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What’s in a name? A reality check on recent claims and practices of decolonising anthropology 
Hanna Werner (Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt)
Markus Schleiter (University of Tübingen)
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Thursday 25 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

Our panel aims to ‘reality check’ recent calls for decolonisation. Is it possible to create truly decolonial research encounters and products within the current methodological and moral repertoire? Or does anthropology need to radically reinvent itself and reemerge with other voices leading the way?

Long Abstract:

The quest to decolonise anthropology and ethnography was already a prominent concern in the twentieth century, arguably peaking just before its turn (Clifford and Marcus 1986; Harrison 1991). Amidst of current material and epistemic inequalities it has again attracted the attention of many scholars, with some even suggesting a ‘decolonial turn’ in the discipline. With an explicitly moral approach, these developments question established ethnographic methods and challenge us to rethink research relationships and take collaboration seriously (Bejarano et al. 2019). Proposals include innovative practices of co-writing, activist/artistic collaborations, multimodal methods involving more than institutionally situated scholars, joint exhibitions with those whose cultural artefacts are on display, and the like. The question remains to what extent these ambitious goals are reflected in the current practice of research and its products.

Against this backdrop, we want to subject the well-intentioned calls to decolonisation to a ‘reality check’. To what extent do recent decolonial projects come to terms with historical hierarchies and inequalities, epistemic or otherwise? How can we ensure that the original quest for liberation is not sidelined in the name of ‘paper ethics’? As two white European scholars involved in collaborative projects, we invite anthropologists/activists/artists from diverse locations to share their experiences, but also to challenge our aims. Questions include but are not limited to: Are new forms of collaboration actually emerging, and if so, where? Are para-ethnographies (Marcus 2002) the way forward? How can we describe the moralities of de/colonial anthropology and how are they reflected in our research practice?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -