Lecture by Prof Paul Stoller, West Chester University
A cooperation between the BGSMCS and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin
What is the future of anthropological expression? During the past few years, I have been thinking about the ethnographic past to ponder the anthropological future. For almost 40 years I’ve been writing ethnographic works that have taken on many forms - academic essays, memoirs, a biography, and more recently fiction. In this presentation, I use my struggle to write The Sorcerer’s Burden, a novel about the practice of West African sorcery in contemporary times, to demonstrate how institutional constraint has shaped how we have represented culture. The narrative of my 10-year burden of writing The Sorcerer’s Burden - against the grain of anthropological convention - leads to a discussion of the representational strengths of ethnography, fiction, drama, poetry and multi-media installations. In the end, I suggest that the complexity of a digital application or an anthropological argument is of limited value if bloodless prose obscures the ethnographic story. It is the quality of our stories, as Jean Rouch might have argued, that determines whether an ethnographic work will remain open to the world. In this way, the story marks our path to the future.
Everybody interested is cordially invited!
Organised by Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka and the organizers of “Weaving the World: Writing Evocative Ethnography - A Three-Day Workshop for PhD candidates”: Kristina Dohrn, Britta Rutert, Judith Schühle, Nasima Selim and Mechthild von Vacano
08.02.2017 | 18:00 - 19:30
Seminarzentrum, Room L 113
Rost- und Silberlaube