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P049


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Uncomfortable ancestors: anthropology (not) dealing with totalitarian regimes 
Convenors:
Fabiana Dimpflmeier (University of Pisa)
Reinhard Johler (University Tuebingen)
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Format:
Panels
Sessions:
Wednesday 22 July, 8:30-10:30, 11:00-13:00 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel invites papers that explore the involvement of anthropology and folklore studies in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in Europe (and beyond). The aim is to generally reassess neglected phases of the history of anthropology and to stimulate their acknowledgment and re-elaboration.

Long Abstract

In identifying its forerunners and writing past histories, anthropology has had the tendency to select certain wholesome characters and moments, whilst neglecting others considered awkward or less appealing. On the other hand, a (positive) self-reflexive critique has often pointed the finger at colonial or political compromise without embracing the complex, conflictual and nuanced standpoints in the history of our discipline. In this panel, we are interested in better understanding the "shadows" of anthropology and include in its history the less explored phases and harsher personalities of our discipline: its "uncomfortable ancestors".

In particular, we invite papers that reflect on the involvement of anthropology and folklore studies in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in Europe and beyond (Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Francoist Spain, Salazarist Portugal, Kemalist Turkey, etc.). We are interested in how and how deeply anthropology was involved not only with (racial) ideology, propaganda and consensus policies, but also with everyday practices, representations, material culture and folklore, i.e. in the construction and maintenance of a specific culture.

The aim of the panel is to break the ashamed silence or total neglect of the relationship between anthropology/folklore studies and authoritarian/totalitarian regimes in order to stimulate a deeper understanding of it. In a healthy dynamic of scientific growth, we think to be essential for anthropology to identify and reassess the "dark side" of its past choices and endeavours in order to stimulate their lacking or failed acknowledgment and re-elaboration.

Accepted papers:

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