TASKS and QUESTIONS

Tasks for students:

  • Whenever funding or research institutions are named that are/were directly involved in the production of Anthropology, make a note and keep a running list.
  • Take notes on the relationships between states and individual anthropologists.
  • Note which prominent political actors have had an impact on the discipline.

Some of our basic questions (in no particular order):

  • Who has been served the most by an institutionalized Anthropology in Western universities? In other words, who needs anthropologists the most?
  • What are the material conditions that influence the production of Anthropology?
  • What constitutes “an anthropological question”? In other words, which questions are asked, when and where, and who gets to ask them?
  • Is Anthropology ever really separate from politics?
  • When did ethnography become important for Anthropology, and why? Were Anthropologists the ones who conceived of, or innovated, ethnography?
  • Does the practice of Anthropology help to reproduce centre-periphery relationships? Can it/has it changed such relations in terms of the production of academic knowledge?
  • Is American Anthropology hegemonic, and if so, what accounts for this hegemony? What sustains it?
  • From where does “world anthropologies” come from, and which institutions, individuals and funding agencies are prominent within it? Where were those individuals trained in Anthropology?
  • With reference to the origins of institutional Anthropology and its relation to colonial regimes, what were the motivations and conditions of disciplinary knowledge production?
  • To what extent was/is Anthropology a part of colonial governance and administration? Reversing the question: to what extent were colonial governance and administration implicated in the production of Anthropology?
  • What are some of the specifically colonial foundations and origins of our practices? (That is, rooted in conditions of colonization and colonial governance.)
  • Was Anthropology simply constrained by colonialism, or did colonialism lie much deeper within Anthropology?
  • In which ways and to what extent is the production of knowledge in Anthropology shaped, or motivated, constrained, and determined by the structures of the university and the funding of research?
  • To what extent does institutional Anthropology’s practice resemble or parallel the foreign policies of its home states?
  • What constitutes “Canadian anthropology”?
  • Was there a Canadian anthropological “tradition”? What has become of it?
  • What are the future prospects for a Canadian anthropology?