The state of the art: the anthropology of art and the anthropology of the state (CfPs)

Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov's picture

The state of the art: the anthropology of art and the anthropology of the state

 

What is the place of art and aesthetics in the anthropology of the state? What is the place of the state in the anthropology of art? The second question seems more universal in a comparative ethnographic perspective — the state is a recognizable artistic patron across societies — while the first seems denote legacies of authoritarianism and state socialism. Existing scholarship in this field takes its cue from Benjamin’s observations about the ‘aestheticization of politics’ under fascism, as well as from the role of art, from constructivism to socialist realism, in Soviet-type societies. This line of research is contingent on the understanding of art as a specific modern cultural concept, one that isolates aesthetics as an autonomous field and re-assembles it with politics in specific locations. However, this view holds neither for contemporary art, which critiques this ‘purely aesthetic’ perspective, nor for the contemporary anthropology of art — specifically for Alfred Gell’s reconceptualizaton of art as a form of agency. How might the relationship of the anthropology of the state and the anthropology of art look like given these two advances? What, from this point of view, is the relationship between the state and political aesthetics today? In what ways might contemporary governance be approached as an art? What is contemporary political art, and what are modalities of contemporary politicized art? The panel seeks a comparative exploration of these questions that would draw on a broad range of ethnographic case studies. 

 

Conveners:

Nikolai Ssorin Chaikov (Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg) nssorinchaikov@hse.ru

Michal Murawski (Queen Mary, University of London) g.m.murawski@gmail.com

 

ART, MATERIALITY AND REPRESENTATION

Conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute, co-organized with the British Museum and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

London 1-3 June 2018

Panel PO65 The state of the art: the anthropology of art and the anthropology of the state

To propose a paper:
https://nomadit.co.uk/rai/events/rai2018/conferencesuite.php/panels/6122

Deadline for paper proposals 8 January 2018