Anthro connection: for all the gold in Colombia

An article in the Economist reports that the FARC is turning to gold. Literally. Apparently some FARC groups are financing their efforts through illegal gold mining.

The story of digging for gold in Colombia is not a pretty one and it is not a new one.

Cultural anthropologist Michael Taussig has written a powerful book about gold in Colombia, from before Columbus got there to the stunning displays in the Museo del Oro, a living tribute to the beauty of gold.

Read Taussig’s My Cocaine Museum and think about gold, slavery, violence and the pretty little bits of it that we (speaking for myself) attach to ourselves. And the billionaires who trade in gold. And the poor who work for pitiful wages sifting gold from the earth. Beyond gold, Taussig draws connections to cocaine and more.

I love this book: it is deep and dark and bright and memorable from page one to the end. Here is chapter 2 as a teaser.

Photo: Piece of gold from the Museo del Oro; Courtesy of dariorana, Creative Commons license on Flickr

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