Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Europäische Ethnologie | Termine | Institutskolloquium im Sommersemester 2019

Institutskolloquium im Sommersemester 2019

  • Wann 28.05.2019 von 14:00 bis 16:00
  • Wo Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Raum 0007
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Violence and vigilance: on militarized sentience and phantasms of terror in Paris, France

Robert Desjarlais (Sarah Lawrence, NY)


Sondertermin: 28/5/2019, 6-8pm

This talk attends to an anthropological research and writing project with which the author is currently engaged, on the aftermath of violence in Paris, France – specifically, the November 13, 2015, attacks in Paris. In reflecting on the political, affective, and perceptual atmosphere in Paris in the months after the attacks, and on certain aspects of Opération Sentinelle, the state-sponsored program in which military soldiers patrol the city’s streets to protect its residents and deter acts of violence, the author develops a sensorial and material attuned account of an ethos of vigilance currently in effect in Paris and elsewhere. The vigilance itself relates to certain phantasms of violence, in which everyday life appears to be threatened by potentialities of fear, terror, and sudden violence.

Robert Desjarlais is a cultural anthropologist. He received his PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1990, and was a NIMH post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University from 1990 to 1992. He is particularly interested in the linkages between cultural, discursive, and sociopolitical forces and dimensions of subjectivity and intersubjectivity. Robert has conducted extensive and collaborative ethnographic research among Hyolmo people, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people, in both Nepal and in Queens, New York, beginning in the late 1980s. Three of his published books draw from that research, among them Subject to Death: Life and Loss in a Buddhist World, 2016. He is also the author of Shelter Blues: Sanity and Selfhood among the Homeless, which received the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing. His most recent book, published in 2019, is titled The Blind Man: A Phantasmography. He is currently undertaking anthropological research into questions of violence, vigilance, and colonial histories and postcolonial memory in Paris, France.


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