The Fernando Coronil Reader

The Struggle for Life Is the Matter

Book Pages: 472 Illustrations: 15 illustrations Published: May 2019

Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

In The Fernando Coronil Reader Venezuelan anthropologist Fernando Coronil challenges us to rethink our approaches to key contemporary epistemological, political, and ethical questions. Consisting of work written between 1991 and 2011, this posthumously published collection includes Coronil's landmark essays “Beyond Occidentalism” and “The Future in Question” as well as two chapters from his unfinished book manuscript, "Crude Matters." Taken together, the essays highlight his deep concern with the Global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire, and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach. Presenting a cross section of Coronil's oeuvre, this volume cements his legacy as one of the most innovative critical social thinkers of his generation.


“I highly recommend this Reader, and hope that it can contribute to make the work of Fernando Coronil even better known and appreciated among scholars, hopefully beyond the circles of metropolitan academia too. And I am sure that a translation into Spanish would be very well received among readers in Latin American and Caribbean countries.”

— Luis Angosto-Ferrández, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research

“Fernando Coronil was, without exaggeration, one of the most thoughtful and accomplished anthropologists of his generation, and his scholarly production over more than three decades stands as an exemplar of academic work at its best. A fitting tribute to Coronil's life as an intellectual deeply engaged in the most significant political issues of his age, this volume preserves the essence of his thought while convincingly demonstrating its continued relevance. This superb book holds a treasure trove of conceptual riches.” — Arturo Escobar, author of Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds

"Fernando Coronil was an intellectual of rare brilliance and originality. From the penetratingly acute analyses of Venezuela and broader Latin American writings to the cross-disciplinary critiques and wide-ranging commentaries on theory, these essays are a beacon of encouragement for the ambitiously creative and politically infused scholarly life. Subtle, challenging, generous, and complex, they boldly engage the politics of knowledge of our times." — Geoff Eley, author of Nazism as Fascism: Violence, Ideology, and the Ground of Consent in Germany, 1930–1945


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Fernando Coronil (1944–2011) was Professor of Anthropology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela, and coeditor of States of Violence and Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Discipline.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: Transcultural Paths and Utopian Imaginings / Mariana Coronil, Laurent DuBois, Julie Skurski, and Gary Wilder  1
Part I. Labyrinths of Critique: The Promise of Anthrohistory
Introduction / David Pedersen  47
1. Pieces for Anthrohistory: A Puzzle to be Assembled Together  53
2. Transculturation and the Politics of Theory: Countering the Center, Cuban Counterpoint  69
3. Foreword to Close Encounters of Empire  118
4. Perspectives on Tierney's Darkness in El Dorado  123
5. The Future in Question: History and Utopia in Latin America (1989–2010)  128
Part II. Geohistorical States: Latin American Counterpoint
Introduction / Edward Murphy  165
6. Dismembering and Remembering the Nation: The Semantics of Political Violence in Venezuela  171
7. Transitions to Transitions: Democracy and Nation in Latin America  231
8. Venezuela's Wounded Bodies: Nation and Imagination during the 2002 Coup  250
9. Oilpacity: Secrets of History in the Coup against Hugo Chávez  262
10. Crude Matters: Seizing the Venezuelan Petro-state in Times of Chávez  266
Part III. Beyond Occidentalism, Beyond Empire
Introduction / Paul Eiss  309
11. Occidentalism  315
12. Beyond Occidentalism: Toward Nonimperial Geohistorical Categories  323
13. Listening to the Subaltern: The Poetics of Neocolonial States  368
14. Smelling Like a Market  385
15. Latin American Postcolonial Studies and Global Decolonization  399
16. After Empire: Reflections on Imperialism from the Américas  425
Credits  457
Index  459
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0396-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0367-0
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