Prickly Paradigm #45
2001 and Counting: Kubrick, Nietzsche, and Anthropology
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely recognized as a cult classic. Despite mixed critical reception, the dark and difficult movie mesmerized audiences at the time of its initial screening in 1968 and went on to become one the highest grossing films of the decade.
In 2001 and Counting, renowned anthropologist Bruce Kapferer revisits 2001: A Space Odyssey,making a compelling case for its continued cultural relevance. While the film’s earliest audiences considered it to be a critical examination of European and American realities at the height of the Cold War, Kapferer shows that Kubrick’s masterwork speaks equally well to concerns of the contemporary world, including the Iraq War, the 2008 financial crisis, and the material and political effects of neoliberalism.
Kapferer explores Kubrick’s central theme—the ever-changing relationship between humanity and technology—both with regard to current events and through the lens of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the mythical concept of the eternal return. A thought-provoking exploration of the cultural power of cinema, this volume by one of anthropology’s most insightful and imaginative thinkers will appeal to anthropologists and cineastes alike.