2014-15 I semestre: From determinism to complexity
Corsi Dottorato II semestre 2014-2015
From determinism to complexity. Environment and society in anthropology and geography
Gaetano Mangiameli (Università di Bologna), Tania Rossetto (Università di Padova), Federica Cavallo (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari), Valerio Bini (Università di Milano)
Milano, 15, 16, 19, January 2015
The cycle of seminars “From determinism to complexity. Environment and society in anthropology and geography” aims to deconstructing “environment” as a taken-for-granted subject and to showing the variety of theoretical issues emerging from ethnographic researches about the environment. In spite of the current trend of hyperspecialization and reductionism, which, in turn, produce side effects as the naturalization and the reification of research subjects as objects immediately associated with a theoretical frame and then “ready-made” and neutrally available to analysis, this cycle of seminars will illustrate how environment has been and still is a conceptual place for ethnographic experimentation and theory-making.
In geography the notions of “nature” and, later, of “environment” deal with the conceptions of territory and with the representations of natural/human constructed landscapes. The role of water has been central in this processes, both in modernity, when it was mainly considered as a fluid to manage and engineerize, and in postmodernity, with a re-consideration of water as a multifunctional resource and as a socio-cultural object. The geographical case studies focus on the Adriatic shore of Veneto, regarding an outstanding wetland, as the Venetian Lagoon, and an “ordinary” hydraulic landscape (reclamation in the lowlands of Eastern Veneto). Both cases deal with coastal wetlands and wetlands reclamation; therefore they also allow a reflection on the identities and functions of such waterscapes nowadays.
The schedule consists of six sessions, each of which will host one or two seminars and discussion. The first part of the cycle will provide an introduction to the variety of approaches to environment in the anthropological literature, drawing on the contributions of a number of classic and contemporary authors (Marcel Mauss, Julian Steward, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, Roy Rappaport, Gregory Bateson, Marvin Harris, Stephen Lansing, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Philippe Descola, Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour, ecc.), and will pave the way for the monographic focus of the second part of the schedule. Then, during Sessions 4-5-6, geographers and anthropologists will introduce their own researches about water in European and Extra-European contexts.
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