Convenors: Caroline Gatt (University of Aberdeen), César Enrique Giraldo Herrera (InSIS)
Discussant: Tim Ingold
Throwing together ways of being/meaning: recursive anthropology at the cusp of a paradigm change [Roundtable]
In recent decades academia has increasingly acknowledged that disciplines are in need of reformulation in order to transcend rigid distinctions between natural and humanistic subjects of study. In anthropology this has taken two distinct but related forms. There is an unprecedented interest in taking seriously the onto/epistemologies of the people we work with. Consequently, we are acknowledging that nonhumans are creative and make sense of the world. In these projects it is the very constitution of an emergent world that is explored.
While perspectives are widening, anthropocentrism is often barely displaced, preserving the illusion that certain forms of agency and semiosis, such as symbols, are exclusively human. Simultaneously, the emphasis on language in anthropology has been a barrier to taking seriously other onto/epistemologies. However, an earlier sense of the verb "συμβάλλω (sumbállō) — to throw together, to unite their streams when referring to rivers, and paths, to collect, to come together, to meet, to join hands, to twist ropes…" suggests symbols might be more widespread than human exceptionalism allows for. We suggest that the growth of emergence ontologies in academia enables the fruitful throwing together of ecological communities/communities of knowledge, such as indigenous ways of knowing and artistic practice, that were previously considered incommensurable or irrelevant.
Oxford Examination School (75 - 81 High St, Oxford OX1 4BG)
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