ASA10: The Interview – theory, practice, society

13th-16th April 2010, Queen's University Belfast, UK


Apart from the plenary and panel structure there were several other events during the conference.

Tues 13th April

Opening/Keynote Address, Stranmillis Conference Hall, 14:30-16:00

This will be given by Professor Allen Feldman, New York University and is entitled: After tragic violence: ethnography, transitional justice and ethical excess.
Read the abstract here.

Wed 14th April

Open forum on ethics and reconciliation, Craigantlet Dining Room, 13:00-14:25

Convened and Chaired by Dr. Nayanika Mookherjee (Lancaster University), Ethics Officer, ASA
By means of critical commentaries this forum would address reconciliation in general and ethical dilemmas relating to it; reconciliation debates in Northern Ireland and elsewhere; issues of memory and forgetting relating to discourses of reconciliation; the role of symbols, material objects and the media; semantic dilemmas of reconciliation and collaboration; reconciliation and democratic processes; relationship between peace, truth and reconciliation, among other themes. If reconciliation on one hand enables a departure from violence, what is the role of forgiveness, compromises, amnesty and impunity? Also, how is this enabled by aesthetic practices as well as legal technologies and hence what is the relationship between art, politics and the law in reconciliatory contexts? On the other hand, does this process of seeking justice itself become a trope for revenge, violence? If so, what would its relationship be with retributive justice and the rule of law? Overall, if the precondition for this exercise necessitate the nation-state to be reconciled to itself, what implications does this have on the self, psyche and the nation? Invited speakers for this forum include Prof. Elizabeth Tonkins (QUB), Prof. Kieran McAvoy (QUB),  Dr. Debbie Lisle (QUB), Dr. Dominic Bryan (QUB), Prof. Lisette Josephides (QUB) and Prof. Allen Feldman (NYU). Each speaker will speak for about ten minutes and the forum would then be opened up for questions and comments from the audience.

Firth Lecture, Stranmillis Conference Hall, 16:30-18:00

The 2010 Firth Lecture will be given by Professor Vincent Crapanzano of CUNY and is entitled: Contortions of forgiveness: betrayal, abandonment, and narrative entrapment among the Harkis.

Triggered by research on the Harkis, I explore the social dynamics and mental gymnastics of apology, forgiveness, and revenge and their consequences. The Harkis are Algerians, around 250,000, who served as auxiliary troops for the French during the Algerian War of Independence and who were refused entry to France at the war’s end. Within months, as many as 150,000 were slaughtered by the Algerian population at large. Most Harkis who managed to escape to France were interned, some for sixteen years, in camps and forestry hamlets. They have demanded recognition of the sacrifices they made for France, compensation for their losses, and an apology for their abandonment. Although the French have given them recognition and some compensation, they have not apologized. What are the consequences of this refusal? Would the Harkis accept an apology? Would their refusal to forgive be their vengeance? I argue that France’s failure to apologize perpetuates the Harkis’ identity and entraps them in their story. Are apology, forgiveness, and vengeance simply forms of social etiquette? Or, do they require inner transformation (say, contrition)? Or, is inner transformation simply rhetorical? By contrasting inter-personal forgiveness and political apology I call attention to how articulating collective dynamics in terms of mental ones can legitimate political acts. In part, this possibility lies in the asymmetrical relationship between apology by proxy (i.e. by a representative who speaks for the collectivity) and its reception by individual members of the collectivity. In part it rests on the variable value societies give to inner life.

Thu 15th April

ASA AGM, Craigantlet Dining Room, 13:00-14:25

All members of the ASA are invited to attend the association’s AGM.  Grab your lunch from the servery and head next door to have your say in ASA business..

Poster sessions, outside Conference Hall, 16:15-17:00

Posters will be displayed in the corridor outside the main Conference Hall throughout the conference. However at this particular time, poster authors will be on hand to give short presentations of their work, and to answer questions.

Network meeting of 'Anthropology of Britain' network, Stranmillis Conference Hall, 17:00-18:30

All are welcome to attend. Building on a renewed disciplinary interest in critical perspectives on class, the meeting will open with an informal discussion on the place and role of class in AOB research. The meeting will then be open for other business.

Perfomance Art, Naughton Gallery, Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast, 18:00-19:00

Before dinner there will be the launch of a piece of perfomance art, in the adjacent building. A Year in the Working Life of the Artscare Dance Studio, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust can be viewed here. All are welcome to attend.