The corrido is a popular genre in nineteenth and twentieth century Mexican literature and social practice. Used in the oral and printed transmission of information, education, and, at times, subversive politics, corridos often take the form of narrative song, ballad, and/or poem and deal with oppression, history, and the day-to-day of rural life. Many academic studies of the history and form of the corrido — e.g. Vicente T. Mendoza, Américo Paredes, and Merle E. Simmons — treat it as a genealogical object. Whether that genealogy can be effectively traced — that is, whether there is a broken or unbroken step-by-step development from Spanish romance ballads to Mexican corridos through the resemblance of formal attributes — is a topic of debate, but missing from this conversation are Chicana/o appropriations and deployments of this form, whether in the Chicano nationalism of the 1960s and 70s, or the postmodern and post-nationalist chicanisma/o of the 80s and 90s. A result is the impression that the corrido is, post-1930, static or, even, dead.
This week’s EMC readings include Freud’s Project for a Scientific Psychology (1895) and Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). This week we begin our shift from looking at configurations of the organism in the works of Natural History to how the organism is configured within various philosophical projects; often with the purpose of onto-epistemological modeling. Along with Freud, we will also be looking at the works of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze.
Part of my reason for including Freud among these thinkers was his use of “the organism” as a model for understanding the ego’s relation to the external (both as world and as stimuli) as well internal (where the stimuli is a frenetic, unmediated degree of intensity which is nonetheless more “commensurate with the system’s method of working than the stimuli which stream in from the external world” (28)). In fact, in the opening pages of BPP, he cites the 1873 work of G.T. Feschner, Einige Ideen zur Schöpfungs und Entwickelungsgeschichte der Organismen (something like Some Ideas on the Creation and Evolution of Organisms).
This year, the EcoMaterialisms Collective is working through a three-part nexus: histories and theories of the organism in the fall, of ecologies in the winter, and of cosmologies in the spring. Every now and then I’ll post my reflections to the week’s readings along with what those readings were:
- Pierre Louis Maupertuis (1698-1759): The Earthly Venus
- Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788): Natural History, General and Particular
- Ch. 2. Of Reproduction in General.
- Ch. 4. Of the Generation of Animals.
- Ch. 9. Varieties in the Generation of Animals.
- Ch. 10. Of the Formation of the Foetus.
- Ch. 11. Of the Expansion, Growth, and Delivery of the Foetus.
- Michael Hoffheimer: “Maupertuis and the Eighteenth-Century Critique of Pre-Existence” in Journal of the History of Biology 15(1): 119-144 (1982).
- Paul Farber: “Buffon and the Concept of Species” in Journal of the History of Biology 5.2 (1972): 259-284.
Also discussed: Foucault’s The Order of Things and Hans Jonas’ The Phenomenon of Life.