W050
Studying anthropologists in war and conflict zones: spies and freedom fighters, scholars and advocates

Convenors:
Herta Nöbauer (University of Vienna)
Esther Hertzog (Beit Berl Academic College)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
309
Start time:
28 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

From a perspective of a critical anthropology of anthropology this workshop wishes to ask questions on the ethics and power(lessness) of anthropologists around the world by way of focusing on their positions and practices in war and conflict zones both in the past and the present.

Long abstract:

This workshop addresses the relation between anthropology, politics and ethics and their spaces of mutuality. From a perspective of a critical anthropology of anthropology we wish to ask questions on the ethics and power(lessness) of anthropologists around the world by way of focusing on their positions and practices in war and conflict zones both in the past and the present. Not only are anthropologists' professional, political, socio-cultural, (trans-)national and moral positions and commitments and practices to be seen as diverse, multiple, heterogeneous, ambiguous but also contested, hegemonic and not 'innocent' any longer. More specifically, looking at studies on the history of anthropologies and at current anthropologies around the world, we argue that it is especially in times of war and violent conflicts - be they international wars or regional armed conflicts - that anthropologists' positions and practices are most conflicted and compromised. We invite papers that deal with the ideas, interests, positions and strategies of anthropologists labouring under such severe conditions. We are particularly interested in the various and distinct ways and circumstances of how women and men anthropologists may become victims or perpetrators and oppressors, spies or freedom fighters, bystanders or mediators and advocates in war and conflict zones. We welcome socio-historical analyses of extant anthropological studies and anthropologists' careers, as well as personal accounts of work under such testing conditions.