Archive | Conference and Event Reports

Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Mobile Phones – Report on a Wenner-Gren Funded Workshop

by Joshua A. Bell, Joel Kuipers, Jacqueline Hazen, Amanda Kemble, and Briel Kobak

In June 2013, our collaborative George Washington University/Smithsonian Institution team–Joshua A. Bell (NMNH Anthropology), Joel Kuipers (GWU Anthropology), Briel Kobak, Amanda Kemble, and Jacqueline Hazen–hosted a Wenner-Gren funded workshop, Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Mobile Phones, at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The workshop grew out of our anthropological project “Fixing Connections: The Art & Science of Repair,” which is funded by support a grant from the Smithsonian’s Consortium for World Cultures and Understanding the American Experience (www.si.edu/consortia). Since May 2012 we have been conducting ethnographic research in cell phone repair shops across the Washington, DC area to investigate the cultural intimacies associated with cell phones as well as their materiality.…

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Conference Report–“Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies and Creativity”

This summer saw the conclusion of ‘Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies and Creativity’, an international research project led by Leon Wainwright (Department of Art History, The Open University, UK) which began in December 2011. (For an overview of the project, visit: www.open.ac.uk/Arts/disturbing-pasts/ )

The main focus of Disturbing Pasts was a major conference that took place over three days at the Museum of Ethnology, Vienna (recently renamed Weltmuseum Vienna) on 20-22 November 2012. The majority of speakers were from outside academia, the event was free to attend and widely publicised, while ample time was allowed for discussion and interaction with the audience and for networking among participants. It consisted of panels of highly-illustrated presentations on five distinct yet complementary themes. Each panel combined speakers from the three selected groupings of stakeholders (artists, curators and academics) and saw a productive exchange between them.…

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Becoming Exotic

Notes on the Workshop  “Objects from Abroad: The Life of Exotic Goods in France and the United States”

by  Noémie Étienne  (Wissenschaftliche Assistentin, Univ. of Zurich)

Fig. 1. Eugène Boban’s importation and exchanges network, between 1870 and 1890. © Manuel Charpy.

Fig. 1. Eugène Boban’s importation and exchanges network, between 1870 and 1890. © Manuel Charpy.

The interdisciplinary conference “Objects from Abroad: The Life of Exotic Goods in France and the United States”, held at the Centre for International Research in the Humanities, New York University, in April 2013, addressed the question of the lives of exotic objects in the United States and France between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Within this context, the focus was on Western use, display and function of objects coming from “abroad”: in other words, on the consumption of material culture according to the expression used by Ann Bermingham.…

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From the Image to the Lecture Slide: Exercises in Anthropological Ventriloquy

Eleanor Williams  &  Theophile Desarmeaux,  UCL  Anthropology

magic lantern

The lanternslides exhibited in ‘From the Image to the Lecture Slide: Exercises in Anthropological Ventriloquy’ emerge from the depths of the UCL Anthropology Department’s Material Culture Room, part of UCL Museums and Collections.  From this cave of curiosities, the exhibition excavates a medley of largely anonymous ethnographic lanternslides, which were used for teaching anthropology during 1940 and 1950.  Today, a variety of slides are re-cast into three mock lectures that both explore the breadth of the collection and interrogate the use of images for teaching.

Lecture 1: We, The Tikopia: A Sociological Study of Kinship in Primitive Polynesia

The first lecture reveals the collection’s cornucopia of slides and questions the images’ instrumentality within a teaching context.  …

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Call for Papers International Workshop on: ECONOMY, MORALITY AND MATERIALITY

Date: 26 – 27 September 2013

Venue: University of Pardubice, Czech Republic

Long-held convictions about the immoral or amoral nature of capitalism have recently lost some of their force in light of illustrations of how moral conflicts unfold in the economic realm and examples of how religious and non-religious morality works its ways in the capitalist economy. Subsequently, the articulation of economy and morality has returned as a topic of interest in the academia. Depictions of how moral meanings are implicated in economic choices have been added to descriptions of the individualistic, economistic, immoral and amoral behaviours fostered by capitalism in societies all over the world. In addition, the mutual entanglement of capital, Islam and the market has become an active sub-field of enquiry in response to recent transformations.…

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ASSEMBLED CONTEMPORARIES

By Eugenia Kisin, Anthropology, NYU

 “Assemblage has been something that has been part of our fabric, the art historical fabric, since the beginning of time. If you think about the notion of hunters and gatherers, until we became an agricultural society 10,000 years ago, that is how we found our food, we scavenged, we foraged, we hunted, we gathered. And I always felt that impulse embedded in our genes, and that artists themselves are a particular kind of hunter-gatherer.”[1]

Assemblage is an ordering of the world. Both act and creation, it encompasses production and collection; in its finished form, assemblage prefigures its consumption through the deliberate juxtaposition of materials. In art historical terms, assemblage is a medium, albeit one that is sometimes too capacious—materials are all technically “assembled” to produce artworks, and all can be traced back through a political-economic circuitry.…

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Diasporas on the Web: e-Diasporas Atlas Project

Date: Thursday 13th December

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Place: British Academy, Reading Room, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y5AH

What kinds of diasporas are formed by connected migrants? Do the online networks woven by migrants scattered throughout the world, and the traces they leave on the Web, reveal traditional or novel functions of diasporas? Do these ‘e-diasporas’ merely mirror physical diasporas, are they an extension to these diasporas, or do they generate new forms of communities? From a more general perspective, can they be considered as an echo-chamber of globalization – of a society which is itself a diaspora in the making? And how do digital methods help us to adopt a more reflexive stance on this phenomenon?

On this occasion, an event will be held at the British Academy in London, involving contributors as well as invited speakers, from 6 to 8 p.m on Thursday 13th December 2012.…

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CFP: The Politics of Materiality

Call for Papers: Annual Sociology Conference 2013
New School for Social Research
New York City
Saturday, April 6, 2013

Can national and global politics be viewed through the lens of our
material environments? Can the architecture of a city square incite
political demonstration? How, through the use of drones, are
populations transformed into targets? Do Nike shoes define
citizenship? Where might we locate power in reproductive technologies?

Sociologists often locate political power in the spaces and dynamics
between agency and structure: organizationally embedded,
interactionally negotiated, or structurally entrenched. The spaces we
inhabit and the objects with which we interact, however, also shape
our politics and in turn become the means and targets of political
struggles. Objects, spaces and technologies can be activated as tools
for empowerment or experienced as carriers of inequality.…

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Non-Places of non-Augé

Terje Toomistu (The University of Tartu)

Notes from an intensive seminar ‘Places and Non-Places: Thinking Anthropologically with Marc Augé’, 12th-13th October 2012

Estonian Institute of Humanities and the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, Tallinn University.

When visiting Delhi in 2010, I remember a slight cultural shock from one of the city’s recently completed subway lines. Not that I found something bleakly intrinsic to India, but on the contrary – I was intrigued by the lack of it, or by strange intersections between this ‘lacking’ and various existing or imaginary layers of culture. The new transportation system seemed to be far from what I had remembered from my earlier visit to India. In this heavily conditioned and rather silently sliding subway you could perhaps imagine to be in Singapore or Seattle.…

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Materiality Matters at the Association of Internet Researchers Conference

In October I attended the 13th annual Association of Internet Researchers conference (AoIR or IR13) which was held in Salford, England at the University of Salford in the heart of the new home of the BBC, Media City UK. As a conference, AoIR has always been at the cutting edge scholarship on internet research and digital cultures. This year, the presence of Conference Chair Lori Kendall — author of Hanging Out in a Virtual Pub, one of the very first ethnographies of online communities — significantly shaped conversation by productively highlighting issues of gender and the changing relationship between various dichotomies (real/virtual, online/offline) emerging in everyday practice.

While I was not able to attend all of the sessions (there were up to seven simultaneous tracks on October 19th and 20th!!…

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