70th Hitotsubashi Anthropology Seminar - "Ontological Mythbusters"
October 22th, 2018 (Mon) 14:00-17:00
Venue: Research Conference Room (3rd floor) located in Faculty Building 3, Hitotsubashi University, East Campus (2-1 Naka, Kunitachi-shi, Tokyo)
Presenters: Morten A. Pedersen (University of Copenhagen) and Casper B. Jensen (Osaka University)
Abstract: The so-called ontological turn has been one of the most discussed and criticized methodological and theoretical developments within anthropology and science and technology studies over recent years. Drawing on ethnographic examples from Mongolia, Cambodia and Denmark, this talk chronicles the intellectual processes through which questions of ontology allowed the two of us, in different ways and different contexts, to provide new answers to analytical problems.
We illustrate with studies of the relationship between shamanic cosmology and post-socialist transition, and urban planning, infrastructure and nonhuman agency. Doing so, we explicate some of the central analytical moves of the ontological turn, while also paying attention to the divergence and convergence between different orientations to the ontological. We also aim to bust a number of widely circulating and popular myths including that ontology "is just another form of culture,” that the ontological turn entails a “new form of essentialism,” and that it is inherently apolitical and uncritical.
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