Encountering otherness: Embodied affect in Alphonso Lingis' travel writing
In the essay 'Tawantinsuyu', Alphonso Lingis poses some important questions about the highly mediated nature of our contemporary experience of the world, by juxtaposing them with a post-phenomenological account of his journey through the ruins of Machu Picchu. Not content with knowledge produced through Internet of CD-ROM technology, Lingis desires an embodied encounter with other places. Without lapsing into a notion of unmediated experience, how might we theorize this desire to know the particularity of other places through the sensory, affective body? The article reads Lingis's travel narrative alongside insights from Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the flesh, to explore how we might think about the liminal quality of travel as it produces a unique in-between experience - an intersubjective relation between oneself and the difference of the world that is mediated by visual and tactile modalities. The work of French feminist Luce Irigaray is also explored in relation to the question of how we begin to understand the embodied boundaries that differentiate and connect the self in relation to the other's world.