Happy to announce that during the following months of my absense from my position, Mateusz Laszczkowski, political anthropologist and an old friend of mine, will substitute for my professorship at the University of Konstanz.
During the coming summer term, Mateusz Laszczkowski, who is based at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw, is going to teach courses in political anthropology. He works on the anthropology of the state, activism, infrastructure and affect. His areas of research are Kazakhstan and Northern Italy. You can see his latest documentary “The Site. Building Resistance” here.
Mateusz will offer a seminar on “The introduction to the anthropology of activism” (BA-level) and two seminars in our new Master programme “Anthropology and Sociology” on the topics of “Politics in Infrastructure: Power, Economy, Society (PIPES)” and “From Zapatismo to Occupy: Anthropologies of Contemporary Radical Activism.”
Unser Masterstudiengang “Ethnologie und Soziologie” ist nun ein Jahr alt – und hat sich bewährt. Wir haben uns innerhalb eines Jahres verdoppelt und in diesem Jahr auch personelle Verstärkung in Dr. Maria Lidola bekommen, die eine Lecturer-Stelle mit 12 Semesterwochenstunden inne hat und einen Großteil der Methodenausbildung übernimmt.
Sie ist ausgewiesene Expertin für Gender, Migration und labor/work und arbeitet in Lateinamerika (Brasilien) und mit MigrantInnen aus Lateinamerika in Deutschland.
Der Masterstudiengang ist der einzige in Deutschland, bei dem qualitative Soziologie und Ethnologie gemeinsam studiert werden können. Unsere Themenschwerpunkte aus der Ethnologie liegen in der Politik- und Rechtsethnologie, der Religionsethnologie und der Migrationsethnologie. Aus der qualitativen Soziologie wird Expertise aus den Bereichen der Kultursoziologie, hier vor allem der Interaktionsforschung und der Ethnomethodologie, beigesteuert. Studierende können sich im Laufe ihres Studiums spezialisieren, profitieren aber von Seminaren aus beiden Fachrichtungen.
Der Studiengang ist stark methodenorientiert und leitet Studierende an, eigene Forschung durchzuführen. Diese wird vorbereitet, begleitet und nachbereitet.
Im Anschluss an ein erfolgreiches Masterstudium steht einem Beginn in der Praxis oder aber einer anschließenden Promotion nichts im Wege!
Alle weiteren Informationen sind auf der Homepage der Ethnologie in Konstanz zu finden.
Direkt zur Bewerbung geht es hier.
“Tradition” has frequently been invoked in the context of Central Asian nation-building projects and there has been a tendency to investigate it “from above” by focusing on elites, political actors in powerful positions, and intellectuals who are often encouraged or urged to perform and write in the name of the nation. This body of literature has yielded important insights into the rational motivations behind invoking “tradition”. In this workshop, we aim to transcend this body of scholarly literature by offering exciting new anthropological research that complicates the assumption that state power can and will monopolize tradition. Practices of traditionalization can thus be both inclusive and exclusive, integrative as well as divisive. While elites might be imposing their views and interests and try to force others to accept them as the (new) rules of the game, demotic actors always have the capacity to re-interpret and challenge top-down models. Investigating tradition from the perspective of practice allows one to study how tradition comes into being in the first place, how it gets legitimized but also how it is challenged, refuted or claimed.
In a workshop on November 16-18 2017, a group of Central Asia scholars came together to discuss a special issue we are intending to submit to Central Asian Survey (CAS) on practices of traditionalization. Tradition does matter in Central Asia: it aggregates people, motivates individual and collective action, informs policy, public debates, law, and representation, and is – despite its often enough strategic inception – affectively powerful. Hence, working from the understanding that there are no structural differences between the inventions of demotic actors and those of elites, we focus instead on the practical ways in which tradition is put to use, by whom and for what ends.
Continuing to highlight the importance of tradition in ongoing nation-building processes, the attention of our special issue will lie on the ‘everydayification’ (paraphrasing Weber’s Veralltäglichung) of tradition, in arenas ranging from political demonstrations (Beyer and Kojobekova), industrial workers’ gatherings (Trevisani), UNESCO meetings (Coskun), local councils (Gonzales), institutions of religious education (Müller), minority communities (Ptackova), the household (Cleuziou), and even the internet (Kudaibergenova). Stay tuned!
In 2018, I will spend one month as Associate Research Director (Directeur d’Études Associés) at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH) in Paris.
The Fernand Braudel Associate Directorship is an international mobility programme at Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris (FMSH) (for more information see here). It has been created in 1975 upon the initiative of Fernand Braudel.
During my stay, I will give lectures at the Collège de France (EHESS/CNRS), the Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBAC), and the Centre d’Étude des Mouvements Sociaux (CEMS-IMM) while continuing to write my book on ethno-religious communities in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon. Ideally, I will just have returned from follow-up research in Myanmar, with fresh insights from the field.
Thanks to Prof. Stéphane Dudoignon, Dr. Yazid Ben Hounet and Prof. Baudouin Dupret for supporting my application!
The German Research Foundation (DFG) has granted 4 PhD positions at the University of Konstanz for a joint comparative research project on “Activist becomings in South Africa and Myanmar.“ I will supervise 2 PhD projects on Myanmar while my colleague, Thomas Kirsch, will supervise two projects on South Africa. We hope that the outcomes will provide new knowledge concerning practices of democratic participation in the midst of urban and postcolonial crisis.
The project is definitely a precious contribute to the infrastructural turn and could serve as a model of research in very different parts of the world and in different social and political circumstances (anonymous reviewer)
With a focus on material and non-material infrastructure, our project seeks to provide new theoretical and methodological tools to study political formations, thereby contributing to an anthropology of activism, infrastructural studies, political anthropology, anthropology of democracy and African and Asian studies. The research project explicitly seeks to disseminate knowledge and build bridges between scholarly research and activism – something I am really excited about!
This week I published a post in openDemocracy on Myanmar and its “State Counsellor” Aung San Suu Kyi that focuses not on the horrific situation we are currently observing from the safety of our screens, but on our own expectations and imaginaries that we have regarding leader-figures in general and female politicians in particular:
Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi. 2011. Wikimedia Commons.
“In the case of Myanmar, we are in danger of reducing a complicated reality to an imaginary that we try to bring into being through sheer desire. We attribute the qualities required to make change possible to a person who is then expected to be both saintly and powerful. That person is thus saddled with the impossible task of doing what is morally just, while at the same time acting strategically in order to maintain the power required for any sort of political action.”
In the article I further list three reasons why Aung San Suu Kyi’s saintly status has become a burden to her and argue that when we are demanding Aung San Suu Kyi to both embody the state and continue to ‘do the right thing’ we delude ourselves by projecting qualities onto politicians who have no intention of embodying them.
Read the full article here.
co-organized by Judith Beyer (Konstanz) and Madeleine Reeves (Manchester).
The last three years have seen a flourishing of anthropological and historical monographs on Central Asia. We propose an innovative workshop format that seeks to launch several of these recent monographs and to use a discussion of their findings as a basis for reflection on the future of Central Asian studies. The workshop will facilitate a series of focused discussions that emerge from bringing the texts into conversation with one another.
How can material from Central Asia inform conceptual debates about order, knowledge, modernity, empire, religion and resources in the widest sense? What can be gained from drawing together anthropological and historical scholarship on law and empire, or dynamics of peace and conflict? How can we better integrate the history and anthropology of Afghanistan to allow comparison with the rest of Central Asia? The book panel discussions will be videotaped and edited versions of these discussions will be made available to an international audience.
For a full programme see here.