famous novel The Go-Between 1 with the following sentence: The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. The contemporary Canadian psychologist and neuroscientist Steven Pinker opens his recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature
Cultural anthropology in France continues to bear the influence of a colonial-era distinction between “modern” societies with a high degree of social differentiation (and marked by rapid social change) and ostensibly socially homogeneous and change-resistant “traditional” ones. The history of key institutions (museums and research institutes) bears witness to this, as does recent scholarship centered on “the contemporary” that reworks earlier models and concepts and applies them to a world increasingly marked by transnational circulation and globalization. Anthropology at the Crossroads describes the evolution of a national tradition of scholarship, changes to its institutional status, and the models, concepts, and critical perspectives of anthropologists currently revisiting and reworking the foundations of the discipline in France.
Seth Schindler, Simin Fadaee and Dan Brockington
There is renewed interest in megaprojects worldwide. In contrast to high-modernist megaprojects that were discrete projects undertaken by centralized authorities, contemporary megaprojects are often decentralized and pursued by a range of stakeholders from governments as well as the private sector. They leverage cutting-edge technology to ‘see’ complex systems as legible and singular phenomena. As a result, they are more ambitious, more pervasive and they have the potential to reconfigure longstanding relationships that have animated social and ecological systems. The articles in this issue explore the novel features of contemporary megaprojects, they show how the proponents of contemporary megaprojects aspire to technologically enabled omnipresence, and they document the resistance that megaprojects have provoked.
The Practice of ‘sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda
In contemporary Pagan and New Age rituals aimed at self-enhancement and personal development, verbal exchanges generally referred to by the emic term ‘sharing’ often follow the ritual endeavors. The experts who conduct these rituals (whether
Participation as the Cornerstone of Appropriate Methodologies
part, I propose appropriate ontological and epistemological notions, as well as the societal aspects pertaining to contemporary public health. Ideas of Jürgen Habermas, Hannah Arendt, and the “social quality theory” are introduced to propose notions for
Bilal Tawfiq Hamamra
contemporary Palestine with respect to the discourse of sacrifice. The emphasis within Lady Lumley’s Iphigenia on sacrifice interacts with contemporary Palestine, where nationalism and religion have motivated Palestinian women to become suicide bombers
Debate, Curricula, and Swedish Students' History
In 2010, a proposal for a new history syllabus was criticized in the Swedish media for emphasizing contemporary history at the expense of ancient history. This study shows how contemporary history has increasingly been the focus of the guidelines developed by UNESCO and the Council of Europe, the national curricula, and students' work since the 1950s, while graduating students had generally rather chosen to focus on the early modern era up until the 1930s. Although history and civics were given status as separate school subjects in 1961, students' work in history continued to focus on contemporary subject matter. This study shows that the dominance of contemporary history in students' history is by no means a new phenomenon.
Allen Abramson and Martin Holbraad
How far is the ethnographic study of 'cosmologies' relevant to contemporary anthropology, and how might it illuminate understandings of the contemporary world? In this article we argue for a renewed anthropological interest in matters cosmological by seeking to disentangle the study of cosmology from the concomitants with which it was associated in earlier periods of anthropological research. In particular, we argue that an orientation toward cosmology continues to be of prime importance to the discipline insofar as it can be freed from its associations with holism and exoticism. The shift from 'high modernity' (in which orientations toward cosmos are variously constrained and circumscribed) to the flattening effects of the 'fluid' modernity of neoliberalism, we argue, has tended to thrust concerns with cosmic orders and dynamics back onto the forefront of people's lives. We end the article with a series of programmatic observations of how anthropologists might respond to these shifts, both ethnographically and analytically.
Julia Pascal’s The Yiddish Queen Lear
displays that contemporary Jewish responses to the playwright are not limited to the discussions of Merchant alone. In terms of the use of themes such as ‘(political) disillusion and defeat [that are more central to Lear] than any other play by
Reflections on the Inaugural International Girls Studies Association Conference
Victoria Cann, Sarah Godfrey and Helen Warner
critically on our processes and structures as well as on our outcomes. In this introduction we undertake such critical reflection, using the 2016 conference as a way of interrogating the contemporary field and considering its future. 2016: A Turning Point