Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture

Spatial-temporal navigation in Oceania and the geometry of artefacts

  • Suzanne Kuechler, University College London
Date
Friday 4 November 2016
Time
Series
Material Agency Forum
Location
University Library
Witte Singel 26-27
2311 BG Leiden
Room
Vossius Room

An ethnographic excurse on the relation between mathematics, ideas and the understanding of agency

Despite a number of seminal contributions, such as Alfred Gell’s Art and Agency, anthropology has been reluctant to advance an informed, theoretical perspective on the nature of thought. This talk will present a case for the need to address this gap in our understanding of being human.

It will set out a potential solution, drawing on ethnographic case studies from Oceania that document an algorithmic underpinning of image, imagination and intuition. With recourse to Walter Benjamin’s ideas on translation as material practice, the theoretical reappraisal of the relation between thought and thing will emerge as critical to anthropology’s contribution to a comparative understanding of the workings of the human mind.

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