with Nükhet Sirman, Bogaziçi University- Sociology Department
Part of Autumn Term Seminar Series, all are welcome to attend.
My paper will be broadly based on my own experience of being anthropological in activism. It will address the issue of how to read context when engaging in political activity. This preoccupation with context stems from a realisation that context is not an issue activists prioritize in deciding on forms of opposition and protest. Rather, context shapes activism inadvertently, surreptitiously by provoking counter-moves that change the course of activism. The academy, for its part, has a number of different terms to deal with context: I suggest that Turner’s concept of liminality, going through Agamben’s understanding of bare life and Allen Feldman’s notion of black sites are a few of the important attempts to deal with the post-capitalist forms of the neoliberalism of the present. On the other hand, academic studies of activism mainly concentrate on the issues articulated by and particular form articulates and the organisational forms activist interventions take. Anthropology in activism rather than of activism, I will suggest, is a way of thinking activism in context using anthropological and interdisciplinary concepts. The tentative conclusion emerging out of this account of activism in the liminal, will unfortunately be one of pessimism and silence but I hope it will raise questions about the forms activism takes and should take, the consequences of activism for building new alliances and networks of solidarity and for generating new forms of repression and control.
Dates & times
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