In 2017, Professor of Social Anthropology, João Pina-Cabral, published a book called World: An Anthropological Examination (HAU Books: University of Chicago Press). The book explores the conditions of possibility of the ethnographic gesture and how these shed light on the relationship between humans and the world in which they find themselves. The book proposes a new approach to personhood that integrates the interdisciplinary insights brought about by a dialogue between anthropology and studies of cognition, science and phenomenology.
In July, it will be published in an Italian translation as part of a new editorial series about ‘Anthropology & Philosophy’ with Quodlibet Publishing House of Macerata and Rome.
What do we mean when we refer to world? How does the world relate to the human person? Are the two interdependent and, if so, in what way? What does world mean for an ethnographer or an anthropologist? Much has been said of worlds and worldviews, but do we really know what we mean by these words? Asking these questions and many more, this book explores the conditions of possibility of the ethnographic gesture, and how these shed light on the relationship between humans and the world in the midst of which they find themselves.
As Pina-Cabral shows, recent decades have seen important shifts in the way we relate human thought to human embodiment—the relation between how we think and what we are. The book proposes a novel approach to the human condition: an anthropological outlook that is centered around the notions of personhood and sociality. Through a rich confrontation with ethnographic and historical material, this work contributes to the ongoing task of overcoming the theoretical constraints that have hindered anthropological thinking over the past century.