Doctoral workshop on “Cultural decentralization and circulation of knowledge: peripheral experiences”


Divergence invites you to join the doctoral workshop on “Cultural decentralization and circulation of knowledge: peripheral experiences” that will take place at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris from February 1st to June 7th, 2018.

This workshop is part of a long-term reflection project aiming to create a space for multidisciplinary dialogue on cultural decentralization among researchers from peripheral countries. This workshop is open to all doctoral students wishing to build a debate on Eurocentrism, intellectual colonialism, domination over economic, political and ideological exchanges between the West and the peripheries, as well as the role of the circulation of intellectual elites in this process. It also seeks to highlight the work and reflections of peripheral doctoral students on other realities that are also peripheral but different from their own. The aim is to contribute to a reflection beyond Europe and the “global North” on the interconnections, dependencies and historical dynamics produced by the dialogue between different forms of knowledge production. This cross-reflection can also help to highlight the connections between specific regions and global structures, which are often neglected or hidden by the persistence of certain Eurocentric apriori in hegemonic thinking.

In our first session, “Re-thinking the native from inside and outside”, we will discuss the presentations of Abdul Qadar (Pakistan) and José Egas (Ecuador).

On Perils and Privileges of ‘Native’ Anthropologist: De-centering the Self of Punjabi Anthropologist against Writing and Representations

by Abdul Qadar

This paper sheds light on my recent fieldwork experiences as a native anthropologist at two different villages in Punjab. The study aims to problematize the self(ves) of a native anthropologist against the backdrop of socio-historical embeddedness of the field/locale. This paper is originated from my reflections on the possibility of a multiplicity of meanings of the key terms like ‘native’, ‘field’ and ‘self’ either of the anthropologist or of the ‘subject’. I am of the view that drawing on the comparative analysis between my fieldwork conducted at the village where an American anthropologist had already done extensive fieldwork, and my recent fieldwork at my own village, it is possible to contextualize the self of native anthropologist. It is argued that as positions of the people vis-à-vis position/distance of the native anthropologist changes, there is a necessity to realize accordingly the self of the anthropologist itself, simultaneously, both as peril and privilege. Unless the anthropologist makes him/herself aware of such intricacies, such positions influence not only the text but the eventual layout of the researcher’s relationship with his/her field.

Stared as a native on the other side of the world? The ambiguities of nativity

by Jose Egas

I argue that the fact that a researcher while being native from an akin but distant place from which his/her research is done, may create a sort of de-centered nativity that influences the anthropological practice during the fieldwork immersion. By analyzing some of the experiences faced during my research on Kerala, South India, I show how a number of specific elements of the cultural and political dynamics of the place tend to tie my regional provenance from Latin America with a local identity, and thus have different consequences for the access to the field, in practical and theoretical terms. By re-thinking the notion of native, I suggest problematizing the critical dichotomies between outsider/insider, indigenous/foreign, observed/observer in the context of the world system where the global north and south suggest a de-centralization of the regard (as a position)

Date: February 1st, 2018

Hour: 15h – 17 h

Location: EHESS, 54 bd Raspail 75006 Paris, (salle A05_51)

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