The Problem of the Fetish
“William Pietz’s classic trilogy of articles, The Problem of the Fetish, is a must-read for anyone who uses the term. As Pietz writes, the term 'fetish' is 'discursively promiscuous and theoretically suggestive;' it is in part to combat the indiscriminate use of the term that he examines the early history of the fetish. Pietz’s description of the seventeenth and eighteenth century conceptualization of the fetish provides an important proto-history for Marx’s use of the term in particular."
Pietz, William "The Problem of the Fetish." RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 9. (Spring, 1985): 5-17.
Pietz, William "The Problem of the Fetish II: The Origin of the Fetish." RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 13. (Spring, 1987): 23-45.
Pietz, William "The Problem of the Fetish IIIa: Bosman’s Guinea and the Enlightenment Theory of Fetishism." RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 16. (Autumn, 1988): 105-124.
Recommended by Sophie Volpp, Professor of Comparative Literature and author of Worldly Stage: Theatricality in Seventeenth-Century China.