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Ontology as an anthropological tool: limits and potentialities

Friday 4 November 2022
Welcome with coffee & tea at 09:45. Masterclass starts at 10:00.
Vrije Universiteit - Amsterdam

HG -1D08 / HG Vergaderruimte Forum 3

Registration is mandatory.


About the masterclass

This master class entitled Ontology as an anthropological tool: limits and potentialities will be devoted to critically think about  a contemporary and often contentious theoretical orientation and methodological sensibility  pertaining to the so-called 'ontological turn' in anthropology, science and technology studies and beyond.

Inspired by key texts concerning the relevance of ontology, this class invites students to think not only about how and why it might be relevant to put questions of ontology at the heart of anthropological inquiry, but aso to ponder the possible political implications ‘ontological sensibilities’ might trigger in the many worlds we face as etnographers.

In the first part of this master class, guest lectures will introduce themselves by offering a  short story-telling exercise on how they encountered ontological ideas in their paths and how these ideas have opened up novel ways of thinking and dealing with enthographic materials. Lectures will particularly focus on how ontological reasoning has enabled  “the otherwise” to be taken seriously and, at the same time, rendered it ethnographically accountable. Followed by an active discussion of four relevant texts, students will be encouraged to think about their own research concerns and dilemmas by mobilizing ontological sensibilies. To which extent are these ontological ideas and sensibilities  suitable conceptual and methodological tools to be mobilized in your own research?

Required readings


This masterclass is part of the course Contemporary Anthropology of the Netherlands School of Anthropology. Each masterclass takes 3-4 hours and offers a combination of a lecture and a seminar.

The NESA masterclasses are for all Cultural Anthropology PhD students from Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Radboud University and Leiden University.

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