Rhythms of global urbanization: an actor and an anthropologist explore cosmopolitan citizenships
Cassis Kilian (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität)
Paper short abstract:
The paper presents a project that will link performing art and anthropology to explore various bodily aspects of cosmopolitan citizenship. Emil Abossolo-Mbo is an actor who was born in Yaoundé and now lives in Paris. I work as an anthropologist in Mainz. Rhythm is in the centre of this experiment in sensuous scholarship.
Paper long abstract:
One of the most important features of global urbanization is the increasing intensity of transnational complexities and unbalanced power relations. To deal with this situation, Kwame Anthony Appiah suggests an education in “cosmopolitan citizenship” and advises watching at least one movie with subtitles per month. Emil Abossolo-Mbo is a polyglot actor, who categorically dismisses synchronization. He is convinced that it distorts the specific musicality of a film, which can offer access to various possibilities of being in the world. Since Abossolo-Mbo crossed Paris by taxi in Jim Jarmusch’s “Night on Earth” in 1990, he has worked in cities all over the globe. In countless roles, he has explored bodily and emotional aspects of transnational complexities as existential dimensions of globalization, that are difficult for anthropologists to grasp. Abossolo-Mbo is a cosmopolitan actor par excellence and his approach could be described, in Paul Stoller's words, as ‘sensuous scholarship’. George E. Marcus has noted that while artists’ investigations in theatre and film might appear superficial from a scholarly perspective, these are in fact deeply embedded in the working processes of the performing artists. In reference to Marcus’ shift from participant observation to collaboration, I will work with Emil Abossolo-Mbo to expand anthropological concepts, methods and forms of representation. We take our cue in a holistic understanding of various cosmopolitan citizenships from rhythm because it allows us to explore preverbal aspects of transnational complexities. The aim is to challenge epistemological hierarchies that refer to established north south power relations that are still operative in academia.
pARTiCI[TY]pate! Collaborative place-making between art, qualitative research and politics