This event is free, but places must be booked in advance through Eventbrite.
This keynote addresses the theme of the conference by discussing the notion of ‘thinking alongside’, which has served as the strategy framing the engagement with creative works anthropologically in the recent books Realizing the Witch (2016) and Violence’s Fabled Experiment (2018) (both co-authored with Todd Meyers). The address will consist of three ‘movements’. First, an introductory discussion of what is meant by ‘thinking alongside’ and how this framework differs from approaches that seek to ‘positively’ occupy the ‘point of view’ of the interlocutor or object. Thinking alongside seeks to sympathetically preserve and critically engage the distance, non-transparency, and non-identity that exists between objects and persons, presuming that ethical relations or actions must be thought negatively, preserving others as others, rather than abstractly and generally assimilating others to ‘sameness’. Within this preface, concepts of distance and non-identity will be sharply distinguished from their common misuse in the present jargon of neo-fascist apologetics. Secondly, an example will be given via the critical engagement with filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer that is offered in Violence’s Fabled Experiment. Oppenheimer’s films, in presuming trauma as a universal essence via a simplistic, mendacious form of identification, in truth enacts primary forms of violence. This section will extend this argument to demonstrate the error of trying to understand peace and conflict through any mental act of convergence that unsparingly engulfs others within a fraudulent, egocentric sameness. Finally, strategies of ‘thinking alongside’ in more traditional fieldwork contexts will be discussed, particularly Pamela Reynolds’s recently published field diaries.
Delivered in partnership with Peace and Conflict Studies Anthropology Network (PACSA/EASA), this is one of 2 public keynote lectures as part of the PACSA 2019 conference entitled ‘Creativity, Resistance and Hope: Towards an Anthropology of Peace’. The conference will take place 3 to 5 October 2019. The programme consists of 9 panels with 52 papers in total, as well as 2 keynote lectures, 2 performances, a filmscreening, a workshop and a guided walking tour.
Register for the full conference here. Please note there is a registration fee of 60 Euro plus an extra 12 Euro for the walking tour.