Vårens seminarieserie arrangeras av Shahram Khosravi och Rasmus Rodineliussen. Listan uppdateras kontinuerligt.


CEIFO Webinar: Urbanization in precarious times - Critiquing development in “transitional” Myanmar

CEIFO webinar with Stephen Campbell, School of Social Science at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Datum: 13 September 2021, 13.00 -  14.30
Plats: Zoom

The February 2021 coup in Myanmar has exposed a deep divide in the country’s oppositional politics. On the one hand, ardent supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy call for a restoration of pre-coup politics. On the other hand, radical students, ethnic minority populations, and other domestic critics maintain strong opposition to the pre-coup arrangement—the so-called “transition” spanning 2011 to 2021. Given this divergence, I stress the enduring need, in the current post-coup moment, for a sober critique of the country’s pre-coup political economy. I draw, therefore, in this presentation, on ethnographic research I conducted in Myanmar from 2016 to 2019 to interrogate the political economy of the so-called transition, as experienced by rural-to-urban migrants residing at a squatter settlement on Yangon’s industrial outskirts. I argue that enduring modernist claims by international actors operating in Myanmar served to legitimate a development agenda that pushed villagers out of rural areas in the name of efficiency and economic growth but left them dependent on a fragile economic arrangement with no effective public supports. For hundreds of thousands of rural-to-urban migrants, the result has been extreme economic vulnerability, which the Covid-19 economic downturn and post-coup industrial contraction have only exacerbated.

The webinar is co-organised by the Department of Social Anthropology and Stockholm Center for Global Asia, Stockholm University.

The Future of Migration Control

Research seminar with Dr. Peter Mancina, Researcher in the Department of Social Anthropology and the Global Foresight Project at Stockholm University.

Datum: 20 september 2021 13:00 - 20 september 2021 14:30
Plats: Zoom

This talk will discuss how various national immigration control agencies in Europe imagine the future and are planning for it now. While these visions remain firmly rooted in the unending persistence of the nation-state and national borders, it will bring these visions into conversation with a hypothetical open-borders or no borders future made thinkable by the mobility control governance model known as a "sanctuary city" or "sanctuary state" in the United States. Sanctuary cities and states are governments at the local, county, or state level that pass laws to limit the instances when local government workers may assist federal immigration enforcement agencies in locating, detaining, arresting, and deporting non-citizens. These laws also disallow local government service agencies from conditioning services and benefits on the basis of citizenship status. This talk draws from interviews with immigration agency officials in Iceland, Estonia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia, and ethnographic fieldwork in the sanctuary city San Francisco, California.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Peter Mancina is Researcher in the Department of Social Anthropology and the Global Foresight Project at Stockholm University. He is Visiting Scholar at Rutgers Law School Center for Immigration Law, Policy, and Justice, and Research Associate at the University of Oxford Centre for Criminology and Border Criminologies program. His work has examined the manner in which “sanctuary city” and “sanctuary state” policies in the United States operationalize, moralize, and normalize local law enforcement protocols for assisting immigration enforcement authorities in deporting individuals convicted of crimes. Dr. Mancina is writing a book titled Governing Mobility: Sanctuary City and the Future of Municipal Government examining three decades of local experimentation with implementing sanctuary city policies in San Francisco, California. 

Fear, Reverence and the Fence: Human-animal relationships along the Northeast India-Bangladesh Border. 

Datum: 27 september 2021 13:00 - 27 september 2021 14:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/62275305361

Research seminar with Malini Sur, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Western Sydney University

Against a background of violence and India's construction of one of the world's longest and most highly militarized border fences with Bangladesh, border troops, borderlanders, and animals share dense relationships of trust and fear. Reverence and avoidance especially define the relationship that Garo indigenous villagers have with elephants and troops in order to mitigate danger and the prevalent atmosphere of fear. Instead of being instrumental or superficially transactional, the deference that villagers demonstrate – and which find expression in coded vocabularies of co-existence – emerge from a sense of respect out of fear and shared dependence on resources and products. Fear realigns the senses and social agility; fear forges vigilant minds and bodies. This talk explores the changing landscapes of animosity and dependency along the Northeast India-Bangladesh borderlands. I show how India’s new border apparatus ensures the morphing of powerful troops and elephants from familiar forces of protection and destruction into unstable forces who damage landscapes and destroy livelihoods.

Malini Sur is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Western Sydney University. She is the author of Jungle Passports: Fences, Mobility, and Citizenship at the Northeast India-Bangladesh Border (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). She has published in Cultural Anthropology, Comparative Studies in Society and History and Modern Asian Studies. Photographs from her fieldwork on South Asia's borders have been exhibited in Amsterdam, Berlin, Bonn, Chiang Mai, Gottingen, Heidelberg, Kathmandu and Munich.


Egypt’s Football Revolution: Emotion, Masculinity, and Uneasy Politics

Datum: 04 oktober 2021 13:00 - 04 oktober 2021 14:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/62256097535

Carl Rommel presents his book Egypt’s Football Revolution: Emotion, Masculinity, and Uneasy Politics. Discussant: Aymon Kreil.

Both a symbol of the Mubarak government’s power and a component in its construction of national identity, football served as fertile ground for Egyptians to confront the regime’s overthrow during the 2011 revolution. With the help of the state, appreciation for football in Egypt peaked in the late 2000s. Yet after Mubarak fell, fans questioned their previous support, calling for a reformed football for a new, postrevolutionary nation.

In Egypt’s Football Revolution, Carl Rommel examines the politics of football as a space for ordinary Egyptians and state forces to negotiate a masculine Egyptian chauvinism. Basing his discussion on several years of fieldwork with fans, players, journalists, and coaches, he investigates the increasing attention paid to football during the Mubarak era; its demise with the 2011 uprisings and 2012 Port Said massacre, which left seventy-two fans dead; and its recent rehabilitation. Cairo’s highly organized and dedicated Ultras fans became a key revolutionary force through their antiregime activism, challenging earlier styles of fandom and making visible entrenched ties between sport and politics. As the appeal of football burst, alternative conceptions of masculinity, emotion, and politics came to the fore to demand or prevent revolution and reform.


Carl Rommel is a social anthropologist, who earned his PhD from SOAS, University of London (2015). His doctoral research explored the emotional politics of Egyptian football before and after the January 2011 Revolution. Currently, Rommel is a postdoctoral research affiliate in the ERC-funded Crosslocations project at the University of Helsinki. He is also teaching anthropology at Stockholm University. His ongoing field research in Cairo interrogates intersections between precarity, masculinity, temporality and urban space in, around and through a variety of large and small ‘projects’ (mashari‘). Rommel’s research has been published in Critical African Studies, Middle East – Topics & Arguments, and Men and Masculinities. His first monograph, Egypt’s Football Revolution: Emotion, masculinity, and uneasy politics, was published with The University of Texas Press in July  2021.

Discussant: Aymon Kreil

Aymon Kreil is Assistant Professor for the Anthropology of the Middle East at Ghent University. He worked before at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies at the University of Zurich. He has taught at the Universities of Cairo, Neuchatel, Fribourg, Zurich, and at the Geneva School of Art and Design. He has conducted most of his research in Egypt. He graduated (2012) in Anthropology jointly at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris) and at the University of Neuchâtel, in the framework of a Swiss-French academic partnership. His dissertation, titled Du rapport au dire: Sexe, amour et discours d’expertise au Caire analyses the ways love and sex are discussed in Cairo, questioning the “rhetoric of silence break” according to which desire is a taboo in the Middle East. He also obtained an MA in Social Sciences at the EHESS (2007), and a Licence.

CEIFO: Plastic Bags, Shoe Boxes, and Pills: Making Social Medicines

Datum: 11 oktober 2021 15:00 - 11 oktober 2021 16:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/61911538734

CEIFO seminar with Heath Cabot, University of Pittsburgh


This presentation focuses on community-based initiatives in Greece that provide heathcare and medicines based on ideologies and practices of “solidarity:” horizontally-organized modes of labor and redistribution that reject, or at least seek to avoid, forms of exchange and remuneration dependent on both capital and on gift economies. This paper (the third chapter in my in-process book) focuses on the pharmaceuticals that are brought to these "social pharmacies” and clinics, and how they are transformed into medicines that can be redistributed under the rubric of solidarity. These medicines are, in the words of one interlocutor, the “waste” of existing systems of care and capital: sent to the social clinics by private citizens throughout Greece and the EU, by private pharmacies, and even pharmaceutical companies or warehouses. Volunteers then seek to move these medicines across social orders (Gershon 2019)—into the realm of solidarity— through material, discursive and social techniques. They thus undergo an alchemy that marks them materially and transforms them into social medicines: credited not just with therapeutic efficacy but also the power to build new ways of relating. Still, they constantly run the risk of contamination, which speaks to the fragility of solidarity and the transformative yet chimerical nature of medicines—and things.  


Heath Cabot teaches anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and is the author of On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece. 

How to Make a Wetland: Water and Moral Ecology in Turkey

Datum: 18 oktober 2021 15:00 - 18 oktober 2021 16:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/67039962413

Research seminar with Caterina Scaramelli, Boston University

Environmental and infrastructural transformations in Turkey’s expansive swamps and marshes have unfolded against the backdrop of tightening authoritarian rule and the rise of wetland conservation. Drawing on fieldwork with farmers, scientists, and bureaucrats in two Turkish agrarian deltas, this talk explores how relationships between water, sediment, infrastructure, plants, and animals matter in contemporary Turkey, and what these relationships reveal about the intersection of moral and ecological concerns in the current moment.  The “wetland” emerged as a globally significant scientific category over the course of the 20th century, becoming a key concept within Turkish state-making projects built on attempts to manipulate swampy nature. As transnational science and environmentalism cast the wetland in a starring role, Turkish farmers, scientists, and bureaucrats also drew on wetlands (sulakalanlar) as a novel idiom for claiming divergent ecological futures. I analyze these transformations between humans, non-humans, and their unstable surroundings in Turkey through the concept of moral ecologies—contrasting notions of just relations among people, land, water, infrastructure, animals, and plants. Divergent moral claims about ecology, infrastructure, the livelihood of non-human animals, and traditional agricultural varieties have become central to a Turkish politics of livability. This approach demonstrates how the valuation and governance of non-human creatures and elemental assemblages are not only entangled with human politics: they constitute it.

Remembering Violence, Returning Home: Precarious Coexistence and Living as if indebted in Southeast Turkey 

Datum: 25 oktober 2021 13:00 - 25 oktober 2021 14:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/64883452760

Research seminar with Zerrin Özlem Biner, Kent, UK

In this seminar, based on two decades of ethnographic research in the border towns and villages of Mardin, Southeast Turkey, I will focus on the political and affective meanings of “return” from the perspective of the Syriac/Assyrian (Suryani) communities living in diaspora. My exploration dwells on the personal experiences of Syriacs who aspired and attempted to return their town and villages in the conflict ridden zone of Turkey during the temporary suspension of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) , times of 'violent peace' between 2000 and 2015. Focusing on the everyday struggles to return and repossess “home”, I pursue to reveal the changing meanings of citizenship and the property for the potential returnee. I argue that the possibility of home fluctuates between pass memories of loss, present conditions of violence and hope for a better life imagined for the future.  


Dr Zerrin Özlem Biner is a social anthropologist interested in conflict and post-conflict settings in the Middle East. Dr Biner’s research focuses on themes about state, citizenship, violence, materiality, memory, justice and reconciliation processes. For over a decade, Özlem has engaged ethnographically with the political, social and psychic effects of the protracted conflict in Southeastern Turkey through the perspective of Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs/ Assyrians, as well as diasporic communities residing in Sweden and Germany. More recently, Özlem has also been involved in developing a new ethnographic research project that focuses on the daily negotiations, aspirations and anxieties of Syrian refugees residing in the border cities of Turkey.

Among her recent publications, Ozlem is the author of States of Dispossession: Violence and Precarious Coexistence in Southeast Turkey (2020, UPENN), co-editor of Reverberations: Violence across Time and space (Forthcoming, November 2021 with Yael Navaro, Alice von Bieberstein and Seda Altug) and of a special section in the journal of Social Anthropology (with Ozge Biner) on Politics of Waiting. 


Disrupting Innovation: The Promise of Change via Invention in Stockholm's Innovation Ecosystem

Datum: 01 november 2021 13:00 - 01 november 2021 14:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/64558129914

Research seminar with Angela Kristin VandenBroek, assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University.

In 2013, a group of entrepreneurs, investors, evangelists, and enthusiasts gathered at the Hilton Slussen in Stockholm and voted to create the hashtag #SthlmTech to describe the coalescing of Stockholm’s innovation ecosystem around a collection of social networks and public and private organizations and infrastructures that professed to facilitate the creation of innovative businesses by entrepreneurs. In so doing, they joined a global network of ecosystems, including Silicon Valley, London, Beijing, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and hundreds more, that have responded to calls for innovation with support for entrepreneurship and venture capitalism. With more billion-dollar unicorn startups per capita than anywhere but Silicon Valley, SthlmTech has gained an international reputation as a unicorn factory and as one of the most innovative places on Earth. SthlmTech is perceived as a neutral clockwork of experts, infrastructures, and organizations that facilitate “innovation” for positive social change. I spent twelve months conducting anthropological fieldwork in SthlmTech that consisted of participant-observation, collecting archival materials, and conducting interviews with startup founders, employees, investors, evangelists, ecosystem executives, state employees and bureaucrats, and other stakeholders. I asked, “What is innovation?” and found that ambiguity in the concept was the key to understanding growing concerns about the promises of innovation promoted by SthlmTech.
I propose that innovation ecosystems are not neutral platforms but rather curricular systems that via innovation culture generate standardized and optimized forms of innovation that accelerate and escalate venture capitalist forms of entrepreneurship—disarticulating and distributing VCs’ values and logics beyond their purpose. Innovation culture takes advantage of the ambiguity in the concept of innovation to co-opt the aspirations of entrepreneurs to generate positive change and via hype, education, and the guidance of experts redirect them toward other aims. I propose that innovation culture must be identified and abandoned in order to disrupt our understanding of innovation for more flexible, diverse, collaborative, and impactful approaches to social change.


Angela (she/her) is an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University with a PhD in anthropology from Binghamton University. She has additionally worked as an applied anthropologist in design, branding, and information technologies since 2008—both within organizations and as a freelancer. Broadly speaking, her work sits at the intersection of business and design anthropology and science and technology studies and focuses on how ambitions for better futures by states, citizens and entrepreneurs are co-opted and reformed by innovation culture and its infrastructures. She's conducted research in Stockholm Sweden’s startup and innovation ecosystem (#SthlmTech) and will be starting research among entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas in 2021. She is also the web producer for the Committee for the Anthropology of Science Technology and Computing (CASTAC) in the General Anthropology Division of the American Anthropological Association and a leader for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Apply Club in the Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.

Conceptualizing Southeast Asian Auto-Mobilities in the Wake of AFTA

Datum: 08 november 2021 15:00 - 08 november 2021 16:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/62411489737

Research seminar with Ivan Small, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University in the United States

This talk examines the emerging infrastructure and market for automobiles in Southeast Asia with a focus on Vietnam, and how the public and experts are anticipating them in the wake of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and other trade agreements and policies that are opening markets and reshaping urban and peri-urban transportation landscapes and everyday living patterns. Drawing on research conducted between 2013 and 2021 with potential and current automobile consumers in Vietnam, as well as those who are shaping auto-mobility regimes across Southeast Asia including specialists in marketing, design, engineering, manufacturing and planning, the talk considers the impending socioeconomic impacts of unmitigated automobile consumption and usage. It focuses on the car heavy / friendly cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, as well as regional and global conceptual design and engineering labs in research and development hubs such as Singapore that are mapping the future of mobility.

Ivan V. Small is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University in the United States. He is author of Currencies of Imagination: Channeling Money and Chasing Mobility in Vietnam (Cornell University Press 2019) and co-editor of Money at the Margins: Global Perspectives on Technology, Financial Inclusion and Design (Berghahn Press 2018). He has written numerous peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, op-eds and other publications examining connections between financial, bodily and material mobilities in Southeast Asia and global contexts. Among others, he has been a fellow at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion in California and the Yusof Ishak Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

CEIFO: Phosphate Turned Refugee Extractivism: The Offshore Refugee Industry in the Republic of Nauru

Datum: 15 november 2021 15:00 - 15 november 2021 16:30
Plats: Zoom

CEIFO seminar with Julia Morris, Assistant Professor of International Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.


With the political potency of migrant and refugee demonisation, governments have brokered trade deals to extend the geographies of asylum into new sites far beyond their borders. This talk draws on fieldwork conducted in the Republic of Nauru to explore the Australian government’s practice of outsourcing asylum to Pacific island nations. I look at the overlaps between Nauru’s enterprises around phosphate and now refugees in order to understand the deep environmental and human consequences of mineral and migrant resource sectors. My work shifts the analysis away from a socio-legal or humanitarian frame towards a political economic approach centred on resource extraction, bringing to the fore questions about patterns of accumulation and imperial dependency that induce some countries to take on outsourced border enforcement operations over others. Ultimately, I argue that refugees are an industry that has had a hugely negative impact on local and migrant populations in Nauru. I also show how Australian-led activist campaigns exasperate these frictions by reinforcing colonial characterisations of savage Nauruans versus vulnerable refugees.


Julia is Assistant Professor of International Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her research focuses on the commodification of human mobility from fieldwork in the Republic of Nauru, Australia, Fiji, and Geneva. Her book, From Phosphate to Refugees: The Offshore Refugee Industry in the Republic of Nauru, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press. Her next research project looks at the overlapping plantation logics and resource entanglements that nonhumans play in boundary making and enforcement in the Guatemalan ecological development sector.

Research seminar with Molly Sundberg

Datum: 22 november 2021 13:00 - 22 november 2021 14:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/68009794789

Research seminar with Molly Sundberg, Stockholm University

Bio and abstract to come. 

Infrastructure and Ghost Rivers: Making Kin in the Urban Anthropocene

Datum: 29 november 2021 15:00 - 29 november 2021 16:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/65367227384

Research seminar with Kregg Hetherington, Concordia University.

In November of this year, the city of Montreal will begin working to cover up a 200-metre creek, the last significant natural water flow within the boundaries of the city. A group of local activists have been fighting the creek’s burial in court for years, but the city won its argument that after years of neglect, and some shenanigans in local plumbing infrastructure, the creek’s smell has become unbearable, and that it must go the way of all urban rivers before it, into a concrete pipe. As activists fought this, they underwent a kind of infrastructural inversion, becoming aware not only of submerged infrastructure but also the environmental, legal and historical underpinnings of urban plumbing. In so doing they unearthed a ghost: a long-lost tributary of the St Laurence known as the St-Pierre River. Following their experience and that of other ghost hunters, this paper reflects on how entities inhabit the urban landscape, and the role that such entities might have in a Anthropocenic reimagining of urban life.


Research seminar with Anand Pandian

Datum: 06 december 2021 15:00 - 06 december 2021 16:30
Plats: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/66723184488

Research seminar with Anand Pandian, Johns Hopkins University

Bio and abstract to come. 

CEIFO: Threatening Dystopias: Development, Scientific Knowledge, and Adaptation to Climate Change

Datum: 13 december 2021 13:00 - 13 december 2021 14:30
Plats: Zoom

CEIFO seminar with Kasia Paprocki, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


In the global imaginary of climate change, Bangladesh holds a prominent position. Frequently described as the ‘world’s most vulnerable country to climate change’, the specter of Bangladesh underwater, wiped off the map by rising sea levels, has given birth to a crisis narrative that obscures the ways in which interventions in the environment and social life of the country have already transformed the landscape many times over. _Today_, development in Bangladesh is increasingly defined by and through an adaptation regime, a socially and historically specific configuration of power that governs the landscape of possible intervention in anticipation of climate change. It includes institutions of development, research, media, and science, as well as various state actors both nationally and internationally. The adaptation regime operates through the material and epistemic processes of imagination, experimentation, and dispossession. It is built on a vision of development in which urbanization and export-led growth are both desirable and inevitable. For the rural poor, this entails dispossession from agrarian livelihoods and outmigration. As this shift contributes to the expansion of production of export commodities such as garments and frozen shrimp, the threat of climate change and its associated migrations is reframed as an opportunity for development and growth. This presentation will draw on over two years of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork to explore how this adaptation regime is produced, experienced, and contested by a variety of actors from rural Bangladesh, to Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, to global institutions of development and knowledge production.


Kasia Paprocki is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work draws on and contributes to the study of the political economy of development and agrarian change, with a focus in South Asia. She is the author of Threatening Dystopias: The Global Politics of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh, which will be published by Cornell University Press in December 2021.