My Cocaine Museum by Michael Taussig

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Synopsis

In this book, a make-believe cocaine museum becomes a vantage point from which to assess the lives of Afro-Colombian gold miners drawn into the dangerous world of cocaine production in the rain forest of Colombia's Pacific Coast. Although modeled on the famous Gold Museum in Colombia's central bank, the Banco de la República, Taussig's museum is also a parody aimed at the museum's failure to acknowledge the African slaves who mined the country's wealth for almost four hundred years.

Combining natural history with political history in a filmic, montage style, Taussig deploys the show-and-tell modality of a museum to engage with the inner life of heat, rain, stone, and swamp, no less than with the life of gold and cocaine.

This effort to find a poetry of words becoming things is brought to a head by the explosive qualities of those sublime fetishes of evil beauty, gold and cocaine. At its core, Taussig's museum is about the lure of forbidden things, charged substances that transgress moral codes, the distinctions we use to make sense of the world, and above all the conventional way we write stories.
 

About Michael Taussig

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Michael Taussig is professor of anthropology at Columbia University and the author of "Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man" and "My Cocaine Museum," also published by the University of Chicago Press.
 
Published December 19, 2009 by University of Chicago Press. 336 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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children who mine gold by hand and can go years without finding any--and then spiral out into the entwined histories of slavery, drugs and colonialism, as well as into philosophical speculations.""Transgressive substances,"" Taussig writes,""make you want to reach out for a new language of nature...

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