Duration: 45 minutes
First broadcast: Thursday 06 February 2014
Tonight on Free Thinking, Philip Dodd is in extended conversation with the novelist, screenwriter and dramatist Hanif Kureishi. Since his early success in the 1980s with My Beautiful Laundrette and The Buddha of Suburbia, Kureishi has been the author of many novels and a series of films with the director Roger Michell. His latest novel, The Last Word, the story of an ageing Indian writer and his young biographer, returns to themes which have interested Kureishi since the start of his career - race, sex and desire, class and humour. He discusses with Philip why immigrants are seen as an eternal spectre Britain, changing views of sexuality and the shadow of mortality.
When you open Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology beyond the Human (University of California Press, 2013), you are entering a forest of dreams: the dreams of dogs and men, dreams about policemen and peccaries, dreams prophetic and dreams instrumental. In this brilliant new ethnography of a village in Ecuador’s Upper Amazon, those dreams are woven into the lives and deaths of a bookful of selves (both human and non-human) to help readers reconsider what it means to be a thinking, living being and why it matters to anthropology, science studies, and beyond. In creating this “anthropology beyond the human,” Kohn calls into question our tendency to conflate representation with language, rethinking the relationship between human language and other forms of representation that humans share with other beings. Here, human lives are both emergent from and contiguous with a wider semiotic community of were-jaguars and sphinxes, barking dogs and falling pigs, men and women alive and dead, walking stick insects and tanagers, spirit masters and rubber trees.