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Reading group


In the reading group, we will be reading and discussing a wide array of texts related to digressions, from narrative theory to cognitive studies, as well as relevant anthropological studies. We will also look at fictional works that make use of digression. ​

Digression in narrative and literature

Atkin, R. (2011). Textual wanderings : the theory and practice of narrative digression. London: Legenda.

Engell, J. (1981). The Creative Imagination: From Enlightenment to Romanticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Fairlie, A. (1984). Imagination and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Grohmann, A., (Ed.) (2010). Digressions in European Literature from Cervantes to Sebald. Caragh Wells, Palgrave Macmillan.

Nussbaum, M. (1997). Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life. New York: 

Sabry, R. (1992). Stratégies discursives: digression, transition, suspens. Paris: Editions de l'Ecole des   Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. 

Santovetti, O. (2007). Digression : a narrative strategy in the Italian novel. Oxford ; New York: P. Lang.

Cognition/Neurological studies

Christoff K, Irving ZC, Fox K, Spreng R, Andrews-Hanna J. (2016). Mind-wandering as spontaneous thought: a dynamic framework. National Review of Neuroscience. 2016 Nov;17(11):718-31.

Fox KC, Spreng RN, Ellamil M, Andrews-Hanna JR, Christoff K. (2015). The wandering brain: meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies of mind-wandering and related spontaneous thought processes. Neuroimage. 2015 May 1;111:611-21.

Killingsworth MA, Gilbert DT. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science. 2010 Nov 12;330(6006):932.

Konishi M, Smallwood J. (2016). Shadowing the wandering mind: how understanding the mind-wandering state can inform our appreciation of conscious experience. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Cognitive Science. 2016 Jul;7(4):233-46.

Mittner M, Hawkins GE, Boekel W, Forstmann B. (2016). A Neural Model of Mind Wandering. Trends in Cognitive Science. 2016 Aug;20(8):570-8.

Salvi C, Bowden EM. (2016). Looking for Creativity: Where Do We Look When We Look for New Ideas? Frontiers in Psychology. 2016 Feb 15;7:161.

Seli P, Risko EF, Smilek D, Schacter DL. (2016). Mind-Wandering With and Without Intention. Trends in Cognitive Science. 2016 Aug; 20(8): 605-17. 

Creativity and the human imagination

Crapanzano, V. (2004). Imaginative Horizons. An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

Engell, J. (1981). The Creative Imagination: From Enlightenment to Romanticism. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Fairlie, A. (1984). Imagination and Language. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Gaonkar, D. P. (2002). "Toward New Imaginaries: An Introduction." Public Culture 14(1): 1-19.

Greene, M. (1995). Releasing the Imagination. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Harris, M. and N. Rapport, (Eds.) (2015). Reflections on Imagination. Human Capacity and Ethnographic Method. Farnham, Ashgate.

Ingold, T. (2013). Dreaming of dragons: on the imagination of real life. Journal of the Royal 
Anthropological Institute, 2013. 19(4): p. 734-752. 

Leach, J. (2004). Modes of Creativity, in Transactions and Creations. Property Debates and the 
Stimulus of Melanesia, E. Hirsch and M. Strathern, Editors. 2004, Berghahn Books: 
New York. p. 151-175. 

McLean, S. (2007). Introduction: Why Imagination. Irish Journal of Anthropology, 2007. 10(2): 
p. 5-9. 

Nielsen, M. and M. A. Pedersen (2015). Infrastructural Imaginaries: Collapsed Futures in Mozambique and Mongolia in: M. Harris and N. Rapport, (Eds.): Reflections on Imagination. Human Capacity and Ethnographic Method. Farnham, Ashgate: pp. 237-262.

Nussbaum, M. (1997). Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life. New York, Beacon.

Preston, J. (1991). The Trickster Unmasked: Anthropology and the Imagination in: I. Brady, (Ed.): Anthropological poetics. Savage, Rowman and Littlefield: pp. 73-110.

Rapport, N. (2003). I am Dynamite. An alternative anthropology of power. London, Routledge.

Sartre, J.-P. (1963). The Psychology of Imagination. New York, Citadel Press.

Sneath, D., M. Holbraad, and M.A. Pedersen (2009). Technologies of the Imagination: An 
Introduction. Ethnos,  74(1): p. 5-30.


Kant, I. (1996). Critique of Pure Reason (with all variants from the 1781 and 1787 editions). 
Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Kneller, J. (2007). Kant and the Power of Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University 

Lacoue-Labarthe, P. and J.-L. Nancy (1988). The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism. Albany, State University of New York Press.

Sartre, J.-P. (1963). The Psychology of Imagination. New York: Citadel Press. 

Vaihinger, H. (1925). The Philosophy of ’As If’, A System of the Theoretical, Practical and Religious 
Fictions of Mankind. Translated by C.k. Ogden. New York: Harcourt, Brace & 
Company, Inc. 

Humor and play

Critchley, S. (2002). On humour. London: Routledge.

Hamayon, R., & Simon, D. (2016). Why we play : an anthropological study (Enlarged edition. ed.). Chicago: Hau Books.

Krefting, R. All joking aside : American humor and its discontents.

Marsh, M. (2015). Practically joking. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.

Sutton-Smith, B. (1997). The ambiguity of play. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Performance, ritual, mythology

Gow, P. (2001). An Amazonian Myth and its History. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Handelman, D. (1998). Models and mirrors : towards an anthropology of public events. New York: Berghahn Books.

Handelman, D., & Lindquist, G. (2005). Ritual in its own right : exploring the dynamics of transformation (Paperback ed.). New York: Berghahn Books.

Hobart, A., & Kapferer, B. (2005). Aesthetics in performance : formations of symbolic construction and experience. New York ; Oxford: Berghahn.

Kapferer, B. (2003). Beyond rationalism : rethinking magic, witchcraft and sorcery (Paperback ed.). New York: Berghahn Books.

Lévi-Strauss, C. (1983). The Way of the Mask. London, Jonothan Cape.

Schrempp, G. (1992). Magical Arrows. The Maori, the Greeks, and the Folklore of the Universe. London, The University of Wisconsin Press.

Stasch, R. (2011). Ritual and oratory revisited: The semiotics of effective action. Annual Review of Anthropology, 40, 159-174. doi:10.1146/annurev-anthro-081309-145623

Wagner, R. (1972). Habu : The innovating of meaning in Daribi religion. Chicago and London: The Univ. of Chicago Press.

Weiner, J. F. (1988). The Heart of the Pearlshell. The Mythological Dimension of Foi Sociality. Berkeley, Unversity of California Press.

Misc. anthropological theory

Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. 
Minneapolis: Minneapolis University Press. 

Lee, B. (1997). Talking heads : language, metalanguage, and the semiotics of subjectivity. Durham: Duke University Press.

Preston, J. (1991). The Trickster Unmasked: Anthropology and the Imagination, in Anthropological 
poetics, I. Brady, Editor. 1991, Rowman and Littlefield: Savage. p. 73-110. 

Stasch, R. (2009). Society of others : kinship and mourning in a West Papuan place. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Taussig, M. T. (2015). The corn wolf. Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press.

Viveiros de Castro, E., Skafish, P., & Skafish, P. (2015). Cannibal Metaphysics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Wagner, R. (1986). Symbols that stand for themselves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wagner, R. (2001). An anthropology of the subject : holographic worldview in New Guinea and its meaning and significance for the world of anthropology. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Wagner, R. (2010). Coyote anthropology. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press.


Shriver, Lionel. (2007) The Post Birthday World. Harper Collins.


Martin, Demitri. (2004) If I. BBC stand-up comedy special.

von Trier, Lars. (2013). Nymphomaniac.