recently confronted this problem in his posthumous book Art and Agency. The central thesis of his study was that art objects could be seen, not as bearers of meaning or aesthetic value, but as forms mediating social action. At a stroke, Gell provocatively dismissed many longstanding but tired questions of definition and issues of aesthetic value. His book proposed a novel perspective on the roles of art in political practice and made fresh links between analyses of style, tradition and society. Offering a new overview of the anthropology of art, this book begins where Gell left off. Presenting wide-ranging critiques of the limits of aesthetic interpretation, the workings of objects in practice, the relations between meaning and efficacy and the politics of postcolonial art, its distinguished contributors both elaborate on and dissent from the controversies of Gells important text. Subjects covered include music and the internet as well as ethnographic traditions and contemporary indigenous art. Geographically its case studies range from India to Oceania to North America and Europe.
Nicholas Thomas Biography
Nicholas Jeremy Thomas (born 1960) is an Australian-born anthropologist, Professor of Historical Anthropology, and Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge since 2006, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2007.
CareerThomas was born in Australia in 1960.In 1984 he travelled to the Pacific Islands to research his PhD thesis on the Marquesas Islands. He has worked in Fiji and New Zealand, various archives and museums in Europe, North America, and in the Pacific region.He was elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1997, and around that time was also the inaugural Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research (CCR) at the Australian National University.Thomas was elected to the British Academy in 2005, and became a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2007.He participated in a workshop at the British Museum from November 2016 to examine the provenance of the Gweagal Shield, the shield originating from the Aboriginal Australian Gweagal people of the Botany Bay area, believed to have been taken in April 1770 by Captain Cook's expedition. The workshop concluded that it was not that specific shield, and Thomas' paper on it was published whose paper was included in Australian Historical Studies along with another report from the workshop.
Current positionsAs of 2020 he is Professor of Historical Anthropology and Director at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Conseil d’orientation scientifique of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris as well as the International Advisory Board of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.
Awards and honoursHe was awarded the 2010 Wolfson History Prize for his book Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire.
Selected publicationsIslanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire (2012) ISBN 978-0300180565 Rauru: Tene Waitere, Maori Carving, Colonial History (2008), with Mark Adams Hiapo: Past and present in Niuean barkcloth (2005), with John Pule, ISBN 1 877372 00 5 Discoveries: the Voyages of Captain James Cook (2003) Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture (1999) Oceanic Art (World of Art) (1995), ISBN 978-0500202814 Entangled Objects (1991)
References... Read full biography
|Authors:||Nicholas Thomas Christopher Pinney|
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis Ltd|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Illustrations:||1, black & white illustrations|
|Publication date:||Nov. 1, 2001|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||New York, United Kingdom|