This panel explores possibilities for reconfiguring academia through ethics of generosity. Emerging from the question—can we apply the same analytic generosity to academics and students as we do to fieldwork participants?—we invite papers exploring generosity in ethnographic and analytic settings.
Anthropological sentiments often require a high level of analytic generosity. During fieldwork we are often required to come to understand and participate in situations and practices that challenge us to leave behind our cultural and ethical preconceptions. To do so requires a level of generosity in analysis that is often not translated back to the way in which anthropologists engage with one another, or with other elements of the academy. The academy often appears to be configured as a site of agonistic or antagonistic competition between ideas. With the increasing neoliberalisation of higher education, this tendency seems to take on new forms. Here, we would like to explore the possibilities of reconfiguring academic practice and engagement through varying ethics of generosity. How might the production and development of knowledge be transformed through such ethical orientations? What possibilities would such ethics offer for a renewed vision of anthropology? And how might ethics of generosity better allow us to engage with contemporary social, political and economic challenges? The panel welcomes papers that approach the question of generosity, understood in the broadest sense, with a view to exploring the possibility of an ethics of generosity as a foundation for anthropological engagement in and beyond the field.