Levi, Dr. Margaret, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid workshop on 'Anthropological Epistemology and Cross-Cultural Metacategories,' 2015, Stanford U., in collaboration with Dr. Howard Morphy
Preliminary abstract: The aim of the workshop is to generate reflective discourse on anthropological epistemology. The workshop has both pragmatic and exploratory objectives, building on the theme of cross-cultural/cross-temporal meta-categories in the context of anthropology as interdisciplinary environment for research into human society. Historically anthropology has implicitly created meta-categories for a discourse that encompass different but synergistic ways of thinking about things and acting in the world -- art, aesthetics, gender, family, household, law, property, mind, and so on. The cross-cultural and/or cross-temporal meta-category is dialogic. It exists between different local categorizations, yet simultaneously strives to encompass difference. Recently a tension has developed anthropology between theoretical perspectives which focus on the problematization of boundaries and the dissolution of categories and those earlier perspectives which attempted to develop cross-cultural meta-categories in order to understand the diversity of human societies and the nature of regional trajectories. This workshop has the potential to influence future directions by reflecting on the terminologies employed and the perspectives that lie behind them and placing them in the context of the history of the discipline and the dialogical nature of the relationships with the subjects of their research.
Barham, Dr. Lawrence, U. of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK -To aid 10th CHaGS conference on 'Resilience and Vulnerability in Hunter-Gatherer Research,' 2013, U. of Liverpool, in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Widlok
'10th Meeting of the Conference of Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHaGS)'
June 25-28, 2013, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Organizers: Lawrence Barham (U. Liverpool) and Thomas Widlok (Radboud U.)
Two hundred delegates from 25 countries took part in this long-awaited revival of the CHaGS tradition of interdisciplinary gatherings. The theme of 'Resilience and Vulnerability' provided the focus for discussing the status of contemporary hunter-gatherers and the future of hunter-gatherer research. Since the last meeting in 2002, the field of applied indigenous studies has continued to expand for which hunter-gatherer case studies remain invaluable. A new generation of evolutionary anthropologists has also emerged with innovative comparative approaches based on hunter-gatherer data. These differing approaches were brought together in the plenary sessions, which began each day. Highlights included lively debate on the role of warfare and violence in human evolution and the largest gathering of researchers on Dravidian-speaking hunter-gatherers. The conference concluded with a panel of young researchers representing a spectrum of interests, discussing their hopes for the future of hunter-gatherer studies. The legacy the Liverpool meeting has been the establishment of the International Society of Hunter-Gatherer Research (ISHGR) with CHaGS 11 to be held in Vienna in 2015.
Abu El-Haj, Dr. Nadia L., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Genomic Evidence, Historical Quests, and the Politics of Identity at the Turn of the Millennium'
DR. NADIA ABU EL-HAJ, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in August 2001 to aid research on 'Genomic Evidence, Historical Quests, and the Politics of Identity at the Turn of the Millennium.' This project considers the scientific work and social implications of a growing domain of research in genetic anthropology through a study of explorations of Jewish origins and migrations via molecular genetic evidence. It is a study that analyzes understandings of Jewish history as developed within this domain of genetic research and its implications for articulations of contemporary Jewish identity. More generally, this study engages with the ways in which this contemporary field of scientific inquiry both extends and differs from previous biological sciences harnessed to classify and study Jewish populations: race science and population genetics. It does so both by analyzing the knowledge-making practices of this incipient science and by considering the forms of community and polity, visions of the body, race and diaspora, and understandings of kinship, identity and intimacy that such molecular genetic research at the border of the natural and the human sciences entails and, in turn, that it makes possible in the social world.
To support the development of a doctoral program in anthropology at Royal Thimphu College, Royal University of Bhutan, Thimphu, Bhutan - Institutional Development Grant
Preliminary abstract: There exists a critical gap in anthropological knowledge of Bhutan and the practice of anthropology in Bhutan. At present, no doctoral program exists in the country. Hence, research based on in-depth long-term ethnographic fieldwork, the hallmark of a Ph.D. in anthropology, is also lacking. This has implications for the understanding of changing dynamics of cultural, social, identity, political-economic, and environmental aspects of a nation that has only recently opened itself to the outside world. Given that there are no professional avenues for practicing anthropology in the country, such an initiative is urgent. Royal Thimphu College is the only private academic institution of its kind in Bhutan, and thus it holds a special place in terms of its ability to innovate in terms of research. In this spirit, it hopes to develop for the first time in the history of the country, a doctoral program with a long-term vision of becoming an international institute of academic and research excellence in the anthropology of Bhutan, international development, socially engaged Buddhism and Gross National Happiness (GNH). It will do so through several key activities over a five-year period, centred on knowledge, networking, capacity strengthening, approval/accreditation and piloting, and in formal collaboration with renowned anthropologists specializing in the region from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles (Dr. Akhil Gupta, Dr. Nancy Levine, Dr. Sherry Ortner), and through informal collaborations with professional anthropologists in the United States, Bhutan and beyond.
Werbner, Dr. Pnina, Keele U., Keele, UK - To aid workshop on 'Beyond the Arab Spring: The Aesthetics and Poetics of Popular Revolt and Protest,' 2013, Aga Khan U., London, in collaboration with Dr. Martin Webb and Dr. Kathryn Spellman
'Beyond the Arab Spring: The Aesthetics and Poetics of Popular Revolt and Protest'
March 14-16, 2013, Aga Kahn University, London, UK
Organizers: Dr. Pnina Werbner (U. Keele), Dr. Martin Webb (U. Sussex), and Dr. Kathryn Spellman (Aga Kahn U.)
The meeting focused on the aesthetic dimensions of the Arab Spring and worldwide protest movements that followed it, bringing together twenty anthropologists, cultural studies scholars, or curators who had conducted fieldwork during the protests. It brought together a diversity of anthropological and cultural perspectives in political, media, visual, economic and linguistic anthropology, the anthropology of work, art, social organisation and social movements. The workshop aimed to address a neglected feature of the protests, untheorized and certainly not analyzed comparatively: the salience of images, songs, videos, humour, satire and dramatic performances and the way that these had 'travelled' globally. This failure to recognize the centrality of the aesthetic in constituting a global politics of revolt, the creative use of mass invasions of space and of material, visual, auditory, theatrical and sensual expressions, arguably also constituted a failure to identify the central role the aesthetic played in energizing the massive mobilizations of young people, the disaffected, the middle classes, and the apolitical silent majority spreading to quite distant parts of the world, enabling solidarities and alliances among democrats, workers, trade unions, civil rights activists and opposition parties. The result has been a volume in press with Edinburgh University Press.