Billiken Bookmarks: Summer Reading Picks From SLU Authors
Looking for that next great read? In this mini-series, some of Saint Louis University’s
published authors share their recommendations for memorable summer reading with their
fellow staff, faculty and students.
In this Bookmark, SLU-Madrid's Carlos A. Segovia, Ph.D., shares a recommendation for an alternative to beach reading that will challenge
Written in a reader-friendly first-person biographical style, the book elaborates
on (I) the key con-cepts of Yanomami ontology and experience, (II) the negative impact
of the modern project on non-modern ways of being, knowing, and doing (both “human”
and “non-human,” to use our own ethnocentric categories), and (III) the cosmopolitical
crisis in which, as a result, we are all trapped today. The book also includes several
helpful appendixes and a carefully-prepared critical apparatus destined to the more-scholarly
One of the last spokesmen of one of so many societies on the path to extinction due
to modernity’s expansion – as [Claude] Lévi-Strauss put it – delivers here more than
600 pages of words of wisdom that underscore how those whom we have dominated view
us, moderns – a wisdom whose words, para-doxically, may be also crucial to our own
survival. In short, a must for anyone aware of leaving a disquieting end of times
which disallows any illusory claim about an alleged end of history.
The living first-hand testimony it displays throughout its pages. Its richness. Its
lucidity. And, therefore, its uniqueness.
This book is an invitation to rethink the present of the earth and our future on it
(assuming the latter is still possible!) from an uncommon yet fascinating angle: that
of the (heretofore voiceless) others or “subalterns” – to use Gayatri Spivak’s famous
term – whose existence, repeatedly menaced by ours, challenges our understanding of
what is real and what are humans capable of.
My teaching and research aims at establishing the conditions of possibility of this
and other related types of critical rethinking, focusing as it does on the conceptualisation
of hybridity and ambiguity in religious origins as a means to counter present-day
ethnocentrism and xenophobia and the revision of conceptual production in the social
sciences and the humanities and its potential delinking from the hegemonic power/knowledge
regimes of global neoliberalism.
Carlos Segovia, Ph.D., is a philosopher working on the history and the anthropology
of religion at the crossroads of postcolonial studies, author of more than 100 publications
on these and other related matters, and associate professor of religious studies in
the Humanities Division of SLU-Madrid.
His latest book (in Spanish) is a philosophy essay titled La inmanencia y lo sagrado [Immanence and the Sacred]. Among his forthcoming books and articles in English are: The Quranic Jesus: A New Interpretation, Remapping Emergent Islam: Texts, Social Contexts, and Ideological Trajectories, “The Misadventures of an Apple: Science, Religion, Economy, War, Ecology, and Ethnocentrism
in Apocalyptic Times,” and “Social Theory, Conceptual Imagination, and the Study of
Stateless Societies: From Lévi-Strauss to Pierre Clastres.”
'Billiken Bookmarks' is a mini-feature series that will appear with new reading recommendations
from Saint Louis University authors throughout the summer and occasionally throughout
the academic year.
Are you a passionate reader, eager to share your top summer reading pick with the
SLU community? Share your recommendation with Newslink by July 20 for a chance to win a prize selected with the avid bookworm in mind.