WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn112 )

The location of scholarship: anthropologist’s positionalities beyond radical alterity

Organizers

    Vinicius Kauê Ferreira

    Brazil

    Rio de Janeiro State University

    Online - Presence

    Subhashim Goswami

    India

    Shiv Nadar University

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Tuhina Ganguly

    India

    Shiv Nadar University

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

WCAA Affiliation: WCAA Academic Precarity Task Force

IUAES Affiliation: Migration

Keywords:

Epistemology, World Anthropologies, Alterities, Global South, Ethnography

Abstract:

This panel endeavors to critically engage with the intricate dynamics surrounding the decolonization of anthropological knowledge, spotlighting the epistemological challenges faced by anthropologists from the 'South.' Despite the ongoing discourse on decoloniality, the celebratory positioning of the 'South' as a locus of radical alterity remains a contentious issue. This panel seeks to unravel the complexities of this matter by scrutinizing the politics that confine the 'Southern' anthropologist to their geopolitical location. At the heart of our exploration is the critique of the international division of intellectual labor within the practice of Anthropology. The panel aims to delve into the ramifications of prescribed roles, particularly how they limit 'Southern' scholars. It also seeks to explore how these scholars navigate personal experiences and intellectual choices, examining the trajectories they may embark upon either when they work on their own countries while based in the northern hemisphere, or when they choose a fieldwork in the North. The panel invites papers that presents an understanding of the unique challenges faced by anthropologists from the 'South,' questioning the perceived radical alterity and the expectations imposed upon them. Through a nuanced examination of their experiences, we aim to move beyond the reification of radical alterity, fostering a discussion on the potential for a more inclusive 'Southern attitude.' In this sense, the ‘South’ is not understood here as a geographical location, but as complex, moral and ethical positionality. Thus, we also invite papers from scholars ‘from the North’ willing to engage in a critical debate on anthropological knowledge in a changing academic scenario. Key Themes for Exploration: The Epistemological Challenges of Anthropologists from the 'South': Unpacking the complexities and limitations associated with the perceived epistemological location of anthropologists in the 'South' and how it impacts their research and perspectives. Critiquing the International Division of Intellectual Labor in Anthropology: Investigating the power dynamics inherent in the international division of intellectual labor, with a focus on its impact on 'Southern' scholars and their agency in shaping anthropological knowledge. Experiences and Intellectual Choices in Southern Anthropology: Narratives and reflections on the personal experiences of 'Southern' anthropologists, exploring the factors that influence their intellectual choices and the challenges encountered in their academic journeys. Reimagining Anthropological Praxis beyond radical alterity: Proposing alternative frameworks and methodologies that go beyond the reified celebration of radical alterity, emphasizing interconnectedness and a more inclusive approach to knowledge production. The Concept of the "Frontier" as a Productive Framework for Knowledge Production: Introducing and exploring the concept of the "frontier" as a productive and collaborative framework for anthropological knowledge production that transcends geographical boundaries. This panel aspires to foster a robust dialogue that moves beyond existing paradigms, challenging assumptions and paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse anthropological landscape. We anticipate a rich array of contributions from scholars engaged in ethnographical work, each adding a unique perspective to the reimagining of ethnography and the symmetrization of anthropological knowledge.