Anthropology As Necessary Unlearning In Refugee Camps, Courts And Schools

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Helena Tuzinska

Anthropology As Necessary Unlearning In Refugee Camps, Courts And Schools

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 18:45

This talk will explore the mechanisms through which refugees and asylum seekers lose their voice from the moment they are asked to fill in a questionnaire or explain their case to an immigration official. Their spoken sentences are rendered incomprehensible and in some cases apparently untruthful from the outset, in being disconnected from their original context. The stories told by refugees are not recorded in full as delivered but are instead summarized and re-told in terms deemed appropriate by the immigration authorities. Too often, the written interview record conflates what the applicant said with the interpreter's re-telling and the decisoin-maker's summary. Decision-makers allow themselves levels of linguistic flexibility which is not allowed either to translators or to applicants. As a result, indigenous concepts of space, time, religion, vocation, ethnicity, class, morality and justice are too often lost in translation. Effective training of police officers, teachers, translators and court officials is required. This re-education should focus primarily on 'forgetting' - deliberately setting aside culturally prevailing forms of cultural knowledge and expertise as the condition of genuine listening.

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Joe Cain

Galton, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Anglo-Saxon Nativism
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 19:00
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Francis Galton was a key developer and promoter of eugenics in Britain, circa 1900. This included patronage of research and posts at University College. Fast-forward a century. Galton and eugenics have become deeply politicised along the fault-line of “race,” and UCL executives are asked to explain why their institution “celebrates” an individual who activity promoted schemes to harm fellow citizens and who sought to organise the state to only serve the aspirations (or fantasies) of self-selecting, middle class, nativist Anglo-Saxons. In this presentation I will raise some of the questions I’ve seen arising thus far in recent discussions about Galton and his “legacy,” including: self-interested patronage, naïve empiricism, legacy with dissociative identities, empathy-supplied apathy, defensive heritage management, and more. The aim will be a provocation into a discussion: how do we reference the past so as to better move ourselves forward as a community?