21 Apr 2021
16:15  - 18:00


Institute of Social Anthropology

Öffentliche Veranstaltung, Kolloquium / Seminar

The object

Presentation by Elisio Macamo, Sociology, University of Basel

If you would like to join the Zoom session, please contact s.burri@unibas.ch.

What is it we are studying when we claim to be looking into anything? More specifically, what are we learning when we say that we are studying Africa? The most straightforward answer to these questions is to conflate the intellectual agenda of our discipline (social anthropology, sociology, political science, etc.) with the object, arguing, for instance, that we are studying culture, society and politics. Such an answer is, of course, circular. In this presentation, I will discuss the challenge of defining the object in the social sciences, in general, and in African Studies, particularly as part of a general reflection on Area Studies and interdisciplinary work. The claim I will put forward is to the effect that a clear definition of “the object” might be our best bet towards defining the nature of interdisciplinary work.

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