GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

April 29, 2007

What is originary?

Filed under: GA — Q @ 8:02 pm

I would like to try to clarify what is originary and what is not.

In one sense, all of culture is originary, in the sense that all of culture can be traced back to the originary scene. But that’s like the night in which all cows are black; the definition gives up what makes the word meaningful and useful. The originary is actually present at the originary scene, and includes the sacred, the sign, the aesthetic, and so on. Narrative is originary (at least implicitly), but literature, it seems to me, is not, since it evolved later. There have been many cultures without literature. (Myth, of course, is not literature.) By the same token, sacrifice is originary, but tragedy, as a form of literature, is not. The originary includes the fundamental anthropological categories, the cultural universals. What is not universal to all cultures everywhere cannot be originary.

April 15, 2007

Filed under: GA — ericgans @ 8:19 pm

Generative Anthropology Thinking Event

Vancouver, British Columbia

26-29 July 2007

News Update as of 15 April 2007

Those of us involved in making GATE 2007 happen are glad to announce that all plans, signs and suggestions are pointing toward what we expect to be an enjoyable, stimulating conference. Meeting spaces on the UBC campus have been booked, institutional support has been secured, ideas are already being exchanged. Here is a current list of participants and topics.

Eric Gans (UCLA) Featured Guest; Respondent at Roundtable Question-and-Answer Sessions
Douglas Collins (University of Washington) “From Isostasy to Isosmosis: GA and the Mystery of Israel”
Ian Dennis (University of Ottawa) “GA and the History of Desire”
Peter Goldman (Westminster College) “James Joyce and the Problem of the Artist”
Chris Jones (Simon Fraser University) “GA and Original Sin”
Adam Katz (Quinnipiac College) “The Esthetic, the Sacred, and Originary Modernity”
Amir Khan (B.A., University of British Columbia) “GA and Stanley Cavell”
Peter Koper (Central Michigan University) “GA and Classical Rhetoric”
Christopher Morrissey (Simon Fraser University) “GA and Heidegger’s Event (Vom Ereignis)”
Greg Nixon (University of Northern British Columbia) “GA and Mircea Eliade”
Matthew Schneider (Chapman University) “GA and Kierkegaard”
Richard Van Oort (University of Victoria) “Imitation and Human Ontogeny”
Eugene Webb (University of Washington) “Stepping Back: Religious Faith and the Differentiation of Consciousness”
Several other individuals are planning to attend without presenting papers; other expressions of tentative interest are being floated to the organizers. We are not closed. There is limited space remaining on the agenda for more people who would like to join us and present papers. (We’d like to hear from additional presenters sooner rather than later.) There is also lodging-seating-discussion space, for people who would like to attend the conference without presenting research. The conference promises a unique social and intellectual experience: intimate but rigorous, intensely productive but amiably relaxed. Please consider joining us if you are free in late July! Pass the news of GATE along to colleagues in your institutions, to possibly-interested graduate students, and to any thinking people you know who might be interested in pursuing fundamental reflection on the human with us. For details, questions, a copy of the Call for Papers or information about travel and lodgings, contact the Chief Organizer Andrew Bartlett at

GATE is endorsed by the Office of the Dean of Humanities at Kwantlen University College, the Office of Research and Scholarship at Kwantlen University College, and the Office of the Provost and Vice President, Academic, at Kwantlen University College.

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