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American monsters
John Sharples

physical appearance and mental ability, suggesting the stigma of chess ability as an intellectual disfigurement, while retaining a degree of cultural power.3 Fischer appeared in a similarly exaggerated form with a similar aura surrounding him even as a child. Representations often raised hints of his supernatural potential, his going-beyond limited drudgery, but such a characterisation was merely one of many shapes Fischer took.4 This chapter prioritises Fischer’s image as a cultural chess-player, framing its subject as, first, a literary figure, experienced primarily

in A cultural history of chess-players
Dimitris Dalakoglou

weeks until it was picked up for scrap metal by a local business owned by a Roma family. Another common motif in these stories is that of car accidents being caused by supernatural beings. Some stories describe the appearance of MUP_Dalakoglou_Printer.indd 84 17/01/2017 15:46 Fear of the road and the accident of postsocialism 85 a ­Christian Orthodox priest or a Muslim dervish in the middle of the road, causing an accident, or conversely saving the life of the people involved. A Bektashi taxi driver, who used to keep excerpts of the Holy Koran hanging from the

in The road
The Manchester School, colonial and postcolonial transformations
Author: Richard Werbner

Anthropology after Gluckman places the intimate circle around Max Gluckman, his Manchester School, in the vanguard of modern social anthropology. The book discloses the School’s intense, argument-rich collaborations, developing beyond an original focus in south and central Africa. Where outsiders have seen dominating leadership by Gluckman, a common stock of problems, and much about conflict, Richard Werbner highlights how insiders were drawn to explore many new frontiers in fieldwork and in-depth, reflexive ethnography, because they themselves, in class and gender, ethnicity and national origins, were remarkably inclusive. Characteristically different anthropologists, their careers met the challenges of being a public intellectual, an international celebrity, an institutional good citizen, a social and political activist, an advocate of legal justice. Their living legacies are shown, for the first time, through interlinked social biography and intellectual history to reach broadly across politics, law, ritual, semiotics, development studies, comparative urbanism, social network analysis and mathematical sociology. Innovation – in research methods and techniques, in documenting people’s changing praxis and social relations, in comparative analysis and a destabilizing strategy of re-analysis within ethnography – became the School’s hallmark. Much of this exploration confronted troubling times in Africa, colonial and postcolonial, which put the anthropologists and their anthropological knowledge at risk. The resurgence of debate about decolonization makes the accounts of fierce, End of Empire argument and recent postcolonial anthropology all the more topical. The lessons, even in activism, for social scientists, teachers as well as graduate and undergraduate students are compelling for our own troubled times.

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Kasparov and the machines
John Sharples

Automaton Chess-Player1 And, whoa! <Garry Kasparov exits room> Commentary for Garry Kasparov vs. Deep Blue, 19972 Closer The cultural power of chess-playing machines was confirmed or denied by a variety of methods under the banner of resistance. Such readings denied any potential for the machine to escape the boundaries of secular magic. That is, they failed to acknowledge the way chess-playing machines function as examples of supernatural magic within culture, taking on aspects of science-fictional discourse and possessing an uncanny impact due to the mimetic qualities

in A cultural history of chess-players
Mikael Klintman

My point isn’t to depict this teleological thinking as infantile just because the priest shared it with preschool children. Instead, it’s the profoundly human propensity of this thinking I’m getting at. If we turn to supernatural thinking, Darwin himself realised that a belief in a spiritual force is a universal, human phenomenon. This is how he formulated it: a belief in all-pervading spiritual entities seems to be universal; and apparently follows from a considerable advance in man’s reason, and from a still greater advance in his

in Knowledge resistance
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The chess-player and the literary detective
John Sharples

supernatural patience, and inevitable destined to terminate their mortal span in the peaceful seclusion of a lunatic asylum.2 Despite this, alternative readings of the chess-player still persisted. There was no monolithic idea of the figure. To find contestations and parallel readings to the respectable and rational image, one can explore other types of literature and cultural images of other social types. With this aim in mind, this chapter considers the chess-player from a different perspective, embracing fictive and imagined properties, namely in terms of a relationship

in A cultural history of chess-players
Marcel Stoetzle

friendliness Comte writes about these. He writes that in the ‘theological or fictional state’, ‘supernatural ideas served to link the small number of isolated ideas which then constituted science’: ‘observed facts are explained in the light of invented facts’. In other words, Comte regards what anthropology would later discuss as mythology as an early form of science, and indeed argues that this state is ‘necessarily that of any science at its cradle. However imperfect it may be, it is at that time the only way of connecting facts’, that is, the only way of reasoning. By

in Beginning classical social theory
Locating monstrosity in representations of the Automaton Chess-Player
John Sharples

­supernatural), does not. ‘Statues are dead people cast in bronze’, remarked Katherine Verdery, immediately suggesting themes of violence, material presence, and representational issues.1 For Michel Serres, the statue similarly represents death and violence. Both alarming impressions suggest the fantasy of the animated image which shares the ‘strange complicities of the living body and the dead monument’.2 Both undermine the statue’s status as a passive object, mundane in its corporeal properties and relationship with space, instead highlighting aspects which may elude

in A cultural history of chess-players
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Exploding heads and the death of the chess-player
John Sharples

include the application of reason and the use of technology, broadly defined.9 While accounts of Philidor and Fischer frequently lapsed into a language more associated with supernatural or transcendent ability, appearing unbeatable, the superior chess-player’s abilities and effects have also been viewed in terms of transhuman power. Humanistic projects, such as rational recreation, are not so distinct from outwardly transhuman efforts, particularly when each views the chess game itself as technology, and its teaching as an effort to shape human nature, cognitive

in A cultural history of chess-players
Jonathan Benthall

tradition was Marx’s atheistic concept of humanity’s ‘species being’. Both Marx and Gandhi were inheritors of the German and English Romantic movement, in particular its ‘natural supernaturalism’, a term Bilgrami borrows from the literary critic M. H. Abrams. Bilgrami conducts his discussion at an abstract and speculative level, though some practical conclusions emerge in his praise

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times