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21st Century Anthropology Conference

24 May, 2007

I don’t necessarily think the role of a blog like this is to advertise conferences and such things but the description of this upcoming conference in touches on a number of points that have been raised on this blog recently, including the questions of anthropologists acting as public intellectuals. Of central importance here is how anthropological insights can be applied (i.e. communicated) in broader contexts beyond the discipline. Not surprisingly the conference features a keynote address by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, as well as Akhil Gupta.

Here’s the description:

21st Century Anthropology: Global Process and Power

28 – 29 June 2007
Rhodes House
University of Oxford

As an academic discipline, Anthropology is equipped for a thorough understanding of the increasing frictions and problems in today’s shrinking world. Its ethnographic approach and historical awareness provide for a thick interpretation of the interweaving of causalities that spark clashes or power abuses. And yet this perception and meticulousness does not inform the broader ‘ecology of ideas’ that influences both public opinion and governmental policy makers. While many anthropologists are involved in agencies and foundations with hands-on projects or policies, our discipline has not made the major
contributions its intellectual power calls for. It is still easy for powerbrokers to ignore reports that few people are aware of.

This conference is a platform for a dialogue about ways in which anthropological research on current global conflicts can engage a world of asymmetric power relations. Mediating understandings may offer an opportunity for a rich dialogue that could reduce tensions and apprehensions. It is not simply about writing
popular books, but rather about engaging in a comprehensible dialogue with other disciplines and perspectives.


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