The College of Liberal Arts is hosting the Political Theory Colloquium "Primitivism and Primitive Accumulation" on Wednesday, November 20th from 1:30pm-3:00pm in the Lippincott Room of the Social Sciences Tower 1314. Dr. Ben Etherington will be speaking. The talk will be entitled "Primitivism After its Poststructural Eclipse, or Putting the 'ism' back into Primitivism."
Scattered through the mountains of ideological critiques of Western art are any number of blithe deconstructions of primitivism: 'the primitivist myth of the x', 'such primitivist fantasies reveal y'. The object of such iconoclasm is more helpfully referred to as primitive-philia, and as a result of the pious moralizing about this, the phenomenon of primitivism has fallen out of sight. It will be suggested that primitivism is not a representational practice that idealizes a primitive 'other', but is the attempt, through aesthetic practice, to come into a disappearing primitive condition.
This understanding has been arrived at by a thorough-going re-conceptualisation. Instead of approaching primitivism in the terms of a binary of 'civilized' and 'primitive', or its more recent mystification as 'the West' and its 'Others', this paper perceives it to be the groan emitted as the final non-capitalist zones were enveloped by the emergent world system. It is an aesthetic project that blooms, that is, at the point of the extinguishment of the possibility of the primitive. To place primitivism in its proper ideological context, this paper will revisit contemporaneous theories of imperialism, particulary that of Rosa Luxemburg. The task: to reconstruct primitivism's 'former future'.