Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: General Anthropology Division
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Indigeneity
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
By design, the anthropological imagination is a reflexive declaration of who we are in the process of relational fieldwork encounters, making meaning, presenting narratives and scripting accounts of cultural and social life. Yet this process can be obscured in our writing and overall conduct as anthropologists or carefully guarded in politically charged contexts for research. It is in the latter that many anthropologists must thoughtfully negotiate their role in identity politics and representation. Simultaneously invoking ideas of invention, collaboration, sense making, and knowledge translation, there is both ease and discomfort that comes with the realisation that anthropologists imagine worlds into existence through creating a discourse of social life. In many instances though, our collaborators play a vital role in shaping our imaginative consciousness and potential. When conducting ethnography over the long-term, there is no doubt that we are changed, and enriched as individuals, a process which may lead to profound shifts in awareness.
In this session three generations of anthropologists, who have dedicated their respective careers to collaborating with the same Indigenous community, that is Yanyuwa families in northern Australia, put their imaginations in the spotlight. They will critically examine how their consciousness of Indigenous lived experience has developed, been challenged, has failed or been enriched through sustained collaborations with one community, and also a generational cohort of anthropologists. The papers in this session will see the contributors declare themselves in the process of making meaning, exploring the anthropological imagination as a reflexive commitment. Papers will engage with tensions of sharing knowledge, introducing new knowledge, narrating Indigenous experience, coming to know in new ways, contested rights to speak, and cultivating an empathic imagination in anthropology.