Sarah Green is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki, and has previously worked at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. Her research has focused on the anthropology of borders, place and location for over 25 years, particularly in Greece, the Balkans, the Aegean region and, most recently, the Mediterranean, where she is currently carrying out research with an ERC Advanced Grant and a grant from the Academy of Finland (see ERC Advanced Grant Crosslocations and Academy of Finland Grant Trade, Travel & Transit). She has also carried out research on information and communications technologies, gender and sexuality, and money. Overall, her work focuses on the co-existence of diverse epistemologies that have social, political, and economic effects, and attempts to understand the relations and separations between them.
Sarah Green will present the paper:
Navigating through relative locations of desire (Thursday 6/4 13.00-14.25)
For people, location involves being somewhere in particular, amongst other things. It involves a sense of the relative significance and value of being somewhere, a sense of the ‘whereness’ of life. It also often involves an awareness of not being somewhere else, which involves a sense of both the relations and separations between ‘here’ and ‘elsewhere’. Drawing on these three initial premises, the paper will explore the multiple ways that people navigate to and from the north Aegean Greek island of Lesvos, with the aim of drawing out its different forms of relative location.
During 2015, Lesvos was one of the key transit points for refugees traveling via Turkey to the EU. People seeking some kind of escape, freedom or hope arrived there in their hundreds of thousands and then millions – enough to draw the attention of the international media and NGOs.
For several decades, Lesvos has also been a part of an LGBTQ transnational field, involving a combination of Greek classical history (the poet Sappho) and sun-sand-sea Mediterranean tourism. Yet a different part of the island annually attracts thousands of Greek Orthodox pilgrims to two sacred sites up in the mountains. In addition, there are residents of the island who regularly travel to the Turkish coast; women regularly go to Ayvalik on the day of the bazaar to shop; and some men regularly go to the city of Izmir/Smyrna, in search of unusual nightlife.
This combination of vastly different relations to a single place, and different reasons to travel to and from it, is common for most places. The aim of the paper is to explore how Lesvos simultaneously constitutes different forms of location, depending on its relations and separations with other locations, and on the relative difficulty or ease with which people navigate their way through the island.
Peter Hervik, anthropologist and Professor in Migration studies at the Department of Culture and Global Studies, at Aalborg University, Denmark. Hervik has conducted research among the Yucatec Maya of Mexico and on the representation in the news media of religious and ethnic minorities in Denmark, particularly themes of radical right wing populism, neonationalism, neoracism, ethnicitzation, populism, Islamophobia and related issues. His books include (March 2017). Can Behaviour Be Controlled? Women in Post-Revolutionary Egypt. (With Mette Toft Nielsen), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang; Mayan Lives Within and Beyond Boundaries. Social Categories and Lived Identity in Yucatan, (Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999, Routledge, 2001); The Annoying Difference. The Emergence of Danish Neonationalism, Neoracism, and Populism in the Post-1989 World. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, and The Danish Muhammad Cartoon Conflict. Current Themes in IMER Research 13, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), Malmö University (2012).
Peter Hervik will present the paper:
Denmark’s Blond Vision and the Logics of a Nation in Danger (Friday 7/4 16.00-17.20)
Racial reasoning in Denmark instantiates a specific logic, which we could call the “nation-in-danger” that can be found in circulating images, soundbites, visual signs, metaphors, and narratives created in political communication, news media, and everyday conversations. These discourses and practices are also directed at individuals and groups, who are represented as actors, that do not understanding the foreign threat to domestic cultural norms and values. On the basis of ongoing research of racialization as well as research on how to study the far right and white nationalism in Denmark and Northern Europe more broadly, I wish to analyze the ways in which the “nation-in-danger” works and how it relates to more traditional approaches to (neo)nationalism, which, I would argue, is inseparable from racialization. In addition, I will pose the polemic question: how and to what extent we, as anthropologists, can empathize with the “neo-nationalists” or similar categories of ideological stances as part of our efforts to understand such people and phenomena from within. In sum, I will argue that we need to re-conceptualize racialization that co-occurs with other forms of contestations such as anti-feminism, anti-multiculturalism, anti-left, and anti-intellectualism.