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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/q7w0-f473

invited talk

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Scales, Subjects, and Objects: Problems of Ethnography and Imperialism





Crisis talk has become ubiquitous as a way to conceptualize our contemporary condition. Think of the crisis of liberal democracy as it is collapsing under right wing populism and unbridled capitalism, the evisceration of a civil public sphere and of the notion of rights. Or of the erosion of the health of the planet, and the climate issues that plague us. Or take the thousands upon thousands of people that are on the move, seeking refuge from war, economic and environmental disasters. Surely there is urgency about these and other phenomena that we are witnessing globally, but in this panel we want to question the normativity of the language of crisis by thinking about both change and durability. Because time does not simply proceed in a linear manner, so as to leave history behind, we understand contemporary relations of power and exploitation as folding in older colonial currents and extractions. What if we questioned the notions of temporality that undergird crisis talk, and instead attended to multiple temporalities? Would this generate new insights about continuity and novelty? About the routines and sustained forms of labor people mobilize to make life possible under harsh and unsustainable conditions? If we are indeed witnessing the emergence of a new geopolitical condition, one shaped by the afterlives (and current lives) of imperialism, then we must also develop new conventions of knowledge production. In this session, anthropologists will draw from their own research to explore questions of crisis and temporality, and will imagine together new ways to conceive of the anthropological project.


Transcript English (automatic)

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