Höstens seminarieserie arrangeras av Paula Uimonen, Ivana Maček, Johan Lindquist och Erik Olsson. Listan uppdateras kontinuerligt.


Research seminar

Monday September 3, 13.00–14.30, B600
Christina Schwenkel, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside

The Intimacies of Infrastructure: A Poetic Encounter with Smokestacks in Vietnam

This talk examines postcolonial projects of electrification and the impulses embodied by the industrial smokestack, one of the most enduring signs of transnational energy infrastructure on the urban landscape in Vietnam. Around the world, smokestacks stand as once spectacular, now abject relics of the promise of industry and grand infrastructural projects. And yet smokestacks continue to hold persuasive power over populations, evoking a range of affective responses to technological objects and their embedded ideologies. In postcolonial Vinh City, north central Vietnam, the possibility of generating universal electricity for the masses underpinned the collective dream worlds of socialism that formed in the face of violent, recurring disruption. Drawing on archival and ethnographic materials, including poetry to commemorate the bombing of the Soviet-built power plant, I show how emotional investments in the resilient smokestack are constitutive of enduring social collectivities and infrastructural intimacies held together by breakdown and the labor of repair both during and after the air war.

Christina Schwenkel is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside and Director of the Program in Southeast Asian Studies (SEATRiP). Her book, The American War in Contemporary Vietnam: Transnational Remembrance and Representation (Indiana 2009), examines historical knowledge production and the geopolitics of commemoration. Schwenkel has conducted extensive ethnographic research in Vietnam and eastern Germany. Her publications have focused on visual technologies of Cold War memory, global architectural transfers, urban decay, and cultures of socialist planning expertise following the end of the US air war.

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.


Research seminar

Tuesday September 11, 13.00–14.30, B600
Christine Eber, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, New Mexico State University

Why would an anthropologist write a novel?

In her talk, Christine Eber, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at New Mexico State University, will explore her reasons for writing a novel based on her research in Chiapas, Mexico with Maya women and their families since the mid 1980s. Her previous publications include an ethnography, Women and Alcohol in a Highland Maya Town: Water of Hope, Water of Sorrow (1995); and a life story, The Journey of a Tzotzil-Maya Woman: Pass Well Over the Earth, co-authored with “Antonia” (2011). She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico where she is a founding member of Weaving for Justice, a volunteer organization that helps Maya weavers in Chiapas stay on their ancestral lands through selling their hand-woven textiles. Since retiring from teaching she has been writing poetry and volunteering in refugee shelters on the US/Mexico border. Her debut novel, When a Woman Rises, was published in August 2018 by Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, Texas.  Her other projects are described at www.christineeber.com.

From the foreword by anthropologist Diane Rus to When a Woman Rises:

“Why would an anthropologist decide to write a novel? Because Christine Eber is always pushing herself to help the rest of us understand the modern Tsotsil Maya people, people she has been learning from for over 30 years. What she describes in When A Woman Rises is not a static world of traditional people untouched by outside forces, but a community of men and women actively struggling to make their way in the world we all share, to live decent lives not only according to their interpretation of the lessons passed down to them but in response to the new challenges they must face each day. How can they promote peace and justice where so much inequality and violence exist? How can they survive economically when they don’t have access to necessary land or education? How can they do things differently without provoking the envy or hatred of neighbors? How can a woman rise in a way that helps men rise with her?”


CEIFO seminar

Thursday September 13, 14.00–16.00, B600
Anja Kublitz, Associate Professor, Aalborg University

The Rhythm of Rupture: Attunement among Danish Jihadists

Among my interlocutors, the Arab Spring of 2011 was received as a miracle that cut through the existing political order and called upon them to radically change their lives. From one day to the next, they gave up on their criminal careers, turned towards God and decided to travel to the Middle East to take up arms. The majority of young Danish jihadists have grown up in the context of Danish housing projects and in the shadow of their parents’ failed revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. Based on long-term fieldwork among immigrants in Denmark, this paper explores how my interlocutors attune to the recursive ruptures that always are new again. I argue that sometimes people’s lives are so marked by ruptures that any continuity has collapsed; sometimes ruptures only come as rhythms: as continuous repetition of potential radical change.

Anja Kublitz is an associate professor at the Department of Culture and Globalization, University of Aalborg. For the last ten years, she has worked on how conflicts reconfigure space and time and forge political subjectivities. Empirically, she has explored these questions through studies of Middle Eastern refugees in Denmark. Currently she is heading a research project entitled “Affective Events. An Anthropological Study of the Social Formation of Danish Foreign Fighters” and are part of another research project entitled “Escalation: a Comparative Ethnographic Study of Accelerating Change.” Her publications include “From Revolutionaries to Muslims: Liminal Becoming across Palestinian Generations in Denmark.” International Journal Middle East Studies. 2016, 48:64-86; and (with Lars Højer, Stine Simonsen Puri and Andreas Bandak) “Escalations: Theorizing sudden accelerating change.” Anthropological Theory 2018, 18(1):36-58.


Research seminar

Monday September 17, 13.00–14.30, B600
Karin Barber, Emeritus Professor, Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham

Doing fieldwork in the archive: print culture, publics and popular genres in colonial Lagos

A faded, crumbling collection of colonial newspapers might not seem to be the most fertile ground for ethnographic fieldwork. But if anthropology is interested in how new cultural things come into the world, and if ethnography is the best method for tracing their emergence, then fieldwork in an archive is not only possible but rewarding. The print culture of 1920s Lagos, Nigeria, was innovative and effervescent. Numerous new weekly and daily newspapers were started in this decade, responding to a growing literate population and a hectic political situation. Five of these papers were in the Yoruba language and sought to convene a wider audience than had previously been included in the Lagos reading public. They made extensive use of epistolary styles, recurrent serial formats, and intense modes of address to the reader. I will suggest that these characteristics lent themselves to creative experimentation, resulting in the establishment of several new genres – including the famous confessions of a fictional Lagos “harlot”, Sẹgilọla - the formation of which can be traced from week to week in tandem with a rapidly-evolving social and political situation. 

Karin Barber is Emeritus Professor of African Cultural Anthropology at the University of Birmingham and Centennial Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on Yoruba oral literature, popular theatre and print culture, and she has also done comparative work on popular culture and textual production across Africa. Her most recent books are Print Culture and the First Yoruba Novel (2012) and A History of African Popular Culture (2018).


Research seminar

Monday September 24, 13.00–14.30, B600
Nimmo Elmi, PhD student, Department of Thematic Studies (TEMA), Linköping University

Digitalisation of tax compliance: The case of iTax in Kenya

Developing countries are, like the rest of the world, shifting towards digitalising service delivery, with the aim of making public administration more efficient and effective. Most of these initiatives are endorsed by global initiatives aimed at bridging the developmental gap between developed and developing countries. This gap is often connected to socio-economic and political disparities. The implementations of these digital tax reforms in developing countries vary depending on the context. This seminar is concerned with the translations of global digital policies, focusing on iTax, an e-taxation platform used in Kenya. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Kenya, I analyse how iTax travels and gets translated in practice. I attend to how iTax shapes taxation and taxpayers in Kenya. What happens when these models travel and get adopted in the global south? Do they remain the same?

Nimmo Elmi is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Thematic Studies (TEMA), Linköping University. Nimmo does research in Anthropology, specifically in relation to technology and taxation. Her current project is ‘Digitalisation of tax compliance in Kenya’. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork and is writing a monograph about the impact of digitalising taxes in Kenya.



Research seminar

Monday October 1, 13.00–14.30, B600
Vicensia Shule, Dr.Phil., Department of Creative Arts, University of Dar es Salaam

Shrinking freedom of creative expression and artists’ struggles for alternative spaces in Tanzania

The election of John Pombe Magufuli in November 2015 as the fifth president of Tanzania was received with enthusiasm and expectation of better life and more freedoms. Magufuli was presented as the ‘savior’ who would crack down on rampant corruption and embezzlement of public resources. The ‘euphoria’ did not last long. On 26 January 2016 his government banned the live streaming of bunge (parliament) sessions. This was followed by a number of media bans through presidential speeches and ‘draconian’ legislations. Abductions, arrests and even torture of artists escalated. Use of social media was restricted and several artists were arrested for questioning president’s statements under what has been referred to as ‘sedition’.

The nature of censored acts has raised concern, why now? Where is the ‘free space’ for artists to ‘indulge’ with their creativity? Looking at a sample of unfolding events it is important to research further on the nature and the consequences of the imposed restrictions on arts and artists. This presentation not only assesses cases related to state control of arts and artists in mainstream and social media but also analyses the implication of state control on arts and artists. The observations reveal that state restrictions on freedom of expression are politically motivated and have consequences for the creative profession. Fear of abduction and torture, dismissal of ‘political’ content in the mainstream media, reduced incomes amongst artists are some of them. In order to ‘survive,’ artists have created survival mechanisms including refraining from producing works which seem to challenge the existing regime, compliance with the state propagated ‘moral’ dress codes as well as (re)joining ruling party membership.

Vicensia Shule is a senior scholar at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Dar es Salaam. She has researched and written extensively on matters related to arts, media, cultures, and gender in Tanzania and Africa. She is one of the prominent activists involved in the transformative feminist movement building in Tanzania and Africa. Currently she is on her sabbatical working on her new research in film and tourism in Tanzania.


CEIFO seminar

Monday October 8, 13.00–14.30, B600
Laura Machat-From, PhD, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University

Identity, Old(er) Age and Migrancy: A Social Constructionist Lens

Identity research in relation to ethnicity and migration has tended to focus on younger people whilst identity research in relation to ageing and old(er) age has not focused on migrants. This inadvertent mutual neglect has led to a lack of identity research that examines the identity categories of old(er) age and migrancy together, a lacuna that this dissertation aims to redress. This dissertation departs from a social constructionist understanding of identity as situationally accomplished in the interplay between how one defines oneself (internally) and how others define one (externally). The questions raised by this perspective and addressed in this dissertation are: When (in what situations) and in relation to whom do old(er) age and migrancy (respectively) seem to become meaningful for identification? How do the identity categories of old(er) age and migrancy seem to be negotiated? The empirical material consists of in-depth interviews with 24 older migrants (13 men, 11 women) aged between 55 and 79 who have been living in Sweden for 18 to 61 years. Interviewees come from 12 different countries that vary in perceived cultural distance from Sweden. The findings suggest that identifications with old(er) age and migrancy seem to be dynamic and flexible rather than necessarily permanently meaningful, thus gaining meaning in specific situations and in relation to particular Others. External definitions furthermore do not always seem to match with internal ones. Regardless of how old(er) age and migrancy are constructed, they seem to be negotiable. This dissertation thus contributes to identity research by studying old(er) age and migrancy together and furthermore sheds light onto how the social constructionist lens allows us to see variability where stability otherwise would be presumed.

Laura Machat-From earned her PhD in 2017 with her dissertation Identity, Old(er) Age and Migrancy: A Social Constructionist Lens. Besides her PhD in Ageing and Later Life from Linköping University, Laura holds a Master’s degree in Migration and Ethnic Studies from the University of Amsterdam and a BA in European Social and Political Studies from University College London. Her research combines the thematic areas of ageing and later life and migration and ethnic studies and draws upon both sociology and social anthropology. Whilst pursuing her PhD, Laura was editorial assistant and book review editor for International Journal of Ageing and Later Life.


Research seminar

Monday October 15, 13.00–14.30, B600
David Kloos, PhD, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

Female Islamic Authority and Cultures of Professionalism in Malaysia

In this seminar, David Kloos will discuss the roles of women in the Malaysian Islamic public sphere. He will focus on the intersections between, and mutual constitution of, religious authority and professional expertise. In the context of mass education, mass meditization, and a public sphere saturated with techno-political language, professional experts without Islamic (seminary) education – like doctors, lawyers, or psychologists – can successfully claim religious authority. Islamic preachers, meanwhile, are professionalizing their trade as they combine religious guidance and public performances with knowledge, skills and embodied practices associated with academic, medical and legal professions. David will use various examples to show how contemporary cultures of professionalism enable these women to engage with contentious religious debates. He will conclude by discussing some of the implications of this for the study of female Islamic authority as well as an emergent anthropology of expertise.

David Kloos is a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, The Netherlands. His main research interest lies in the history and anthropology of Islam in Southeast Asia. Recent publications include Becoming Better Muslims: Religious Authority and Ethical Improvement in Aceh, Indonesia (Princeton University Press, 2018) and Straying from the Straight Path: How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion (co-edited with Daan Beekers, Berghahn Books, 2018). His new book project deals with female Islamic authority and public communication in Malaysia.

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.


CEIFO seminar

Monday October 22, 13.00–14.30, B600
Aurora Massa, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Trento

Going back to an unknown place. Homemaking practices and experiences of (im)mobility of Ethiopian returnees from Eritrea

Recently (summer 2018), Ethiopia and Eritrea put an end to the “no war-no peace” situation that had lasted since the 1998-2000 border conflict. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the northern Ethiopian town of Mekelle, at the border with Eritrea, this talk looks back at the border conflict and explores the forced repatriation of Ethiopian communities from Eritrea that has occurred over the last decades. By analysing the returnees’ attempts to make a home in Mekelle, my aim is to critically address sedentaristic perspectives on return and to show how different (im)mobilities interlock. Indeed, due to numerous factors, i.e. separation from their “everyday-home”, the diffidence of the Ethiopian society, lack of humanitarian support, and their marginality within the Ethiopian imagined community, repatriation often proved difficult and painful, fuelling a feeling of being in transit. Looking back, the elderly frequently experienced a condition of estrangement. Their desire to return to Eritrea took the form of a social imaginary that guided them in the present and future. Looking ahead, many young people saw Ethiopia as a step toward Western countries. By playing with symbolic boundaries and legal labels, they turned their experiences from Eritrea into a mobility capital in order to take advantage of the current refugee regime. From these insights, this talk questions static interpretations of mobility, shedding light on how different mobility regimes intersect with migrants’ life stories and cautions against the use of concepts such as forced, transit and return migration.

Aurora Massa is a postdoctoral fellow at University of Trento and is specialized in medical anthropology and migration studies. She holds a MA in cultural anthropology from Sapienza-University of Rome, and earned her PhD at Bergamo University. Recently, she has studied mobility within and from the Horn of Africa, conducting extensive ethnographic research in Ethiopia on Eritrean refugees and Ethiopian returnees, and on transit migration in Italy. Her main fields of inquiry include travelling experiences, conditions of im/mobility, transnational family networks, social boundaries and youth cultures. She is also interested in the relationships between scientific categories and legal labels, and in the methodologies of qualitative research. As a post-doc, she is conducting research on the home-migration nexus in Italy, UK and Sweden, under the ERC-HOMInG research project.


Research seminar

Monday October 29, 13.00–14.30, B600
Elisa M. Lopez, PhD candidate, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University

Kiruna 4-Ever: Urban Planning for Displacement and Resettlement

Based on fieldwork in Kiruna and Stockholm, Sweden between 2012 and 2016, this presentation focuses on an in-progress dissertation chapter about the urban planning and design of New Kiruna, the first resettlement area for Kiruna residents forced to move due to earth deformations caused by underground mining. How did planning experts interpret the needs of the displaced and incorporate these into urban planning and design? This chapter takes as its foundation theoretical analytics of design, architecture, and the welfare state in order to understand the work of municipal planners and architects as sociocultural practice and response to mining-based displacement.

Elisa Maria Lopez is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Uppsala University. Her dissertation, “Ptarmigan and Iron: Mining, Displacement, and Social Transformation in Kiruna” (working title) explores the sociocultural dimensions of mining and impacts of ongoing mining-based displacement in the northern Swedish city of Kiruna.



Research seminar

Monday November 5, 13.00–14.30, B600
Lorenzo D'Orsi, Postdoctoral Visiting Researcher, Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS), Stockholm University

When silence talks. The moral landscape of leftist painful memories in Turkey

Drawing on an ethnography carried out in Istanbul, this talk examines the experience of silence in Turkish former revolutionaries’ families, the main victims of the 1980-1983 military coup, and challenges the universal model of traumatic silence, which overshadows local conceptualizations of the self. In Turkey, the 1980 coup was a political, cultural and generational watershed that dismantled leftist organizations through incarcerations and tortures. For leftist movements and families, the 1980 coup is the biographical and political tragedy upon which a mnemonic community is built. They are still in a counter-hegemonic position compared to official historiography, but have built a “strong memory” codified through the figure of revolutionary martyrdom.

Within leftist families, silence and secrecy are common, even when past is told. On the one hand, silence is the consequence of the painful experiences lived by former militants; on the other hand, it cannot be reduced to the pre-cultural mechanism of unspeakable trauma. Domestic silence and secrecy should be understood in relation to the present and not to the past: they do not prevent emotional interactions but are a practical knowledge through which parents teach to second generations to perform a specific self in a still repressive public space. Moreover, silence over personal issues stands also in relation to a morality of “not saying”: it is part of a poetics of the self that is bound to the ethos of revolutionary fighter, whereby “telling is almost like crying”.

This talk also focuses on generational gap, and shows how second generations often re-read their parents’ silence according to global memory frames, interpreting it as a “traumatic” element. For new generations, the language of trauma is a familiar cultural idiom which also allows them to extend social solidarity and partly break their marginality in an over-politicized memory field.

Lorenzo D’Orsi received his PhD in cultural anthropology at the University of Milano Bicocca, and is currently postdoctoral visiting researcher at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies. His research focuses on the intergenerational memory transmission of political violence, the social construction of trauma, and new social movements in Turkey. He is the winner of the Best Young Scholar Prize 2017 of SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) for the article “Trauma and the politics of memory of the Uruguayan dictatorship”, published in the Latin American Perspectives (2015) and based on his graduate research in Uruguay. For his PhD research he has received the Prix International Fondation Auschwitz 2017.


Research seminar

Monday November 12, 13.00–14.30, B600
Alf Hornborg, Professor, Department of Human Geography, Lund University

Political ecology and posthumanism: are they compatible?

In anthropology the concept of political ecology is associated with Eric Wolf and his Marxist perspective on the political economy of human-environmental relations. The common denominator of studies in political ecology is the focus on how human-environmental relations are intertwined with relations of power and unequal distribution. Like Marxist approaches in general, the perspective of political ecology assumes a critical realist ontology and the existence of an objective reality that can be studied with the ambition of accomplishing increasingly valid and emancipatory representations. The so-called posthuman turn in anthropology – with Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, and Marisol de la Cadena as prominent proponents – also presents itself as critical and subversive of modernity but assumes a relativist ontology that in practice precludes rigorous critique of the worldview associated with neoliberal capitalism. Posthumanists are inclined to advocate premodern worldviews instead of subjecting the modern worldview itself to critical cultural analysis. They tend to endorse a universal human inclination toward fetishism and magic rather than reveal the forms of fetishism and magic that are prevalent in modern society. This seminar presentation invites discussion about how the anthropological propensity to deconstruct and defamiliarize our modern categories can be combined with the ambition of political ecology to offer an alternative and radically critical narrative.

Alf Hornborg is an anthropologist and Professor of Human Ecology at Lund University. He is author of The Power of the Machine (2001), Global Ecology and Unequal Exchange (2011), and Global Magic (2016) as well as editor of several volumes at the interface of anthropology, environmental history, and political ecology. He has recently completed a monograph to be published by Cambridge University Press called Nature, Society and Justice in the Anthropocene.


Research seminar

Monday November 19, 13.00–14.30, B600
Bengt G. Karlsson, Professor and Annika Rabo, Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Seedways. The anthropology of seeds and plants in a warming world

Human history is fundamentally a multispecies story and through seeds we seek to trace such relations and inter-dependencies between humans and plants. Seeds are being dispersed in various ways, here we look especially on how humans consciously engage with seeds; selecting, breeding, exchanging and storing seeds, and how seeds are brought along when people travel or migrate. Through seeds we hope to explore the cultural and sensorial or affective connections between people, plants, and places. Seeds are often also used as metaphors or tropes of possibilities, hope and aspirations that are inherent, yet not fully realized, in the present. Seeds also brings us to critical political questions about control over the material basis of our existence, that is, the main food crops.

In this seminar we will report from a recent symposium on human-seed relationships that we are organizing and through which we seek to develop a larger environmental anthropology/multispecies research project at the department.

Bengt G. Karlsson’s main research interest relate to the larger issue of society-environment interface, with particular focus on the politics of ethnicity and environment in India. Most recently he has completed a project with Dr. Dolly Kikon (Melbourne University) on indigenous migration in Northeast India (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). The main publication of the project is the book Leaving the land: Indigenous Migration and Affective Labor in India (forthcoming Cambridge University Press). Most recently Karlsson is leading a project entitled “Assam Tea, Kenya: The Travel of Seeds, Clones and Science Between India and Kenya” (funded by The Seed Box: A Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory); with British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), Nairobi, and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati.

Annika Rabo has carried out fieldwork and participated in, or has been responsible for, research projects in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia focusing on development and development projects, water resource use, state and citizen relations, education and education systems, family law, migration and relations between ‘majority’ and minority. Between 2016-2018, Rabo is project leader for the Formas funded multidisciplinary project “Time and development in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia”. The aim of the project is to augment our knowledge of longitudinal development processes through studying traces and memories of a land conservation project in Tunisia twenty years after its termination. The concept time geography is an important theoretical glue in the project and will be used as an overarching concept to unite together the methods and theories of social and natural sciences which will be used in the research project.


Research seminar

Monday November 26, 13.00–14.30, B600
Astrid Bredholt Stensrud, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo

Making the Water Flow: Singularity and Multiplicity in a Peruvian watershed

Water as a finite resource that needs to be properly managed has gained increased attention in the past few years. Simultaneously, watersheds are being consolidated as units of management by the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), which is the current global water paradigm promoted by the United Nations and the World Bank. As IWRM is implemented around the world, water is primarily seen as an economic resource that should be used efficiently. This paper will challenge hegemonic understandings of ‘water’ and ‘watersheds’ by showing that watersheds are not stable and entirely ‘natural’ entities. It takes a lot of work to make water flow, and watersheds are constituted by a plurality of water practices, which also produce diverse versions of water and different yet entangled and partially connected water worlds.

The urge to master nature, including water, entails transforming water into a singular, standardized and legible resource by measuring, regulating and enclosing it. However, as water refuses to be contained within a standardized definition, it constantly multiplies. I argue that there is a need to take this excess and multiplicity seriously in order to achieve a fuller understanding of water and watersheds. I suggest that water is not a neutral substance: water can become different things in different practices and relationships, and can thus exist in different versions, including as a living being.

Based on the ethnography from the Majes-Colca watershed in the region of Arequipa, the paper will discuss the differences and entanglements between ‘water extractivism’, which aims to singularize and standardize water into the category of ‘resource’, and ‘water multiplicity’, which allows different versions of water to coexist. I propose to go beyond the conventional perspectives of political ecology and political economy in order to see nature – including water – as something more than a resource.

Astrid B. Stensrud holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Oslo. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, where she has taken part of the project “Overheating: the three crises of globalisation”. Her research interests focus on human-environmental relations, world-making practices, climate change, water, kinship and informal economy in the Peruvian Andes. She has published several articles on these topics in journals such as Ethnos, History and Anthropology, Latin American Perspectives, and Social Anthropology, in addition to various chapters in edited books.



CEIFO seminar

Monday December 3, 13.00–14.30, B600
Michaela Benson, Reader, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

From relative privilege to relative precarity: tracing Brexit’s differential impacts on Britons living in the EU-27

Brexit – a predominantly legal process – changes the terms by which the estimated 900,000* British citizens living in the EU-27 live their lives, and the structures that have, until now supported their migration and settlement. This paper argues that Brexit makes visible the hetereogeneity of this British population and in particular, how the structural privileges that they hold as British citizens are reframed through this moment of contemporary social, economic and political transformation. As I argue, Brexit brings to light the relative precarity of some overseas British citizens as the differential impacts of their shifting legal status are felt. In bringing together relative privilege and relative precarity, and identifying how these variously scale in respect to one another, this paper turns back on the question of who are the British who live in the EU-27 and what might Brexit variously mean for their lives?

*While these are the official estimated provided by the Office for National Statistics, and as Karen O’Reilly (2018) has argued, the numbers of British citizens living and/or working in the EU-27 are likely much higher than this.

Dr. Michaela Benson received a PhD in sociology and social anthropology from the University of Hull. Her thesis was the first ethnographic study of UK citizens living in rural France, and focused on migration, identity, and belonging. Michaela joined Goldsmiths in 2013 after working at the universities of York and Bristol. She is internationally renowned for her contributions to the sociology of migration, and her research on the class, home, identity and belonging. Michaela is currently a research leader for the project BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the lives of Britons resident in the European Union funded by the UK in a Changing EU. This project examines the implications of Brexit for Britons resident in other European Union member states and their lived experiences as it unfolds.


Research seminar

Monday December 10, 13.00–14.30, B600
Sara Asu Schroer, PhD, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen

Sentinels of disaster: On precarious avian lifeworlds in the Anthropocene

This paper presents an initial exploration into questions of species (de)-extinction. It will draw on current debates on domestication, multi-species ethnography and the Anthropocene to connect observations of human-bird intimacies in the domestic breeding of birds of prey with the environmental history of the fate of bird species in time of rapid environmental change. The focus will be on the historical trajectory of the peregrine falcon in Europe and North America. This takes us from a time of near extinction of the species, mainly due to the use of pesticides in industrial agriculture, to its status as a key-stone species in conservation. Once bred in captivity birds were released back into the wild, albeit still closely monitored through intrusive management methods, as well as radio tracking, to ensure their survival. The crux of the paper lies in the paradox that the growing concern of the species' survival in the wild has ultimately led to its domestication. Drawing avian lifeworlds ever more closely into an interdependency with humans and their care. Through complicating straightforward boundary drawing between categories of the wild and domestic, the cultural and the ecological, this paper raises questions surrounding livability and what it means for a species to flourish in the Anthropocene.

Dr. Sara Asu Schroer is currently affiliated with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, having recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship as part of the interdisciplinary ERC funded project Arctic Domus at the same institution. Building on her Ph.D. on hunting in collaboration with birds of prey (falconry), her post-doctoral research was concerned with questions of avian domestication and the event of captive breeding of raptors. Having considered questions of more-than-human learning, knowledge formation, sociality and intimacy through her ethnographic material, she is now concerned with the broader ecological relationships that intertwine human and avian lifeworlds in a time of rapid environmental change and extinction. She is co-editor of Exploring Atmospheres Ethnographically published with Routledge in 2018 and is convener of the EASA network Humans and Other Living Beings.


Research seminar

Monday December 17, 13.00–14.30, B600
Christina Fredengren, Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University

Checking in with Deep Time: Intragenerational Justice and Care

This lecture deals with issues of how to better re-tie material and immaterial knots between past, present and future generation. Is this an issue of how to become better multi-species ancestors to future generations. The paper deals with what we can call Deep Time interventions, but also the politicization of the long-term within natural/cultural heritage sectors. It focuses on how encounters with deep time materialities may act and shape engagement with climate and environmental issues. The case-study comes from Linköping, where a garbage plant is located on an early iron age sanctuary, where different entangled time-bounds give way (and become sacrificed), to give way for others. Here comes a sacrificial ethic – that can be scrutinized with the assistance of critical posthumanist feminist thinking.

Docent Christina Fredengren, from the Archaeological Research Laboratory at SU is a founder of Stockholm University Environmental Humanities network together with Claudia Egerer and Karin Dirke. As Scientific Leader of Deep Time at the SeedBox at Linköping University and affiliated researcher at the Posthumanities hub her research deals with archaeology, heritage and matters of intra-generational care. In particular matters around human-animal relations, sacrifice and water comes to the front in her current research projects (such as the Waters of the Time (VR funded) and Checking-in-with-Deep time (Formas funded).