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The department runs a number of seminar series and lectures throughout the Michaelmas, Lent and Summer terms. This year we have had several regional and thematic seminar series. We also have a time-honoured weekly Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory, which has been the venue for cutting-edge, intensive debate on current research in the discipline since Malinowski's time at the LSE. You are welcome and encouraged to attend all departmental seminars.

We also hold the annual Malinowski Memorial Lecture which, unlike most named lectures, is awarded to outstanding anthropologists at an early stage of their career. Recent lectures have been given by Dr Alpa Shah (2012),   Dr Andrew Beatty (2013), Dr Rebecca Empson (2014), Dr Harry Walker (2015) and Dr Sian Lazar (2016).

In addition to these events we hold occasional Ethnographic film showings on a diverse range of topics.

All events are open to the public on a first come, first served basis where space is limited unless otherwise stated.

If you would like to receive email updates of our upcoming major events, please see the main Events page for details of how to subscribe.

You can find details of travelling to and around the LSE's campus here:  Maps and Directions.

Seminar Series

All events are free and open to all unless otherwise stated.

Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory

Michaelmas Term 2017

Friday 10:30am - 12:30pm
Seligman Library (OLD 6.05) Old Building

Friday seminar programme

29 September  

Alice Tilce (LSE)
‘The Art of Identity: Adivasi Art, Religion and the Indian Nation.’

6 October

Maka Suarez (Universidad Nacional de Educacion - Ecuador)
‘Spain’s Ecuadorian Subprime Citizens: Migrant Work, Mortgage Default, and a Failed Upward Mobility.’

13 October

Liat Tuv (LSE)
‘“Dark Humour” as a Shared Language; Joking Relationships and Equality in Friendship.’

20 October

Bhrigu Singh (Brown) 
‘Circuits and Fractures in the Mutuality of Being: Psychiatric Insights from a Sufi Shrine.’

27 October

Carlos David Londoño Sulkin (University of Regina)
‘A Moral Bioethnography of an Amazonian Mensch, Trickster, and Lothario'

10 November

David Gellner and Krishna Adhikari (Oxford)
‘Caste, Class and Culture in Contemporary Nepal’

17 November

Luisa Steur (Amsterdam)
‘Racism or "lack of respect"?: Black consciousness and sanitation workers' sense of (in)justice in post-reform Cuba.’

24 November

Hans Steinmuller (LSE)‘
Capturing People in 2017: Slavery, Adoption, and Conscription in Highland Burma.’

1 December

Massimiliano Mollona (Goldsmiths)
"Anthropology, Political Economy and the People. A reappraisal of the mode of production approach in anthropology."

8 December

Nate Roberts (Gottingen)
‘Dalits and "Hegemony": Some Clarifications.’

For further information about these Research Seminars on Anthropological Theory please contact Dr Alpa Shah  (A.M.Shah@lse.ac.uk).



Anthropology of Africa Seminar Series

Michaelmas Term 2017

All seminars take place in the Seligman Library (OLD 6.05) Old Building, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE between 4.00pm-6.00pm.

24 October 2017

Faithful suffering at a Christian mission hospital in rural Zambia
Jamie Wintrup (Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge)

In this paper, I consider the multiple meanings of suffering at a mission hospital in rural southern Zambia. For Zambian patients, attitudes to pain are related to wider conceptions of affliction, the body, and the meanings of suffering. I show how afflictions are not contained within the individual body of the sufferer and how forbearance can be a dignified and morally praiseworthy response to pain. For the American missionary doctors and nurses at the hospital, such attitudes to pain and suffering were testament to their patients being ‘closer to God’ than American patients, proof that Zambians live in a world not as corrupted by sinful temptation. This ‘productive misunderstanding’ (Livingston 2007), I will argue, has wider implications in terms of anthropological understandings of the moral and political meanings of ‘the suffering subject’ (Robbins, 2013), which has its own Christian genealogy.

21 November 2017 

Middle-class aspiration and the limits of professionalism in South Africa
Dr Elizabeth Hull (SOAS) 

More than twenty years after the fall of apartheid, South Africa remains one of the world’s most unequal societies. The ostentatious lifestyles of the elite contrast starkly with the growing unrest of a large ‘wageless’ population. But what about the educated middle tier of society? What has been their experience of democracy? 'Contingent Citizens' examines the ambiguous state of South Africa’s public sector workers and the implications for contemporary understandings of citizenship. It takes us inside an ethnography of the professional ethic of nurses in a rural hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, shaped by a deep history of mission medicine and changing forms of new public management. Liberal democratic principles of ‘transparency’,  ‘decentralization’ and ‘rights’, though promising freedom from control, often generate fear and insecurity instead. But despite the pressures they face,  nurses draw on a range of practices from international migration to new religious movements, to assert new forms of citizenship.

5 December 2017

Crisis as resource: “entrepreneurship” and motorcycle taxi drivers in Kigali
William Rollason (Brunel University)

Crisis has been a common experience in sub-Saharan Africa, at least since the 1980s with disastrous results for countless Africans. Such crises, however, can represent opportunities for entrepreneurship for those prepared to take the often-mortal risks involved, or the imposition of entrepreneurship as a strategy for getting by. In this paper, I explore the case of motorcycle taxi drivers in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. I argue first that Rwanda is not a state in crisis, exhibiting instead tight governmental control and effective social and economic regulation. To make a living in this political environment, motorcyclists are compelled to generate crisis within the systems that supposedly regulate their business. This converts governmental control into a simulacrum, at the same time as it compels motorcyclists to ‘invest’ life and limb to make a living. Thus, while current developments in Rwanda suggest that there is now no ‘crisis’, but as elsewhere in Africa, it is very present for many people. Indeed, the way in which the country is governed demands the creation of a state of crisis for many, since it is only in crisis that the opportunities to make a living can be created. Correspondingly, the creation of crisis and its entrepreneurial exploitation at the bottom of the social hierarchy creates a kind of ‘meta-crisis’ in the relation between a formalising, modernising and heavily regulatory government and the population – a potentially explosive disjointing of the relations of domination.