Anthropology and Strategic Exoticisation – Online Lecture by Ghassan Hage

April 26, 2022

⇒ Unfortunately, the event has to be postponed.

On Tuesday, 3 May 2022, Ghassan Hage (University of Melbourne) will give a lecture entitled “Anthropology and Strategic Exoticisation.” The lecture, which will be followed by a discussion session, will be available as a livestream on YouTube from 16:15–17:45 and can be accessed here: The talk by Hage, who is currently a guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, marks the start of a new annual lecture series, “Max Planck Lectures in Anthropology”, in which speakers reflect on the role of anthropology in our turbulent times.

“The new lecture series is dedicated to examining fundamental questions of our discipline: What does doing anthropology mean in the twenty-first century? What directions should we take, and how do the traditions of our discipline help us to develop critical ideas for our times – and when might these traditions be a hindrance rather than a help?” explains Ursula Rao, Managing Director of the MPI. “We are delighted that Ghassan Hage has agreed to give the inaugural lecture in the series; he is an eminent scholar whose work is widely read both within and outside our discipline.”

Hage is currently at the MPI on the invitation of Annika Lems, Head of the Max Planck Research Group “Alpine Histories”. “Ghassan Hage is one of the most important scholars studying everyday racism. There are many points of contact between his work and the topics we are concerned with in the research group. His stay has been valuable not just for his insights into these matters, but because he is an excellent discussion partner for jointly exploring and developing ideas”, says Annika Lems.

In his lecture Hage will look at exoticisation – a topic that has caused much controversy in anthropology. He questions the idea that it is necessary to travel to some remote corner of the world in order to discover remarkable and outlandish things. If we really look around us, we can discover and take note of strangeness everywhere. Even the most familiar parts of our own culture can be recognized as far more remarkable than they might seem at first glance. This form of “strategic exoticisation” can be used to uncover and describe the great variety of human ways of life in our own everyday world.

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