The Friday anthropology seminars are finally coming back on September 25th. We are beginning with Loretta Lou’s talk on freeganism and freecycling in Hong Kong (see below). The seminars will be held 4:15 – 5:45 pm on Fridays this semester, because of the time difference for some of our speakers.
Loretta Ieng Tak Lou, University of Macau and LSE will give a paper Freedom as ethical practices: on the possibility of freedom through freeganism and freecycling in Hong Kong on Friday, 25th September, 4:15 pm – 5:45 pm, Zoom
Although the idea of freedom has been well studied as an ideal in political philosophy, relatively little scholarship has focused on the human experience of freedom. Drawing on ethnographic research between 2012 and 2013, I examine how freedom was achieved by people who practice freeganism and freecycling in Hong Kong. I show that the freedom that these people pursue, either individually or collectively, is not a freedom without constraints but a freedom that must be attained through the exercise of deliberation, restraint, and self-discipline. While freegans seek liberation by withdrawing from the world and practicing self-cultivation (chushi asceticism), freecyclers do so by engaging with worldly affairs in order to create social changes (rushi asceticism). In both cases, by reimagining freedom as ethical practices rather than a right that comes naturally with birth, freegans and freecyclers in Hong Kong are able to experience moments of freedom despite inevitable structural constraints.
Dr Loretta Ieng Tak Lou is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Macau, and currently a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE). Contact her: email@example.com
Academy Research Fellow Elina Hartikainen (Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki) and Venla Oikkonen (Gender Studies, Tampere University) are collecting material for a new research project that examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on everyday life and experiences. Their joint project seeks to understand how experiences of the pandemic emerge and are made sense of in relation to place and locality, societal and political developments, and the global reach of the pandemic.
They invite all those interested to write accounts of their experiences of living with, or in anticipation of, COVID-19 [In English or Finnish].
For further information on the project and the full call for texts, see here.
[…] So, where does fake news figure into all of this? I would like to suggest that fake news—both as deliberately false news stories and as a political epithet—constitutes a particular way of participating in a public. Let me explain.
Doctor Andrew Graan was invited to participate in Political and Legal Anthropology Review’s online series ‘Emergent Conversations’ with Meg Stalcup from the University of Ottawa and Adam Hodges from the University of Colorado Boulder. In this conversation, the researchers share their views on fake news, disinformation, and political propaganda. Below you can find a link to the first part of the conversation below.
A cultural heritage perspective places priority on values and meanings that people ascribe to places, things, and ways of remembering. This talk focuses on tensions, challenges, and rewards of engaging communities in curating ethnographic resources or resources that are defined as important to a people’s sense of purpose or way of life such as museums and other structures, personal artifacts, gravesites, and cultural and natural landscapes.
Antoinette Jackson is Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa and Director of the USF Heritage Research Lab (http://heritagelab.org/). Dr. Jackson served as the Regional Cultural Anthropologist for the U.S. National Park Service Southeast Region (2012- 2016). She has led numerous heritage preservation research projects in community with undergraduate and graduate students in the US and in the Caribbean and her work is widely published. Her book Speaking for the Enslaved—Heritage Interpretation at Antebellum Plantation Sites, was published by Routledge in 2012. Her most recent book, Heritage, Tourism, and Race—The Other Side of Leisure, will be released April 2020.
The Friday seminar is held 2-4 pm at Unioninkatu 35, Room 113/114. Everybody is welcome!
The Crowding of Clutter: Possession, Heterochrony, and Congestion in U.S. Domestic Life
Sasha Newell, Université Libre de Bruxelles
February 7th 2020, 2-4 PM, Unioninkatu 35, Room 113/4
Building upon ethnography in U.S homes , this paper excavates affective intimacies with objects in relation to the animacy of accumulation. Unlike curated collections, accumulations of belongings grow and seep of their own accord in darkened corners, gradually accruing mass and inserting affective hooks into the tissue of their owners’ sociality, until they burst forth into visible space in ways that threaten normative values. Those who fail to contain such accumulations are classified as hoarders, their deviance essentialized as mental disorder, while others anxiously patrol the frontiers of ordered domestic space in hopes of keeping clutter at bay. Clutter is not only spatial but temporal, allowing for arcing constellations of temporal connections that congest and confuse the social space of the home, but also allow for contact and contemplation with both past and future potentiality. Because stored things are often part of the non-conscious cognitive dispositif through which memory, kinship, and temporality are intertwined, the affective force of possessions resists both mental and material containment.
”Lines, traces, and tidemarks: further reflections on forms of border” in 2018, The political materialities of borders: new theoretical directions. Demetriou, O. & Dimova, R. (eds.). 1 ed. Manchester: University of Manchester, Vol. 2. p. 67-83 17 p. (Rethinking Borders). You can access the paper through the research portal.
Carna Brkovic from University of Goettingen gave a talk on Friday the 17th of January 2020 titled “Bios, Zoe, Psyche? Forms of Life in a Refugee Camp in Montenegro”
Life in a refugee camp Konik in Podgorica, Montenegro, included efforts of the Red Cross humanitarians to “change the consciousness” of the displaced Roma and Balkan Egyptians. However, they were not the only one. Montenegrin citizens told themselves that they also had to “change their consciousness” about all sorts of issues if they ever wanted to join the European Union. Discussing how the fall of Yugoslav socialism has reshaped emic ideas on what it means to “change consciousness”, this talk explores how a “will to improve” emerged in the context of widespread indeterminacy and legal ambiguity of the asylum as a form of life.
Heidi Härkönen, currently working as an Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher in Gender studies at the University of Helsinki, was awarded funding (163 200 euros) from the Kone Foundation for a four-year research project entitled, “Emerging Digitalisation in Contemporary Cuba: Politics, Values, and Everyday Practices.” The project explores ethnographically the unpredictable political and social consequences of Cuba’s on-going incorporation into the global digital circulations, namely the proliferation of mobile phone technology, wireless internet connectivity, and the use of domestic digital devices. Dr. Härkönen will re-join the Helsinki Anthropology discipline in September 2020 when she will begin work on her new project.
Elina I. Hartikainen. 2019. Candomblé and the Academic’s Tools: Religious Expertise and the Binds of Recognition in Brazil. American Anthropologist. https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13272
Latin American state efforts to recognize ethnically and racially marked populations have focused on knowledge and expertise. This article argues that this form of state recognition does not only call on subaltern groups to present themselves in a frame of expertise. It also pushes such groups to position themselves and their social and political struggles in a matrix based on expertise and knowledge. In the context of early 2000s Brazil, the drive to recognition led activists from the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble ́ to reimagine the religion’s practitioners’ long- term engagements with scholars and scholarly depictions of the religion as a form of epistemological exploitation that had resulted in public misrecognition of the true source of knowledge on the religion: Candomble ́ practitioners. To remedy this situation, the activists called on Candomble ́ practitioners to appropriate the “academic’s tools,” the modes of representation by which scholarly expertise and knowledge were performed and recognized by the general public and state officials. This strategy transformed religious structures of expertise and knowledge in ways that established a new, politically efficacious epistemological grounding for Candomble ́ practitioners’ calls for recognition. But it also further marginalized temples with limited connections or access to scholars and higher education. [politics of recognition, politics of expertise, state recognition, Candomble ́ religion, Brazil]