Creative horizons: steps towards an ethnography of imagination
Dolores Martinez (SOAS)
Ramon SarrĂ³ (University of Oxford)
Science Site/Maths CM221
Start time:
5 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Crapazano challenged us to explore imaginative horizons and human experience. By considering the 'as if' we grasp others' intentions, act upon our environments, initiate change and create futures. In this panel we invite scholars to discuss innovation and creativity and the human imaginative nature.

Long abstract:

Although there may be little consensus on its definition, psychologists and philosophers seem to agree that imagination is part and parcel of the conditions of the possibility of thinking. Without exploring possible "as if" scenarios, humans would have difficulties in comprehending others' intentions, acting upon their social and material surroundings, or initiating change and creating possible futures. Thus invention, innovation and creative thinking are not "extra-processual" events, but are part and parcel of our social, as well as individual, natures. Institutions, as well, evolve because someone, at some point, had one particular idea. In this vein, Crapazano challenged the anthropological discipline more than a decade ago, asking us to explore the making of imaginative horizons and their place in the human experience. We feel that the challenge could be relaunched today by adding an emphasis on innovation and creativity: what are the individual and social processes that go into imagining and creating something new? Who is a creator and who says so? What are the cultural logics that dictate the acceptance of the novum? How do creators see themselves? Keeping in mind the theme of cultural revolution, we invite scholars to explore these issues through any domain of human activity such as (but not exclusive to): art, science, literature, religion, architecture or agriculture.