Download the FINAL PROGRAM (last update March 5).
The timing indicated in the program is in Croatian local time (GMT+1 / UTC+1 / CET).
The organizer reserves the right to make changes to the event program.
Senka Božić-Vrbančić is employed as a Professor in Anthropology at the University of Zadar, Croatia. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has worked at the University of Melbourne, Australia (McArthur Research Fellowship 2007-2010), Center for Sociology and Cultural Studies in Lviv, Ukraine and Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb, Croatia. Her work spans the fields of anthropology, cultural and visual studies with an emphasis on the politics of culture and affective components of belonging (class/ gender/ ethnicity/ race). She is the author of two books Tarara: Croatians and Maori in New Zealand – memory, belonging, identity (2008, 2018) and Hitchcockian gaze: a paranoid reading of contemporary culture (2017). She is currently finishing a book on the precariousness as a social condition based on an ethnographic research of everyday and the structures of feeling associated with precarious lifeworlds in Croatia. The title of Prof. Božić-Vrbančić’s lecture at IUAES2020 Congress is Precarity in a Time of Historical Present.
We live in times saturated with the sense of precarity and chronic insecurity. The notion of crisis (pandemic, economic, political, environmental, migrant …) is overwhelming. In this talk I go through some affective registers of precarity in Croatia to open up questions on the historical present and what precarity does and can do. I draw on three ethnographic fragments: (1) uber drivers, gig economy and the notion of freedom (2) feeding rats and building shelters for feral cats by using ”illegal” migrants’ unwonted clothes on the edge of Zagreb (3) feeling earthquakes in times of COVID-19. Even though these three fragments portray different reactions to various forms of precarity, together they tell an ambivalent story of the historical present and vulnerable connections, one that allows us to ask: is there any potential of producing more capacious lenses for generating new futures through these vulnerable connections?
Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, Norway. His textbooks in anthropology are widely used and translated, and his research has dealt with social and cultural dimensions of globalisation, ranging from nationalism and identity politics to accelerated change and environmental crisis. Some of his recent books in English are Fredrik Barth: An Intellectual Biography (2015), Overheating: An Anthropology of Accelerated Change (2016) and Boomtown: Runaway Globalisation on the Queensland Coast (2018). The title of Prof. Eriksen’s lecture at IUAES2020 Congress is Anthropology in the Shadow of Anthropocene Overheating.
Anthropology has always been informed and inspired by events and current concerns – think of the pandemic or the Syrian refugee crisis for recent examples. The considerable interest in ethnicity and nationalism towards the end of the last century was a result of the incipient shift from class politics to identity politics across the world; a decade earlier, feminism produced a heightened awareness of gender in the discipline, and historical processes such as decolonisation, the marginalisation of indigenous groups and the aftermath of the Second World War stimulated important work among anthropologists keen to understand not only what it is to be human, but also the contemporary world, perhaps motivated by a desire to use knowledge to make the world safe for difference, less unequal and saner.
In the present decade, the towering concerns are to do with climate and the environment. Ranging from critical interrogations of established dichotomies between culture and nature to studies of elites devising climate agreements and local responses to climate change, this family of concerns has entered the discipline with full force. In a not too distant future, it will be difficult to imagine a major trend in anthropology that does not engage with the environmental transformations orchestrated by humans at increasing speed and at a vast scale, leaving few if any parts of the world unaffected.
Rather than focus on local responses to climate change or the political economy of environmental destruction, this lecture proposes a methodology for research on ecologically embedded human lives. Drawing on biosemiotics, I propose an approach where living systems are studied as systems of communication, a methodology which dissolves the nature/culture boundary without denigrating human agency, and which also has considerable comparative potential.
Empowering Anthropology in the Face of Crises – sponsored by World Anthropological Union (WAU)
(organizers: Junji Koizumi, Osaka University and NIHU, Japan/IUAES President/WAU Co-Chair; and Carmen Sílvia de Moraes Rial, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil/WCAA Chair/WAU Co-Chair)
The news that anthropology is facing crisis is on the rise. A similar process seems to be underway also in some disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Changes in classification of science, weakened position in the academic system and student enrollment, dominance by neoliberalism and instrumentalism, decreasing institutional and financial support, difficulties in field research and cases of arrests of researchers, targeted attacks on certain research areas, loss of unretrievable materials due to fire and other destruction, to name a few. On the other hand, there are cases in which anthropology goes strong and expectations are high that anthropology among human and social sciences can make valuable contributions in the contemporary globalized and globalizing world. This panel sponsored by WAU, the World Anthropological Union, asks: What exactly is the nature of these crises and what are the real threats we are facing; If we can theorize the general contexts in which they arise, or we should understand each and specific situation in order to cope with them better; What WAU can do as a newly established global organization based on the integration of IUAES and WCAA, and what are the new resources we obtained through this integration; How, after all, we can effectively empower anthropology in general and anthropologies in specific as WAU, IUAES and WCAA, and what are anthropology’s unique strengths in contributing to a global public good. These are among the central questions this panel will address.
Akhil Gupta, (UCLA, USA); Michal Buchowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland); Vesna Vučinić Nešković (University of Belgrade, Serbia); Subhadra Channa (University of Delhi, India); Divine Fuh (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Not Quite the End of Nomadism?
(organizer: Anthony Howarth, University of Oxford, UK)
Nomadism is a hugely problematic concept. Those who fall within its bounds range from mobile pastoralists in Asia and Africa, to Gypsies and Travellers in Europe. Despite critiques demonstrating its shortcomings, the nomad(ism) category continues to have a social, political, and academic life. The aim of this roundtable is to bring together scholars whose work has focused on nomadism, to explore whether and in what ways the nomad category remains analytically tenable and to shed light on why it endures. Employing comparison to tease out the nomadic category’s social life in different geo-political contexts, the panellists will explore the following questions. Is the nomad category analytically tenable? If so/not, how? Do the ways the nomad category is popularly imagined, politically deployed, and historically documented, make it an empirical/ethnographic object worthy of analysis? If, as some scholars suggest, nomadism is a category imagined by outsiders, is its academic usage appropriate? Due to their widespread sedentarisation, is it useful to categorise once mobile people as nomads? Are there cases of mobile people describing themselves as nomads, and what circumstances led to this? Is there such a thing as a nomadic mind-set and, if so, what might this entail? What commonalities exist between different groups categorised as nomads? Through examining these questions, the aim is to tease out nuance, by engaging with previous accounts that have either completely rejected the nomad category or employed it uncritically, to shed light on how and why categories as contested as nomadism endure.
David Sneath (University of Cambridge); Dawn Chatty (University of Oxford); Thomas Barfield (University of Boston); Ariell Ahearn (University of Oxford); Greta Semplici (European University Institute) Freya Hope (University of Oxford); Jakko Heiskanen (University of Cambridge); Marco Solimene (University of Iceland); Cory Rodgers (University of Oxford).
Congress starts in