Accepted Papers:

Club Stone: collapsing the field-desk dichotomy  


Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen (Aalborg University)
Janne Flora (Aarhus University)

Paper Short Abstract:

The club stone is a rock where little auks reconvene several times during their life-time. Mirroring anthropological practices in the club stone, we show how a rock in Thule can move through time and space, and collapse the gap between field and desk.

Paper long abstract:

This paper unfolds around a biological phenomenon - the club stone - a rock where groups of little auks reconvene several times during a mating season, and year upon year. Kirsten Hastrup and the authors of this paper, became aware of this phenomenon during a cross-disciplinary expedition to The North Water polynya Area in the High Arctic of Greenland, also known as Avanersuaq or Thule.

We tell the story of discovery of the club stone, and by unfolding the layers of multi-species sociality and manifold meanings that we found, the paper examines the potentials and challenges implied when collaborating across species and disciplines, across academic hierarchies, and across colonial and ecological histories. Mirroring empirical and analytical practices of anthropology in the club stone, we shed light on the intimate and subtle attentions and attitudes through which anthropology approaches the world and generates powerful knowledge and statements, and we show how a stone on a talis slope in Northwest Greenland can conceptually move through time and space, and move anthropological subjectivities and insights on its way. By doing so, the gap between field and desk in anthropological knowledge-making, is collapsed.

Panel P054
Anthropology as a tool for discovery: celebrating Kirsten Hastrup's research and professional contributions on the occasion of her retirement