INSTITUTO DE ANTROPOLOGIA DE CORDOBA
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Anthropomorphic pots and ontological uncertainty in first millennium AD northwest Argentina
ALBERTI, BENJAMIN; LAGUENS, ANDRES
Workshop; Department of Anthropology Meeting,; 2013
Department of Anthropology, University of Harvard
The central claim of this paper is that anthropomorphism and biomorphism in pottery forms from Andean northwest Argentina were a response to the fear and uncertainty engendered by relations of exchange established between pots, people, and others. The foundational assumption is that pots are fully capable of being subjects. Here we are dealing specifically with anthropomorphic or biomorphic pots--pots that reveal to us a corporeal form. The question what anthropomorphism means in this context turns into the question, why present the body at all? The trajectory of the argument is that 1. subjectivity is not attributed to pots by external forces--such as humans--but is inherent to the local condition of being a pot 2. and that is because subjectivity is a pre-condition for relations of exchange, or knowing 3. trepidation in the face of ambiguous and potentially dangerous relations bred a kind of reticence in the way pots were treated and how bodies were presented.In fact, one conclusion is that the presence of a recognizable human or animal-like body is not a condition for subjectivity at all. Ceramic bodies do not produce ceramic subjects. Rather, partial or incomplete ceramic bodies enabled relations of particular kinds on the basis of a subjectivity already given.