2017 Workshops

LONDON ANTHROPOLOGY DAY 2017 WORKSHOPS

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WORKSHOP SESSION 1 11:00 – 12:20

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The Evolution of Culture

Culture has played a fundamental role in the evolutionary success of our species. People everywhere depend on collectively shared knowledge and skills that have been accumulated over generations, and which would be impossible for an individual to learn in a single lifetime. But when and how did our capacity for culture evolve? To what extent is it shared with other animals, especially our closest primate relatives? If cultural learning is supposed to be adaptive, why are we so prone to spreading useless, or even dangerous, beliefs and behaviours? Can we predict how human culture will evolve in the future? In this workshop we will examine how these questions are being explored by researchers working across the traditional boundaries of biological and social anthropology, covering examples as varied as the origin of the boomerang, the chimps who go fishing, a famous English football failure, and the evolutionary roots of modern celebrity culture.

Room: Stevenson

Durham University: Jamie Tehrani

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A Walk on the Dark Side: human nature and the attraction of death, disaster and catastrophe

9/11 Ground Zero-New Orleans-Pompeii-the Maze/Long Kesh-the streets of the Troubles-The Somme-Madame Tussauds-Rwanda…
Why are the living attracted to the dead, to violence, to death and destruction, disaster and catastrophe? This will be a workshop using anthropological, encounters with ‘dark tourism’ in particular as a lens to peer into the dark side of human nature. You have been warned…

Room: BP

University of Roehampton: Jonathan Skinner

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Collisions! People and Objects In the Pacific Worlds.

Are the distinctions we make between people and objects, an ethnographic present and archaeological past, and Western and non-Western worlds that useful? How do objects make people and make social relations, and carry with them many of the qualities we associate with people (e.g. biography, agency, even animacy)? These are themes we explore in this workshop through a series of Pacific (Melanesian, Polynesian and NW Coast) case studies; supported by things themselves. Prepare to be surprised!

Room: Moser

University of Southampton: Joshua Pollard

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Children of the Rainforest

Anthropologist Margaret Mead claimed that as a theoretical concept, the child is fiction. So what is a child? And how do different people across the world understand and relate to children? This workshop challenges common assumptions on childhood that are widespread in western societies, and it will do so specifically by looking at children who live in the Amazon rainforest. By showing children as hunters, economic resources, sexual objects, and much more, we will see how children live very different lives across the world and much of what we believe to be natural about childhood can be seen instead as a cultural construct.

Room: Studio

Bristol University: Camilla Morelli


Down to the Bare Bones

Bioarchaeologists specialize in the study of skeletal remains at archaeological sites. By actively exploring the human skeleton, participants in this workshop will be introduced to a range of animal and human bones, learning about the form and function in skeletal anatomy. Furthermore, the workshop will address some of the ethical considerations encountered in bioarchaeology around the world.

Room: Sackler A

BABAO: David Errickson

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Honour, Conflict and Coercion: The Anthropology of Violence

Whether experienced as rivalry between individuals, ethnic conflict or criminal coercion, violence is a central feature of many societies. In this session we will use excerpts from two anthropological and documentary films to discuss the ways in which violent acts may have many different motivations for the people that commit them. Participants will be asked to consider the ways in which the anthropologist might understand conflicts within small communities, acts such as genocide and rioting, and the violence of organised crime.

Room: Sackler B

University of Cambridge: Andrew Sanchez

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Technology and Anthropology: Why People Matter

How can anthropologists contribute to shaping our technology-based world? This workshop shows some successful examples from the present and the past. In the 1970s, for example, Xerox relied on an anthropologist to improve their first photocopier. In the 1990s, Boeing employed an anthropologist for designing the 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and Microsoft for improving their Windows operating system. In the new millennium, several other companies started to hire anthropologists or use ethnographic approaches for developing new technologies, including Intel, Google, Motorola, Nissan, and Volvo. In this workshop you will learn how to use anthropological skills and knowledge for the development of new technologies. You will have an opportunity to draft a research plan and anticipate development phases of your own IT product which will be adapted to the needs and wishes of actual users, and will take into account their social and cultural background. In short, you will find out that even in the IT-based world people still matter!

Please note that the content of this workshop is identical to the Technology and Anthropology: Why People Matter workshop at 14.30 so please do not sign up for both!

Room: Anthropology Library

EASA Applied Anthropology Network: Dan Podjed

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Working at the British Museum: A True Story

Join Curator Jago Cooper on a wander around the British Museum as he provides a Curators overview of the institution past and present. Focusing on some case studies of collaborative projects with indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, this intellectual and geographical journey will provide insights into career planning and the realities of a working life within the Anthropological realm.

Gallery Tour

British Museum Curator: Jago Cooper

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WORKSHOP SESSION 2 12:30 – 13:20

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The Anthropology of Protest

What are protests? How do anthropologists engage with them as a social and political phenomena? How do we do so differently than journalists? This workshop will focus on recent protests all over the world, some connected to ongoing social movements with particular aims and goals, others examples of effervescent collective angst in response to political events such as elections, public policy initiatives, or state violence. We will discuss how anthropologists use their analytical, methodological, and theoretical toolbox to make sense of protests within the contexts they erupt in, and think through the value of our contribution as ‘slow’ storytellers.

Room: Stevenson

Goldsmiths: Gabriel Dattatreyan and Martin Webb



The Madness of Success? Why Stress, Anxiety and Depression are on the Rise in Contemporary Societies

Who amongst us doesn’t want to be successful? Whether it be getting a job, winning the X-Factor, or passing our exams, most of us are motivated by some vision of ‘success’, and imagine that our life will be better when we achieve it. But will it? This workshop will explore recent anthropological studies that suggest contemporary ‘cultures of success’ and ‘motivation’ may in fact be generating increasing levels of anxiety, depression and psychic trauma amongst those who ‘make it’, as well those who do not. We will investigate why ‘success’ has become such a major preoccupation recently, how it might be linked to the rise of mental illness, the ways in which these processes might affect people differently according to their race, class, gender and the nation in which they live. Finally, we’ll ask how anthropology could be used to help make things better.

Room: BP

LSE: Nick Long

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Why Die for a Group?

To what groups do we belong? For what groups might we be willing to die? This workshop will explore the importance of group identities for human beings and how a range of different experiences, from growing up together to initiation rituals to religious and ethnic persecution, can lead us to become willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. After examining these ideas to in relation to American Christianity and the Libyan revolution, we will discuss the possibility of producing such devotion to humanity as a whole.

Room: Moser

Queens University Belfast: Dr Jonathan Lanman

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Why We Eat, What We Eat

This workshop explores why we eat what we eat. We think about what is edible and inedible, how this changes cross-culturally, and the reasons behind different food preferences. We also consider eating as a social practice that makes and unmakes social relations, and conclude by reflecting on eating behaviours that seem alien to us, such as cannibalism and a preference for insects.

Room: Studio

University of Wales, Trinity St. David: Emma-Jayne Abbots

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Bones, Brains and Behaviour: what makes us human?

Biological anthropologists are interested in understanding humans, past and present, from an evolutionary perspective. This workshop will offer an introduction on the bones of humans, other primates (such as chimpanzees) and the bones of our ancestors and detail how they can provide information on what makes humans so unique. Short presentations will be supplemented with hands-on activities showcasing how bones can give us information on tool use (brains) and the effects of changing lifestyles throughout evolutionary time (behaviour).

Room: Sackler A

University of Cambridge: Sarah-Louise Decrausaz and Eoin Parkinson

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Ethnographic Film and the Magic of the Moving Image

The movie camera, the sound recorder and and the stills camera have been part of the anthropologist’s tool kit since early on in the history of the discipline: in this session we will explore how anthropologists use film and video in their work, to carry out research, make an argument and disseminate their findings. We will watch excerpts from ethnographic films from the past and the present, and we will ask: what is an ethnographic film, exactly? How can anthropologists use film to make their work more accessible to a wider audience? Do anthropologists make good filmmakers?

Room: Sackler B

RAI: Caterina Sartori

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Teachers Session

This session is for teachers currently teaching (or interested in teaching) Anthropology and related subjects in schools. Teachers may be teaching Anthropology A-Level, Social and Cultural Anthropology within the International Baccalaureate or in other pre-university settings. The session will offer a chance to meet fellow anthropology teachers to exchange ideas.

Room: Anthropology Library

Patrick Alexander, Editor of the ‘Teaching Anthropology’ Journal
Kevin Purday, IB Teacher at Hockerill Anglo-European College and Trainer of IB Social and Cultural Anthropology

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WORKSHOP SESSION 3 14:30 – 15:20

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Why Economists are Almost Always Wrong: the case for studying anthropology

Governments, corporations and international agencies use economics and statistics to understand social life — but in the process, they miss almost everything worth knowing. To demonstrate this, we’ll adopt an anthropological perspective to examine the development of a middle class in Africa, looking at why simple economic models don’t tell us much about social reality.

Room: Stevenson

Brunel University: Will Rollason

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Bodies and Performances

In the West, a beautiful body is often defined as a thin body. It may be surprising to learn, then, that in other cultures entirely different ideals of beauty exist. Among Fijians, for example, a full, rounded body is desirable, and is proof that a person is well cared for by their family and community. Bodies and bodily performances are important across all cultures and have been throughout history. Quite often, however, the very same bodies or practices carry different meanings depending on the respective cultures. In this workshop we will explore some anthropological approaches to the body, considering practices such as tattooing, piercing, scarring, masking, and wearing clothes, and find out how they express differences in individual, ethnic, religious, or gendered identities. Students will be venturing into the space of the British Museum to gather examples from past and contemporary peoples, which we will discuss together.

Room: BP

University of Sussex: Evan Killick and Meike Fechter

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Anthropology After War – inside and outside perspectives

Anthropologists studying the aftermath of contemporary conflict may encounter not only locales suffused with painful histories, memories and experiences but also a powerful ‘tribe’ of international agencies who bring their policies into these locales. What can critical anthropology offer to the study of such scenarios? This is what a group of local and international anthropology students jointly aimed to figure out in a ‘co-creation project’ in Kosovo 2016.

Room: Moser

Bournemouth University: Stephanie Schwandner

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Anthropology in a Globalised World

In this workshop we discuss how anthropology is relevant in the contemporary world, particularly in relation to issues around international development: poverty, [gender] inequality, sustainability, economic security, migration. We focus on the more vocational aspects of anthropology, and how anthropological knowledge (of kinship, social organisation, gender relations, ritual activity) and ethnographic methods are so critical in the modern world.

Room: Studio

University of East Anglia: Emma Gilberthorpe

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Talking Bones

The fossil record is the only direct window into our prehistoric past, and bones and teeth are by far its most frequently recovered elements. Interpretation of those relics of earlier humanities relies on the field of comparative evolutionary anatomy, which aims to determine the relationship between anatomical form and its function through a detailed understanding of the anatomy of humans and other species alive today. In this workshop, we will see how this approach helps us to understand how various now extinct species of the human lineage have led their lives, and how it helps us to understand how we came to be the unusual ape we are today.

Room: Sackler A

University College London: Christophe Soligo

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Technology and Anthropology: Why People Matter

How can anthropologists contribute to shaping our technology-based world? This workshop shows some successful examples from the present and the past. In the 1970s, for example, Xerox relied on an anthropologist to improve their first photocopier. In the 1990s, Boeing employed an anthropologist for designing the 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and Microsoft for improving their Windows operating system. In the new millennium, several other companies started to hire anthropologists or use ethnographic approaches for developing new technologies, including Intel, Google, Motorola, Nissan, and Volvo. In this workshop you will learn how to use anthropological skills and knowledge for the development of new technologies. You will have an opportunity to draft a research plan and anticipate development phases of your own IT product which will be adapted to the needs and wishes of actual users, and will take into account their social and cultural background. In short, you will find out that even in the IT-based world people still matter!

Please note that the content of this workshop is identical to the Technology and Anthropology: Why People Matter workshop at 11.30 so please do not sign up for both!

Room: Sackler B

EASA Applied Anthropology Network: Dan Podjed

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WORKSHOP SESSION 4 15:30 – 16:20

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Perceptions and Projections: Visual Anthropological Journeys in the South Pacific

Drawing upon research on mental illness, spirit possession, comedy and psychiatry in the South Pacific nation of Tonga, this workshop looks at some of the key ways video can be used as a way to research, collaborate, get feedback, and create a shared-anthropology that has influence on issues that matter to people. We will look at some key media and documentary representations of life in Tonga and see how an engaged visual anthropology give a better sense of what is important to people. Come prepared to comment in small groups on a variety of research footage and clips from documentary and ethnographic films.

Room: Stevenson

University of Kent: Mike Poltorak

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“When South Asians were white, humans had one biological sex, and other surprising tales of modern life”

When South Asians were white, Irish folk were black, the human species had only one biological sex, half of a pregnant woman’s cells have male chromosomes, and other surprising tales of modern life. In this interactive workshop you will work with others to learn about shifts in what counts as biological knowledge and to think about how we use the human body to make difference and identities. Be prepared to speak from your heart, to learn things that will go against your gut reactions and to encounter others in the room in ways that could re-make your world – and theirs. No preparation necessary except an open mind. Darwin’s dangerous idea? And then some!

Room: BP

SOAS: Caroline Osella

 

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What does Anthropology Teach us about Empathy?

Empathy, or the ability to imagine oneself in the place of someone or something else, has been at the center of recent political debates on issues like immigration, healthcare and racial inequality. Anthropologists bring a unique perspective to these issues by tracing our capacity to simulate another’s experience through our evolutionary heritage and by understanding this capacity within different cultural contexts. Ethnographic fieldwork itself hinges on this question of empathy and otherness, revealing both the possibilities and the limits of connecting to people who may be very different than ourselves. This presentation explores the ways empathy has made us human, and how it makes us more humane. We’ll look at the prehistoric archaeological evidence that empathy produced advances in social and cultural development and share stories of the challenges of empathy from fieldwork.

Room: Moser

Oxford Brookes: Jason Danely and Sam Smith

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Voluntourism: What is it Good For?

At first glance, participating in volunteer activities for a development or humanitarian project overseas seems to be a good thing: helping people in need. But when you volunteer, such as helping to build a school in a ‘developing’ country, you might quickly realise that there is an inherently unequal relationship between the volunteer and the aid recipients, that the volunteer programme is ultimately for profit or that your work doesn’t actually change the deep causes of people’s problems. So then, what is volunteering—or voluntourism, as it has come to be called—‘good’ for? In this workshop, you will learn anthropological ways to understand both the hopeful and dark sides of voluntourism.

Room: Studio

University of Manchester: Chika Watanabe

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Facing the Dead: from the skull to the identity of unknown corpses

Who amongst us doesn’t want to be successful? Whether it be getting a job, winning the X-Factor, or passing our exams, most of us are motivated by some vision of ‘success’, and imagine that our life will be better when we achieve it. But will it? This workshop will explore recent anthropological studies that suggest contemporary ‘cultures of success’ and ‘motivation’ may in fact be generating increasing levels of anxiety, depression and psychic trauma amongst those who ‘make it’, as well those who do not. We will investigate why ‘success’ has become such a major preoccupation recently, how it might be linked to the rise of mental illness, the ways in which these processes might affect people differently according to their race, class, gender and the nation in which they live. Finally, we’ll ask how anthropology could be used to help make things better.

Room: Sackler A

Liverpool John Moores University: Matteo Borrini

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Film Screening: Fighting for Nothing to Happen

During this session you will get a chance to watch the film that won the Wiley Blackwell Student Film Prize at the RAI Film Festival 2017. The film is Nora Wildenauer’s master’s thesis in Cutural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, and is based on three month’s fieldwork.
After the volcanic eruption of Mount Rokatenda, the people of the island of Pulau Palue in east Indonesia are to be relocated. But are the planned relocation and the “new” life at the neighbouring Pulau Besar really promising? This film accompanies Father Cyrillus, priest and employee of a Christian NGO, in his efforts to promote and drive forward the relocation project. A worried host community, unclear land rights at the relocation site, a corrupt and disorganized government in the district capital as well as impatient refugees in temporary shelters are challenging the protagonists in their attempts to make the best of the situation.

Room: Sackler B

RAI: Caterina Sartori

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