Two anthropology seminars on 4 October 2018

If you are going to be in Auckland or Wellington on Thursday 4 October and feel like attending an anthropology seminar, you’re in luck! Check out these two options, both of which are free and open to the public:

Neuroanthropology of parkour: Adaptation, stress, and the city

by Alex Pavlotski (University of Auckland)

This talk offers some of the main ideas in an upcoming manuscript based on Alex’s PhD research into the practice of parkour. While the majority of his fieldwork was focused on the cultural practice of parkour in 25 international locations, this paper introduces the primary unifying theme of the research - cultural adaptation to environmental change. Through the lens of cultural anthropology, Alex will present the practice of parkour with the context of the city. Through Neuroanthropology he will explore the impacts of living in city environments, and consider the ways people use culture to regulate the self in relation to place.

Venue: Room HSB 802 (Social Sciences Staff Room), Building 201, Symonds Street, the University of Auckland

Time: 4:00-5:30pm

Alex Pavlotski is a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland and Honorary Research Fellow at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

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Stories-so-far: the meanings in space at Cambodian mass grave memorials

by Dr Caroline Bennett (Victoria University of Wellington)

An integral part of Cambodia’s national strategy is the encouragement of tourism as a mode of development. A central aspect of this is the commodification of sites of the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975 – 1979), a commodification that many have argued reifies one depiction of the past in opposition to local people’s needs and wishes. Through the manipulation of sites of killing, space is used to promote an affective encounter with one certain past. However, whilst seemingly entrenching depictions of the past within the physical and political landscape, these stories are continually created, narrated and renegotiated: continually in flux, and managed not only by national and international actors, but by local lives and imaginations. This paper will use Massey’s (2005) argument that space is a “simultaneity of stories-so-far” to show how those living and working at the sites are engaged in reconstituting the space to their own agendas.

Venue: Stout Meeting Room 203, 12 Wai-te-ata Road, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Campus

Time: 3:10-5:00pm

Caroline Bennett is an anthropologist working in the study of politics and violence, with specific attention to genocide, human rights abuses, and the politics of death and the dead. Her current research examines mass graves in Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge regime, exploring the use of political violence and mass death in projects of nation and state building.