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Accepted Paper:

Digital returns: histories of anthropology and archives of the future in A’uwẽ lands  
Rosanna Dent (New Jersey Institute of Technology -- Rutgers Newark)

Paper short abstract:

What returns can history of anthropology offer to communities who have repeatedly been subjects of inquiry? Examining A’uwẽ-Xavante Elders’ perspectives, the challenges they pose to temporalities of history, and a collaborative digital archive project, this paper explores possible futures.

Paper long abstract:

"Return" has many meanings: a homecoming, a journey repeated, the profit of a long-term investment, the restoration of an object to its keeper. What returns can history of anthropology offer to communities and peoples who have repeatedly been objects or subjects of inquiry? Drawing on articulations from A’uwẽ-Xavante Elders of the importance of "knowing the history" of anthropologists and other scholars who have visited and documented them and their lands, our field's separation between historicist and presentist practice is unsettled. Past actions are still present in memories and material traces that bear political weight and might facilitate returns. This paper explores the challenges these Elders posed to temporal distinctions inherent in my methodology and conception of history, and a resulting digital archive project that opens up old materials and relationships for the composition of new histories. It considers the archive as a pluripotent tool for envisioning and reconfiguring research in the future as well as delineating limits of what non-A’uwẽ anthropologists and historians should know and do. I suggest we expand our category of historians of anthropology to include not only those practitioners who examine their field with a historical eye, but also the subjects of that research who understand, narrate, and use these histories in diverse ways; this offers new routes for thought and action.

Panel P51b
Past, Future, Responsibility: Towards More Engaged Histories of Anthropology
  Session 1 Wednesday 8 June, 2022, -