ASAA/NZ 2018 Conference Keynote: Anthropology as Theoretical Storytelling

Professor Carole McGranahan (University of Colorado) is our keynote speaker for the 2018 ASAA/NZ Conference, ‘Improvising Lives.’ Her lecture will address the topic, “Anthropology as Theoretical Storytelling.”

Date: Thursday 6 December
Time: 3:30pm
Venue: 4B06, Massey University’s Wellington Campus

 Professor Carole McGranahan

Professor Carole McGranahan

Storytelling is crucial to anthropology. In the field, we collect people’s stories. In the classroom, we illustrate anthropological concepts and theories by telling stories to our students. And in our texts, we re-tell others’ stories, and we produce our own. However, if there has long been an anthropology of storytelling, we are now in a new period, that of anthropology as storytelling. If, as some scholars argue, people live storied lives, then how has anthropology responded to this reality? One way is by using storytelling as method and pedagogy and product, not only as subject or object of study. Since the narrative turn in the 1980s, social-cultural anthropologists have rethought how we write, think, and theorize. A key, but underrecognized new development is our use of storytelling as analytical device. Stories may have always been a part of anthropological scholarship, but they have not always been theory. What does it mean to practice anthropology as a form of theoretical storytelling? This shift and its possibilities require our attention and consideration: why stories, and why now. What does theoretical storytelling have to offer us (and the world) in this current historic and political moment?

This keynote lecture will be live-streamed, click here for access at the the scheduled time.

Carole McGranahan is professor of anthropology and history at the University of Colorado (USA). Since 1994, she has had the honor of working with Tibetan refugee communities in India and Nepal, and since 2007, in Canada and the USA on research projects ranging from war and memory, and gender and narration, to empire, citizenship, and asylum. She is author of Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War (Duke University Press, 2010), co-editor with John F. Collins of Ethnographies of U.S. Empire (Duke University Press, 2018), and editor of the forthcoming volume Writing Anthropology: Essays on Craft and Commitment.