Minotaure: On ethnography and animals

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The surrealist magazine Minotaure (1933-39) demonstrated a vivid interest in ethnography as it set out to explore the "human" according to an early twentieth-century ethnographic conception of universality that proposed to undercut the rule of Western culture over the definition of humanity. The surrealists, however, went even further by extending this exploration to the animal: The pages of Minotaure constantly juxtapose humans and animals and bring forth an empirical redefinition of the human through the observation of its purported other. As a result, they give shape to a nonanthropocentric ethnography that searches for the "sources" of humanity apart from familiar Western humanist presuppositions. Their endeavor raises important questions about ethnography itself as it brings us in a novel way to this fundamental question: What constitutes the human, beyond the pervasive divide between culture and nature?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalSymposium - Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • animal
  • anthropocentrism
  • ethnography
  • human figure
  • humanism
  • Minotaure
  • surrealism


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