Risk, survival, trauma, globalization, technology, security – each in its different way is tied to the contests and claims of an uncertain future, an embattled present or an un-mastered past. Anthropology, as a particular mode of engagement with the world, attempts to understand the ways in which these overarching phenomena fold into the weave of everyday life. The graduate students of the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University invite papers for future/tense, a student conference addressing notions of time and politics.
Time/politics. Foregrounding the question of time confronts anthropology with a complex set of issues, forcing us to rethink several conceptual frameworks internal to the discipline and related to the stakes of the political. Linear conceptions of time and received notions of subjectivity that frame time-as-interiority/space-as-exteriority both require reconsideration, as does the anthropological faith in the veracity of face-to-face relations, seemingly grounded on a trusting relation between time and simultaneity. Being in the same place at the same time is to inhabit the same present: is this the necessary presupposition that underlies the practice of fieldwork?
Time/politics. Political anxieties are folded in the question of time. How do figures of the future at hand – as the repetition of the same, redemption, apocalypse, and an unpredictable newness – emerge as defining characteristics of a political time? And how do these political stakes of time enter the making of anthropology? These questions are acute in a world seemingly torn between technological-military utopias of a present secured at all costs, and the mourning of an agency lost in places literally or symbolically devastated.
What alternatives do our particular truth-making practices offer to seeing time as a catastrophe, events piling up on a present in ruins, or as a triumphal parade? How might anthropology receive the notions of hope and despair? It is the aim of this conference to take up these issues, addressing our orientations towards time and delineating the possibilities engendered by the political horizon(s) that we move with.
The conference will be held at the Homewood Campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD on February 28th, 2004. Abstracts of no more than 250 words will be accepted until January 5, 2004. We are open to contributions from all disciplines and encourage innovative modes of presentation. All correspondence should be sent via email. Abstracts will be evaluated and participants will be notified of acceptance via email by January 15, 2004. Limited funds are available for travel and lodging will be provided for all participants.
Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
404 Macaulay Hall, 3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
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