Society for Cultural Anthropology
Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology
Cosponsored - Retrospective - Oral Presentation Session
Abstract: In this panel we seek to honor the systematically groundbreaking work of Arjun Appadurai, and the singular impact that his work has had on the discipline of anthropology. Rather than subsume Appadurai’s contribution under a single, influential rubric such as globalization or public culture, we hope to come closer to the particular shifts, surprises and memorable provocations that his work has had for scholars of different generations.
In drawing closer to his oeuvre we hope to ask new questions of it. How might we understand the movement from a South Indian temple to “modernity at large”? Has the world shifted further into the future, and if so in what ways does the past reappear? How did “public culture” shift and renew the seemingly overburdened and exhausted concept of culture? How might the Social Life of Things speak to current discussions of vitalism, animism and ontology? In what ways do questions of economy continually reappear in Appadurai’s work, both as concrete materiality and as fictive speculation? What place do the concepts of number and smallness and locality have in his work?
In this panel six scholars from different generations and genders to respond to Appadurai’s work and oeuvre. We ask our panelists to think aloud about the details, the forms and moments of effervescence, the questions, thoughts, phrases and formulations that have stayed with them from Appadurai’s work. Together, we seek to honor a continually inventive and groundbreaking adventure in anthropological thought.