3rd symposium

 Posthumanist Explorations between Anthropology and Science Studies

International Conference and Workshop at Kyoto University

etghp_sympo2013smallDate: March 3-4, 2012 (Saturday and Sunday)
Venue: Kyoto University, Institute for Research in Humanities (Main Bldg., Conference Room)
access map: http://www.zinbun.kyoto-u.ac.jp/e/institute/access-institute/access_e.htm
Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required.


Whereas artifacts, animals and all sorts of otherworldly creatures have long occupied the attention of anthropologists, recent encounters with science and technology studies have stimulated a novel interest in ecological thinking. Part of the impetus for this research comes from a shared critical stance towards the anthropocentric bias of social research. Another important issue central to these debates has been a growing emphasis on innovation at the ethnographic level. Posthumanist approaches call for a closer attention to nonhuman entities by exploring their role in what constitutes the senses, persons, worlds, etc. This conference will reflect on these conceptual and methodological currents in anthropology and beyond with the participation of scholars from diverse backgrounds and fields of study. Some of the key concerns and question we shall focus on are: What disciplinary boundaries have to be crossed or permeated to reveal otherwise unattended links between human and nonhuman ways of acting in the world? What are the distinguishing features of these analytic experimentations when compared to earlier work in ecological and cultural anthropology? How do the variety of posthumanist trends, from actor-network theory to multispecies ethnography and ontological anthropology, differ from and relate to each other? We hope to address these questions by both discussing new theoretical challenges and presenting diverse ethnographic cases relevant to the ongoing transformations of the world—a world, which is populated with humans and animate non-humans alongside techniques, and anthropologists who try to understand them.


 Guest Speakers

Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)
Miho Ishii (Kyoto University)
Natasha Myers (York University)
Mei Zhan (University of California, Irvine) 

Workshop Presenters

Moe Nakazora (JSPS/Kyoto University)
Lea Schick (IT University, Copenhagen)
Wakana Suzuki (Osaka University) 


Day 1 (Graduate Workshop)

13:30  Introduction

13:45  The Care of the Cells: Body, Care and Affect
             Wakana Suzuki (Osaka University)
Comments by Natasha Myers (York University)

14:45  (Coffee Break)

14:55  Infrastructuring Smart Grid Environments: Technological Artifacts, Subjectpositions and ‘Natures’
             Lea Schick (IT University, Copenhagen)
Comments by Mei Zhan (University of California, Irvine)

15:55  (Coffee Break)

16:05  Pure Gifts for Future Benefit? Giving Form to Subject in the Biodiversity Databasing Project in India
             Moe Nakazora (JSPS/Kyoto University)
Comments by Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)

17:15  Closing comments by Paul Hansen (Tsukuba University)

Day 2 (International Symposium)

10:00 Moderator/Introductory Remarks by Gergely Mohácsi (Osaka University)

10:15  Excitable Tissues: Vocalities and Temporalities in Botanical Experiments
             Natasha Myers (York University)

11:15   (Coffee Break)

11:30   Disharmony Undivided: Thinking, Doing and Being Posthuman through Daosim
Mei Zhan (University of California, Irvine)

12:30  (Lunch Break)

13:30  The Ecology of Transaction: Dividual Persons, Spirits, and Machinery in the Special Economic Zone in South India
Miho Ishii (Kyoto University)

14:30  Not feeding (or eating) meerkats
             Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)

15:30  (Coffee Break)

15:45  General Discussion


For further details contact:

Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp, or
Gergely Mohacsi (Keio University) mohacska@z3.keio.jp

6th workshop

6th Ethnographies of Science & Technology Workshop

At the Crossroads of Medical and Cultural Anthropology

– Culture, Medicine, Comparison –


Date and Time: August 29, 2012, 15:00~18:00
Venue: G-sec Lab, 6F, East Building, Mita Campus, Keio University
Access: http://www.keio.ac.jp/access.html

Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required.
This event will be held in English; summary in Japanese is provided after each talk.
For further details contact: Gergely Mohacsi (mohacska@z3.keio.jp)


15:00 Introductory Remarks

     Gergely Mohacsi (CARLS, Keio University)

15:15 Beyond the Horizon: An Inquiry into the Outermost Reaches of the

     Anthropological Gaze and the Comparative Method

     Allan Young (McGill University)

16:15 (Coffee Break)

16:30 Roundtable Discussion

 Coordinator: Gergely Mohácsi (Keio University)


Allan Young (McGill University)
Pino Schirippa (University of Rome)
Kitanaka Junko (Keio University)
Yamazaki Goro (Osaka University)
Hamada Akinori (JSPS)

17:30 General Discussion
Coordinator: Miyasaka Keizo (Keio University)


The suggested motion for the roundtable discussion is:

Medical anthropology illuminates the recursive relationship between the anthropological tool of comparison and human differences.

Physicians and other medical professionals—not to mention patients—are only very rarely interested in the debates of medical anthropologists. One reason for this is that medical anthropology will never be able to cure people; one field, however, where medical anthropologists can contribute is (cultural) anthropology. Comparison is one issue/method where such a contribution is possible. It used to be the ultimate method in anthropology, but for a long time it is rather a target of criticism than anything else. Medical anthropologists, however, can provide many examples of how people—patients, physicians, epidemiologists, brain scientists, etc.—actually do comparisons all the time. We should rethink comparison as both a method and a daily practice (in medicine, and else) that links ethnography and anthropology. Whatever we think about its correctness or validity, comparison is one way people do their cultures, their religions, their sciences, their ethnicities, their gender, etc. It is therefore a very good example how anthropologists do exactly what their informants do—but it is very rarely admitted (despite the many other examples for such a recursive relationship in anthropology. The argument here is that admitting this relationship between the method and subject of ethnography may lead to new innovations in anthropological theory and practice, and that medical anthropology has a pivotal role there.

5th workshop

5th Ethnographies of Science & Technology Workshop


Casper Bruun Jensen
(IT University of Copenhagen)

【場所】大阪大学人間科学研究科(吹田キャンパス)2階 会議室B
問い合わせ先:鈴木 和歌奈(wakana.s.kyoto@gmail.com)。
※ テキストについてはこちらから入手ください。


「存在論的転換」という言葉が、昨今日本でも多くの人類学者の口に上るようになってきました。しかしながら、この言葉が何をさしているのかは必ずしも明白ではありません。たとえば、科学技術を研究する人類学者たちは、自然についての科学的事実が科学の実践を通して立ち現れるというSTSの議論に依拠して、知識についての人類学的研究をモノの自然的/技術的構成も含んだものに拡張することを主張してきました。一方、Viveiros de Castroらの影響を受けた人々は、存在論を世界認識のあり方の根源的な他者性をとらえる方法として主張しています。さらに、こうした議論は、Roy WagnerからMarilyn Strathernに至る民族誌的な実践のイノベーションと絡み合ってきました。そのため、現在、存在論をめぐる議論はある種の混乱状態にあるように思われます。今回の研究会では、存在論をめぐってデンマーク人類学会で戦わされた論争のコメンタリーとして、Christopher Gad, Casper Jensen, Brit Ross Winthereikが共著した論文を取り上げます。この論文で著者たちは、STSと人類学の異同に注目しながら、存在論をめぐる議論の状況の整理を試みています。当日は、著者の一人であるCasper Jensenさんとともにこの問題を考えたいと思います。なお、当日はテキストを読んでくることを参加の条件とさせていただきます。


Christopher Gad, Casper Bruun Jensen & Brit Ross Winthereik (manuscript) “Practical Ontology: Worlds in STS and Anthropology” (English translation of the original Danish text appeared in “Tidsskriftet Antropologi” in 2012).

4th workshop

4th Ethnographies of Science & Technology Workshop

Ontologies and Transubstantialist Ontology

Aurélie Névot
(CNRS, French National Centre for Scientific Research)

問い合わせ先:森田敦郎 morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp


The new millennium has so far marked an “ontological turning point” in anthropology. “Anthropology of Culture must be coupled with Anthropology of Nature” writes the French anthropologist Philippe Descola in Par-delà nature et culture, in his plan to rethink the Culture-Nature relationship by undertaking a “monistic anthropology” which would put an end to the traditional opposition between Nature and Culture and would then split with its institutional heritage, with its “constitutive dualism”. Another French anthropologist, Albert Piette, has recently criticized the relationist and culturalist “epistemological climate”, and in doing so, descolian anthropology. He foresees a method he calls “phenomenography” or else “ontography” in order to “break free of the socio-cultural focus to observe people, one by one, in their living continuity”. Thus, he proposes to develop an “ontic” perspective. It consists in studying the “existing”, in questioning how those beings are, how they exist in but also beyond their relationship with humans. In this sense, ontic methodology is anti-structuralist, anti-fonctionalist, anti-sociological, and anti-relationist. If P. Descola is a “relationist”, A. Piette could be seen as an existentialist. As for the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, who argues that relationship is the “master notion” of anthropology, he advocates the study of the indigenous point of view, ardently criticizing the concept of “agency” and other notions referring to substantiality.In such an epistemological context, what could be said if “relationship” serves as a basis for representations of the world? If, more to the point, exchange is considered as an endogenous flagship concept, if the elements observed in the structure do not serve as markers for anthropological conceptualization, but if it is what links the elements involved in the local discourse that have to be conceptualized? What can one say if in-structure prevails over structure? If the relationship – the link associated with matter, substance – is the bedrock of the belief system? These questions emerge from studying ethnographic material from a Chinese minority, because the rituality of their shamans called “Masters of Psalmody”, bimo, does not fit de facto into the “relationist” theory. In their apprehension of the world, more than the ritual structure, it is indeed the movement/the shifting between bodies inside the ritual structure that prevails. We will try to defend this idea in order to draft a new ontological approach: “transubstantialist ontology”.



2nd symposium

Ethnographic Engagements with Technocultural Practices

International Symposium and Workshop at Osaka University

etghp_sympo2012smallDate: March 3-4, 2012 (Saturday and Sunday)
Venue: Osaka University Hall (formerly Igo-kan, Toyonaka Campus)
access map: http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/access/toyonaka.html
Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required.


Scientific and local knowledge making are constantly at play in our world, and ethnographers engage with them in ways that are contingent to the modes of the encounter. This relatively novel ethnographic condition has been fertile ground for the ongoing dissatisfaction with the positivist division between theory and practice and led many researchers to detailed study of scientific work. What are the conceptual challenges that need to be addressed if the relationship between science and local knowledges is taken up laterally? How does the interplay of ethnographic and technocultural practices affect different pathways of situating ourselves (and others) between nature and culture? These are some of the questions that we hope to address. The symposium will bring together scholars from anthropology and science and technology studies to account for the methodological richness of this new mode of ethnographic engagement.


Following the international symposium of the same title, a workshop for young scholars will be held at the Osaka University Hall on March 4, 2012. The purpose of this event is to give an opportunity for graduate students and postgraduate researchers of anthropology and related fields to present their materials in English in a friendly and informal atmosphere and to receive comments from our invited guests.


 Guest Speakers

Helen Verran (University of Melbourne)
Casper B. Jensen (IT University of Copenhagen)
Koji Sasaki (JSPS)
Hirokazu Miyazaki (Cornell University) 

Workshop Presenters

Group 1
NISHI Makoto (Kyoto University)
NAKAZORA Moe (University of Tokyo)
WAKAMATSU Fumitaka (Harvard University)

Group 2
Ece ÖYKEN (University of Tokyo)
UESUGI Takeshi (McGill University)
Greg de ST. MAURICE (U.of Pittsburgh, Visiting Researcher at Minpaku)
TAKEMURA Yoshiaki (Osaka University)
NOBORI Kukiko (Osaka University)

Group 3
YOSHIDA Naofumi (Waseda University)
NAKATANI Kazuto (Kyoto University)
UMEDA Yuna (Yamaguchi University)
WATANABE Noriko (Kyoto University)


 Day 1 (International Symposium)

10:00  Opening Remarks

10:10  Introduction
         Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) and Gergely Mohácsi (Keio University)

10:50  Ethnography of Numbers
           Helen Verran (University of Melbourne)

11:30   Q&A session

11:40   Recursive Partnership, Recursive Infrastructure, Recursive Ethnography
           Casper Bruun Jensen (IT University of Copenhagen)

12:20  Q&A session

12:30  (Lunch)

13:30  Relaying Agencies in Knowledge: Minor intellectuals and anthropologist
           Koji Sasaki (University of Tokyo)

14:10  Q&A session

14:20  The Gift in Finance
           Hirokazu Miyazaki (Cornell University)

15:00  Q&A session

15:10  (Coffee break)

15:30  General Comments
           Kasuga Naoki (Hitotsubashi University)
Kurimoto Eisei (Osaka University)

16:00  Discussion

Day 2 (Graduate Workshop)

11:30 Lunch Meeting (everybody is welcome)

13:00              PRESENTATIONS in 3 groups
Group 1 (by Prof. Verran)
Group 2 (by Prof. Miyazaki)
Group 3 (by Prof. Jensen)

15:45              (Coffee Break)

16:00  General Discussion (until 16:45)

For further details contact:

Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp, or
Gergely Mohacsi (Keio University) mohacska@z3.keio.jp
Symposium HP: http://anthropology.hus.osaka-u.ac.jp/120303.html