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Doing and undoing grounds: rethinking the groundings of anthropocene anthropology 
Franz Krause (University of Cologne)
Tanya Richardson (Wilfrid Laurier University)
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Tuesday 23 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

Discussing the ways that grounds are constructed, heterogeneous and shifting, vulnerable to destruction and alienation, and acknowledging their potential power to shape what happens in, on, above and under them, this roundtable explores ways of understanding the ground of ethnographic research.

Long Abstract:

On what grounds do anthropologists and related researchers work? How do they ground their empirical studies and their theorising? And what happens if, upon closer inspection, the supposed solidity of the ground gives way to unstable, shifting and problematic textures? What happens in wartime when, as Svitlana Matviyenko writes, “the ground moves under our feet and so does our map? … One day it leads you out of a blockaded city, next day it betrays you”?

This roundtable brings together investigations, inspirations and initiatives that understand ground, groundedness, and loss of ground (groundlessness) in new ways. It reflects on an era characterised by widespread projects of doing and undoing grounds in multiple, and often highly problematic ways, including not only terraforming, extractivism, imperial and colonial wars, but also land-based resistance movements, renewed attention to Indigenous convictions about Country/The Land, and persistent repair work in war-damaged places. Producing new grounds and eroding others, these processes transform the composition and affordances of the earth’s surfaces, subterranean spaces, and atmospheres. Moreover, many practices that seemed firmly grounded turn out to be suspended in much wider circulations of matter and meaning. The more closely we focus on the ground itself, the more it seems to dissolve as a solid substrate and emerge as a contentious and unstable zone perpetually transformed by matter and living beings.

To kick off our roundtable discussion, we invite participants to bring an object, with the help of which to share a two-minute story about grounds, groundedness, and losing ground.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -