10:00-11:30 Open lecture (Ülikooli 16-109)Toomas Gross (University of Helsinki / University of Tartu)
Studying the religious convictions of others can be methodologically but also ethically challenging. In this lecture I will address a number of questions that touch upon the very core of anthropological research on religion. Some of these issues can surely be extrapolated to studying other realms as well. Can one “truly” study religion without being religious oneself? Or, to put it even more strongly, does a non-religious person have the right to study the religion (of others) at all? In other words, how to study religion without “explaining it away”? We will first look at a number of examples of how anthropologists (e.g. Evans-Pritchard, Van Dijk, Stoller, Gershon) have tried to come to terms with these issues. I will also draw on my own intermittent fieldwork among the Zapotec Indians in Oaxaca in Southern Mexico since the late 1990s to address some of the methodological problems of studying religion in general and conversion in particular (by someone, whose “religious self” resides, at best, on the imaginary borderline between atheism and agnosticism). Religious conversion is a contested topic (and a term) that particularly easily lends itself to reductionistic approaches based on “rational choice.”
The aim of these, admittedly very subjective and research-specific accounts, is to motivate seminar participants to reflect more broadly on how our convictions (religious, political, ethical, or other) might affect the way we conduct research, engage with our interlocutors, and “see” the ethnographic reality? How can we avoid the pitfalls of reductionism/functionalism in our research? Or is it necessary to avoid them at all? What concepts do we use in our writing and why?
12:00-13:00 Roundtable discussion (Ülikooli 16-109)
Student constraints; publishing; study abroad; academic career; etc.
Moderators: Kristin Kuutma, Laura Siragusa, Francisco Martinez, Marko Uibu
14:00-18:00 Parallel workshops to discuss BAGs’s student projects in two groups (group A in Ülikooli 16-215; group B in Ülikooli 16-109)
Moderators of group A: Kristin Kuutma, Henrik Vigh, Aet Annist
Moderators of group B: Laur Vallikivi, Laura Siragusa, Toomas GrossCoffee break incl. (between 15:30-16:30)
10:00-11:30 Open lecture (Ülikooli 16-109)Henrik Vigh (University of Copenhagen)
This paper takes an ethnographic look at the making of a ‘narco state.’ Taking its point of departure in the recent influx of cocaine into West Africa, it uses an example of cocaine trafficking from Guinea-Bissau as a case study to gain an insight into some of the more critical developments within contemporary globality. The paper clarifies the current movement of cocaine from South America via West Africa into Europe, illuminates the political and social logics at play, and elucidate some of the local effects of these global connections. In so doing, it moves across scale – from the subjective to the social and the geo-political – and clarifies how local social problems may link up in illegal and illicit global flows and movements.
12:00-13:30 Workshop on applied anthropology (Ülikooli 16-109)
Moderator: Centre of Applied Anthropology (Keiu Telve, Helleka Koppel)
14:30-15:30 Roundtable discussion (Jakobi 2-114)
Student constraints continued
Moderators: Kristin Kuutma, Laura Siragusa, Laur Vallikivi
Closing coffee (Ülikooli 16-102)
More information: Kristin Kuutma, kristin.kuutma [ät] ut.ee
Bags seminar programme
The seminar is supported by an Institutional Development Grant from Wenner-Gren Foundation and the European Regional Development Fund (University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA).