Mariam Motamedi Fraser explores the epistemological, experiential and political implications that follow when words are lifted out of language and discursive meaning


Mariam Motamedi Fraser, Word: Beyond Language, Beyond Image, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Words are everywhere. Ubiquitous, pervasive. Yet our relations with words are narrowly defined. How does the sound, feel, touch, taste, place, position, speed, and direction of words come to matter in their uses? Word begins from the premise that, if we consider words only in terms of language and as images, we overlook a range of bodily, sensory, affective and non-conscious relations with words. We overlook, too, their epistemological, methodological, experiential and political implications. This book seeks to redress this neglect by exploring words themselves in histories of language and contemporary theory, in print and typography, and through a series of empirical examples which include religion, embodiment, photography and performance. Word is a reminder that words live richly in the world. It is an invitation to recognise those non-linguistic word-relations that are already existing, and to bring new and generative encounters with words into being.


This is a fascinating study of human existence as both embodied and as having a being in language. Written with generosity but not shying away from serious controversy on the relation between word, gesture and writing, Word: Beyond Language, Beyond Image, shows a deep understanding of what Wittgenstein called the physiognomy of words. This is a book of impeccable scholarship and grace.” - Veena Das

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