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The words that slip off the page: dis-epistemology and the limits of knowing 
Mattia Fumanti (University of St Andrews)
Shakthi Nataraj (Lancaster University)
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Tuesday 23 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

What happens when the emotional engagements in the field overspill the genres and conventions of anthropological writing and we fail at being critically estranged? In building on Ben-Moshe’s powerful call for “dis-epistemology”, we aim to critically explore the limits of knowing in anthropology.

Long Abstract:

Ethnographic engagement in the “field” remains central to anthropology, and anthropologists are trained to remain critically estranged even as they immerse themselves in new relationships and environments. But what happens when the emotional engagements in the field overspill the genres and conventions of anthropological writing? What happens when our writing slips off the page, when we experience loves and wounds that cannot be analysed, and “fail” at being sufficiently critically estranged? Where would our words go and what would they become? Artwork? Poetry? Nonsense? Sounds? We are inspired here by Liat Ben-Moshe’s provocative call for “dis-epistemology,” or the value of “not knowing.” In contrast to the all-knowing masterful anthropologist-author who skilfully separates their fieldwork from theory, Ben-Moshe prompts us to think about how “not knowing” can “aid liberatory struggles, alleviat[e] oppression and…[be in] community with like-minded people in an ethical manner” (2014) In this panel we think about how might we create from a space of dis-epistemology, cultivating collective and caring academic communities in place of hyper-productive ones based on authorship and publishing? How can we honour the temporal and emotional rhythms of the anthropologists’ own experience, abandoning the false division between fieldwork and theory? We welcome papers and pieces in multiple formats and mediums that address the conditions of the production of anthropological work and interactively engage the audience, helping us all embrace a fuller account of how our love affair with anthropology impacts our emotional entanglements outside of it.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -