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Past, Future, Responsibility: Towards More Engaged Histories of Anthropology 
Fabiana Dimpflmeier ('Gabriele d'Annunzio' University of Chieti-Pescara)
Hande Birkalan-Gedik (Goethe Universit├Ąt)
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John Tresch (University of London)
Wednesday 8 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The panel invites historians of anthropology, as "responsible intellectuals", to reflect on how, and when, and using which kind of approaches and methodologies is necessary and desirable today to practice histories of anthropology that are also aimed at thinking about the future of human society.

Long Abstract:

Thucydides said: "You need to know the past to understand the present and orient the future". And yet, today, scholars of the histories of anthropology - unwittingly or intentionally - still often operate in the limits of "historicist" versus "presentist" approaches as defined by George W. Stocking Jr. What if the study of past is more positively embedded in the present than we customarily think, or desire, and this dichotomy is only alleged? What if, as historians of anthropology, we offer new ways to help understanding our present while promoting different ways of practising anthropology?

Stocking's initial formulation (1965) and his numerous revisits (1982, 1995) to "historicism" and "presentism" has ushered a series of methodological debates. Taken as "complementary" (Kuklick 2009; Dimpflmeier 2014; Birkalan-Gedik 2020), in fact, both perspectives can offer creative and discursive components to guide us towards new ways of doing history of anthropology: possibly, the "historically sophisticated and anthropologically informed' history of anthropology" already envisioned by Stocking (1982, XVIII).

In this panel, more than fifty years after Stocking's proposal, inspired by Gramsci (1949), Lanternari (1974), and Said (1993), we welcome historians of anthropology, as "responsible intellectuals", to reflect on how, and when, and using which kind of approach and methodology is necessary and desirable to practice our sub-discipline today. Eventually, how existing methodologies would need to change to be able to practice an anthropology of/for the future and allow historians of anthropology to better respond to challenges inside and outside the discipline?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 8 June, 2022, -