Accepted Paper:

Studying far right in a historical institute  


Agnieszka Pasieka (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

In my paper, I aim to share my experience of conducting an archival-ethnographic project in a historical institute. I would like to engage with methodological challenges of my project and with a question on what is the role of anthropologists and anthropology in different disciplinary settings.

Paper long abstract:

In October 2015, I began working as a research fellow in a historical institute, conducting a project on the far right in interwar and contemporary Central Eastern Europe. The project entails a combination of archival and ethnographic methods. In my paper, I present two aspects of this work, engaging with theoretical and methodological challenges that my new project brings as well as with a question on what is the - potential and actual -- role of anthropology and anthropologists in different disciplinary settings.

As to the first, I tackle the importance of "history and anthropology" approach, meaning not only a study aimed to integrate archival research with anthropological sensitivity to the complexities of cross-cultural relationships but a "joint" exploration of past and present developments. What I suggest is a reflection on the ways in which we can make a better sense of past and present phenomena and developments by studying them side by side and how they may provoke questions to/for each other.

As to the second, I consider anthropologists' interactions with other scholars. While the benefits of interdisciplinary dialog are taken for granted, I would like us to reflect to what extent such a dialogue may also lead to simplifications and detrimental compromises. In a way, it is question to what extent an anthropologist manages to sustain and promote anthropological expertise and to what extent what he/she does means performing a role "assigned" to anthropologists, according to often stereotypical views on what anthropologists purportedly know and do.

Panel Plenary C
Early Career Scholars Forum: anthropology in interdisciplinary settings