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AIAS Fellows' Seminar: Ton Otto

Navigating the present: An anthropological study of human agency and temporality

2019.11.04 | AIAS

Date Mon 18 May
Time 14:15 15:15
Location The AIAS Auditorium, Building 1632, Room 201


When humans imagine their future, they also invoke interpretations of the past. Constructs of history and future are interdependent cultural phenomena from which a sense of human agency can be derived. A key observation is that notions of agency and temporality vary considerably across cultural ‘worlds’. My case study of a Melanesian movement for political and religious change focuses on the role of non-human agents - such as spirits - in the local understanding of the human capacity to act, effect change, and thus create                                                            history.

Short bio

Ton Otto is professor of anthropology at Aarhus University. Based on long-term ethnographic field research in Papua New Guinea, he has published on issues of social and cultural change. His interests comprise the epistemology and methodology of ethnographic research, visual and museum anthropology, and their relationship to design. His recent productions include four co-edited volumes on design anthropology, value, and visual anthropology as well as two exhibitions.

See Ton Otto's project at AIAS

What is a Fellows' Seminar?

The AIAS Fellows' Seminar is a session of seminars held by the AIAS fellow or by other speakers proposed by the fellows. In each seminar, one fellow will present and discuss his/her current research and research project, closing off with a question and discussion session.

All seminars are held in English and open to the public. Registration to the seminar is not necessary.