Thinking anthropologically: reflexive selves
Wednesday 8th February 2017, 1 - 2pm, University Square Stratford (USS), Room US.1.01
As post-truths, alternative facts and the rise of ‘sameness’ certainties populate the contemporary, raw racism and other hate-acts bid for the new norm. Consider this: an Indian cashier is asked if he will go home to India on the morning after the Brexit vote and, in turn, is defended by his ‘English’ co-worker. A Portuguese health worker is told off for her accent and is defended by someone who looks like her but with the ‘right’ voice.
This seminar considers that in everyday settings alongside and in contestation of violence, are many voices that form small and not so small acts of shared understandings, kindness and care as part of being human and through cosmopolitan notions of stranger-welcome.
The seminar explores these spaces as indicative of many reflexive individuals who bring their thinking and action to bear on issues of difficulties, as interventionist in the age of the ‘140-letter character’ sound-bites and other public ‘performances’.
Narmala draws on long-term research in different countries, ongoing research in London, work in human rights and lived experiences to explore these issues through the role of reflexivity. She will discuss her work on self-reflexive individuals in cities and villages, and her current work on ‘experiences in and out of the ordinary’ in London, to develop this talk and to consider how it provides for civic engagement and intervention. She is developing non-textual formats on reflexive selves - research participants and others are also being invited to nominate contributions to this work.
Thinking anthropologically considers that in privileging the voices and views of others, we inhabit and share worlds in ways that can challenge/ offer positive change to contemporary problems of difference and similarities. In teaching and learning anthropology, we draw in and out the potentiality and the existing knowledge of acting reflexively as openings beyond bounded and absolute positions.
Engaging Contemporary Issues
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 10am - 5pm, University Square Stratford (USS)
This one-day conference is being launched as an ‘In Dialogue with anthropologists’ series to consider active engagement and potential to intervene in the conversation to bring about change on pressing socio-political and related issues. It facilitates spaces for anthropologists and other academics to engage with practitioners, policy-makers, media analysts among others on certain pressing contemporary issues.
Professor Nigel Rapport, University of St Andrews, in an opening plenary will offer a talk on ‘'Freedom, from the perspective of a cosmopolitan anthropology of Anyone, the global human individual'. Other confirmed speakers include Tom Selwyn, SOAS, Pat Caplan, Goldsmiths, University of London, David Shankland, Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Patrick Alexander, Oxford Brookes University, Charlotte Joy, Goldsmiths, University of London, Gabriel Dattatreyan, Goldsmiths, University of London, Narmala Halstead, University of East London, Christine McCourt, City, University of London, Nicola Frost, Independent Scholar, Dave Cook, University College London, Paul Gilbert, University of Brighton, Jessica Sklair, Goldsmiths, University of London, Flavia Kremer, University of Manchester.
The conference will incorporate innovative formats where some speakers will be ‘accompanied’ by debaters/ interlocutors to open research conversations and demonstrate wider civic and socio-political engagement. Sessions will incorporate and reflect on ‘truths’ and ‘post-truths.’ Topics include Brexit, pasts and futures. The conference will include sessions by students doing fieldwork, where some will engage with research participants to discuss their work and consider wider relevance. It will offer a mini photographic exhibition.
Some of the material presented on the day will be podcast and student filmmakers will be present to capture side conversations from speakers and delegates for three and five-minutes access film shorts.
The conference will offer sessions and presentations on anthropological research, dialogue, impact and wider debates. It has a focus on sessions where anthropologists will engage with practitioners, media analysts and others.
It invited practice-based sessions incorporating text, visual material and other innovative modes of presentations to showcase the value of research and its wider relevance. It includes position papers as well as ethnographic accounts.
Some of the pressing contemporary concerns include:
- Debates on the person
- Debates on migration
- Debates on HE and uses of academic knowledge
- Debates on political events and significant socio-political issues including Brexit
- Debates on the role of media and social media in empowering and disempowering people
The conference considers that ethnographic knowledge and practice offer spaces to reflect and intervene in these and other issues. It considers the spaces to continue conversations on scholarly research contributions and the spaces for wider impact.