KILLING SPACE, GIVING LIFE TO SPACE: INTERDISCIPLINARY EXCURSIONS IN SPATIAL ANTHROPOLOGY
RAI RESEARCH WEBINAR: LES ROBERTS, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL
A VIRTUAL SEMINAR SERIES BY THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE
Thursday 14 October 2021 at 3.00 - 5.00pm (BST)
In this paper I draw on ideas set out in the book Spatial Anthropology: Excursions in Liminal Space (Roberts, 2018) which have, as their departure point, the constitutive interdisciplinarity of the spatial humanities. The paper is loosely organised around three central provocations. The first of these, space is a ball that bounces here and there, which is attributed to Soto Zen founder Eihei Dogen, is playfully put to work to explore the ineffability of space and the merits of approaching ‘it’ as if a koan. The second provocation, spatial anthropology is not the same thing as the anthropology of space, probes the contention that, howsoever defined, spatial anthropology encompasses orientations and practices that need not align with, or be reducible to, anthropology as a disciplinary field. The third provocation, killing space is the dialectical precondition for the project of giving life to space, is not to argue ‘against space’ (Ingold 2011) but rather to explore how its negation can better inform a phenomenology of space that draws out its embodied and performative affects. By extension, tending to the breathability, pliability and spaciousness of space (or lack of), the paper ponders the question of whether, in the sustainable pursuit of its application, spatial anthropology is itself only of value to the extent that it too can be killed off.
© Les Roberts 2016. All Rights Reserved.