The state in the history of world anthropologies: disciplinary imaginaries at critical moments [AAA CWA panel]
Chandana Mathur (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Ida Susser (HunterGCCUNY)
Talal Asad (CUNY Graduate Center)
Michal Buchowski (Adam Mickiewicz University)
Jonathan Friedman (EHESS Paris/in USA UCSD, San Diego)
John Hume Lecture Theatre 3
Start time:
26 August, 2010 at 11:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

In light of the recent world anthropologies discussion, this panel will rethink issues around the framing of anthropology under colonialism, as also in the post-colony and the new world "disorder". We particularly welcome histories of theory from the Global South that focus on the role of the state.

Long abstract:

The powerful critique of mainstream anthropology offered by the recent world anthropologies discussion and its attempt to construct an "anthropology of anthropology" seems to offer an opportune moment to revisit the debates regarding the relationship between anthropology and colonialism. Insofar as this is something of a stocktaking exercise, we think it is especially fitting at a gathering of European anthropologists to solicit papers that will address not only the influences of colonial processes on classical anthropology, but are also concerned with peripheral anthropological traditions and their often different, and sometimes non-existent, relationship with crises of statehood in European history.

We are interested also in papers that seek to explore anthropological practices and theory-making in the postcolonial world, looking, for instance, at the burdens placed on the discipline by the imperatives of nation-building in newly independent states. Anthropology's "long twentieth century" has played out under the auspices of an extraordinary variety of state forms, from the institutionalised communisms of Eastern Europe to the apartheid systems of Southern Africa to the still established neo-colonial forms of domination in key oil-producing states. We are hoping for papers that will investigate the career of the discipline in these varied contexts. Living in a unipolar world constantly at war with non-state actors, we would also welcome papers that ponder the question of how the discipline is faring in the present context, papers engaging with, for example, the anthropology embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan or the ethnographic market research favoured by global corporations.