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Plenary B

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Colonial legacies, Decolonial Struggles, and New Authoritarianism and Solidarities on the Rise: responses of anthropology in/of the postsocialist and postcolonial peripheries of Europe [EASA Exec] 
Prem Kumar Rajaram (Central European University)
Mariya Ivancheva (University of Strathclyde)
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Mary Taylor (CUNY)
Margit Feischmidt (Center for Social Sciences (Hungarian Academy of Sciences))
Nora El Qadim (University Paris 8 CRESPPA-LabTop)
Rosana Pinheiro Machado (University College Dublin)
Start time:
24 July, 2020 at
Time zone: Europe/Lisbon
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

The plenary rethinks anthropology in and beyond Europe and considers how disciplinary hierarchies are reinforced.This requires concerted effort to create new spaces to counter structures and practices that reinforce hierarchies. Speakers will engage with anthropology’s margins and marginalisations

Long Abstract:

This panel emerges out of two converging moments. One is the call of the conference, that asks us to critically rethink anthropology’s role in and beyond Europe and to consider the way that disciplinary hierarchies are reinforced despite ongoing critical discussions. The other follows on from this, and reflects current discussions within the EASA Executive Committee: that this rethinking also requires a concerted effort to create new kinds of spaces for these topics in order to do justice to them and to attempt to counter structures and practices within the discipline that reinforce old hierarchies. The aim is to make a start in this direction by recognising, challenging and analysing these conventions and hierarchies within the plenary panel.

While prone to bouts of retrospection and self-critique, like any other discipline anthropology has a tendency to reinvigorate its core. How could we rethink the knowledge production of the discipline and challenge its tendency to reinforce hierarchies?

What might it mean to think anthropology from its contemporary peripheries or margins? The reinvigoration of a disciplinary core is dependent on a specific relation with the margins it generates, both in terms of geographic location and subject focus. The aim of this plenary is to both shed light on and explore this relation between core and periphery.

Key themes include, but are not limited to:

+ How can anthropologies, including anthropologies of non-core regions, contribute to the understanding of new forms of nationalism and populism, as well as of authoritarian regimes. How how do we do that, as new authoritarianisms are threatening the very existence of anthropology as a discipline and perhaps might produce encapsulation that does not allow for internal critique and transformation within the discipline?

+ Tensions between postsocialist and postcolonial in decoloniality narratives, especially within Europe; questions of historical reparation, and questions of racialisation and racism that can look quite different in different parts of Europe: how should anthropology participate in these discussions? Does the particular history of the discipline, its engagement with otherness, and the directions that academic funding and resources flow reinforce boundaries and hierarchies in anthropology? If so, how might this cycle effectively be challenged?

+ What are new spaces and networks of solidarity emerging as a result of these new political, economic and social configurations? How do we as anthropologists, or as scholars engaged in the intersection of academic and political work, and often working in more than one discipline, respond in a meaningful way to these mobilisations?

+ Portugal - and other core European ‘cradles of anthropology’’s - position/s as former colonial powers, still working on coming to terms with their colonial legacy, while - in the case of Portugal in specific - simultaneously also located at the European periphery with a recent history of dictatorship. How can we approach the multiple and even contrary histories and politics of the geography where the EASA2020 conference is held?

Accepted papers:

Session 1