Author Archive | Haidy Geismar

Vacancy: Head of Postgraduate Program, Victoria and Albert Museum

Reference: NOV20161155
Expiry date: 23:59, 16 December 2016
Location: South Kensington
Salary: £51,484.00 – £58,116.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Group Personal Pension, Life Assurance Scheme, and other great benefits
Further details: HeadofPostgraduateProgrammeJD_Nov2016.pdf
We are looking for a new Head of Postgraduate Programme for ’The History of Design and Material Culture.’ Taught in conjunction with the Royal College of Art, this is the preeminent programme in the field and it is growing in connection with exciting developments at both Museum and College. Reporting to the Director of Research and Collections and working closely with the Head of Programme at the Royal College of Art, the new Head will provide leadership for teaching and learning, research, and management of the resources of the programme and staff.
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Just published: Linm number 7 Public Infrastructures/Infrastructural Publics

Limn Number 7: Public Infrastructures/Infrastructural Publics
Edited by Stephen J. Collier, James Christopher Mizes, and Antina von Schnitzler

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Infrastructure has always 
had a privileged relationship to both expertise and the public in modern government. But in the early 21st century, this relationship is inflected in novel ways. The purposes public infrastructure was meant to serve—welfare, quality of life, economic development, and so on—persist. But they are often conceptualized differently, promoted by different agencies, and articulated through novel technological and collective relations. This issue of Limn explores new formations of infrastructure, publicness, and expertise.The contributions examine how new forms of expertise conceive the public and make claims in its name, how publics are making novel claims on experts (and claims to expertise), and how earlier norms and techniques of infrastructure provisioning are being adapted in the process.…

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Information and Communication Technology and Wellbeing in the Merchant Marines

Annamaria Dall’Anese, PhD student, UCL Anthropology

If the informal use of the internet through personal devices on board merchant vessels encounters barriers due to patchy infrastructure and weather issues, then the formal provision of ICT-empowered telemedicine has brought to an end the era when the sea made the ship an entirely isolated environment. The ship in the age of ICT appears as Foucault described it: as a “heterotopia”; a place that is both isolated and penetrable. My interest in merchant marines was sparked by joining a cargo ship sailing from Australia to Singapore as a passenger/English teacher in 2009. The passage, though short, gave me the opportunity to discover the social life of these communities, and I became intrigued by the issue of connectivity at sea.…

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Notes from the Forest: Engaging with a hunter’s world of materials

Thorsten Gieser, Lecturer in Anthropology, Department of Kulturwissenschaft, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

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A winter’s day, in a forest in central Germany. At dusk, more than fifty hunters and beaters stand around the ‘gallow’, a wooden structure with a long beam on which the dead bodies of hunted game are hung after they have been field dressed. A small group of hunters play their horns and the eerie melodies of ‘Sows dead!’ and ‘Halali!’ fill the air, accompanied by the occasional dog who howls along. It is the end of a hunting day. After several hours on the beater’s track, I feel exhausted and tired. My boots and my trousers are smeared with blood and mud. Although I washed my hands briefly in icy water, there is still dried blood under my fingernails and in the lines of my skin.

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#LondonVegans: Deliberating, sensing and practicing vegans in a non-vegan city

Zachary Hecht, UCL Digital Anthropology Msc Student

Why would somebody forgo juicy steaks, delicate smoked salmon, velvety goat cheese, and the many seemingly delicious foods people eat? Why would somebody choose to submit themselves to the inconvenience of not being able to eat outside of their home without some advanced planning? Why would they refuse to wear products widely seen as fashionable and insist on knowing what their hygiene products are made of?

Why would anybody be vegan?

The individuals I conducted fieldwork with—members of what I term the London Vegan Community—are regularly asked this very question by family, friends, and even strangers. In popular media, veganism is often framed as being trendy and undertaken for supposed health benefits. While many—certainly not all—of my participants discuss health as being a vital component of their veganism, and many first learned about veganism due to its increasing popularity, each of my participants assert that veganism is an “ethical choice”; for London Vegans, veganism is a “social justice movement.”

As I write, we find ourselves living in a time widely referred to as the Anthropocene.…

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Digital Materialities: Design and Anthropology, Edited by S. Pink, E. Ardevol, and D. Lanzeni

Zachary Hecht, UCL Digital Anthropology

 

I must admit, this review has been a long time coming. I was given Digital Materialities and asked to review it many months ago. I proceeded to read it immediately, but writing the review, well not so immediately. At the time, I had been in the process of exams and dissertation fieldwork. Several of the book’s chapters were very useful while I was working through concepts for my own work. Since reading this book, I have moved to another country and read several other books and articles. Yet, importantly, I had been given a hard copy of the book and it managed to make it across the ocean with me—sitting in my suitcase, underneath my belongings, until I finally got around to unpacking.…

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You Can’t Please all! Some observations on the controversy about the Bhupen Khakhar exhibition at Tate Modern, London

Dr. Cathrine Bublatzky, Anthropologist, Heidelberg University

Recently I visited the exhibition You can’t please them all – a retrospective of modern Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) at Tate Modern, London. The show, curated by Chris Dercon, former Tate Modern director, and Nada Raza (research curator), opened on June 1 2016 in London and will travel to the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle in Berlin in November 2016. I came to know about the show due to reviews that circulated via social media prior to the opening, and which caused a serious controversy and protest against neo-colonial attitudes towards a still imagined ‘non-European other’ by art experts in India and Great Britan. With this post, I wish to provide some anthropological observations on the controversy which demonstrates a crucial claim for equality in the international art world.…

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New Radio Program: Objects of Desire

Every day this week, Radio Four will air “Objects of Desire” at 12.04, which explores some of the main concerns of Material Culture Studies:

This is the story of how the things we accumulate around us say more than we might imagine about who we are.

“The fate of the object,” said the French thinker Jean Baudrillard, “has been claimed by no-one.” Unless, of course, the object in question is the Mona Lisa or the Albert Jewel. In these programmes, Matthew Sweet will be looking at the other stuff. The cups. The spoons. The knick-knacks. The things we might keep, even if we don’t quite have the room for them.

Through the prism of what people have in their homes, Objects of Desire explores the work of sociologists and anthropologists like Pierre Bourdieu and Mary Douglas, and philosopher Gaston Bachelard, in order to understand the curious mixture of display, memory, emotion and chance that informs the objects we surround ourselves with.

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