Dr. des. Anna Bloom ChristenWissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Anna Bloom Christen is lecturer and chair of the Research Group on Political Transformations at the University of Basel. She situates her research in, around and between anthropological theory and philosophy of action.
Anna has earned her PhD in Anthropology in 2020. She holds a Master degree in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews (UK) and a Bachelor degree in Philosophy and Social Sciences from the University of Basel.
From 2016 until 2019, Anna was PhD graduate student in the interdisciplinary Graduiertenkolleg “Das Reale in der Kultur der Moderne” at the University of Konstanz (DE). She was visiting PhD at the Philosophy Department at the University of Vienna (AT, 2017) and Rhodes University (ZA, 2018).
While completing her PhD, Anna has co-organized the following conferences and workshops:
“Sociality and Bodily Ways of Knowing – Ex Negativo”, Princeton University, workshop with Rita Kesselring (21. – 24.02.2019)
“Concerning Matters and Truths”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, panel “Questions of Identity – Poststructuralists and Populists” with Manfred Pfaffenthaler (04. – 06.10.2018)
“Singularity and Representation”, University of Chicago, panel “Ethnographic Method and Anthropological Writing Practice” with Hendrikje Grunow and Andreas Lipowsky (24. – 26.05.2018)
“Ways of Knowing”, Harvard Divinity School, 5 panel module “Bodily Ways of Sharing Knowledge” with Rita Kesselring (26. – 28.10.2017)
“Gattungstheorie”, University of Konstanz, panel “What’s in a Vignette?” with Hendrikje Grunow (29. – 30.06.2017)
Her PhD thesis "Walking Together: Perils of Participation in Anthropology and Philosophy of Action" (see also G3S) discusses conditions of empirical knowledge gain through participation. Based on a year of extensive field work, Anna examines local norms of walking together in highly racialized social settings of post-apartheid South Africa. She offers an account on how specific styles of group walking embody and answer to the legacy of racial suppression and division, but also how they function as shared acts of resistance and occupancy of segregated public space. On a methodological level, Anna questions the status of white testimonial evidence often building the foundation of ethnography. Theoretically, she dwells on philosophical action theory—where “walking together” has become a paradigm example for small-scale shared actions—and implements a non-reductive conception of shared intention based on the work of G.E.M. Anscombe.
Since completing her PhD in December 2020, Anna has begun a project about the nature of attentional habits.
Focus in Research
Anna is interested in the theoretical grounding of anthropological methodology, especially in what is often lumped together as “participant observation”. Separating observation and participation, she explores their points of contacts, their common grounds as well as their merits and disadvantages for empirical research on human social life. Anna is also interested in the history of anthropology as a discipline and the development of different schools of thinking that continue to shape the way anthropologists go about their work. Significantly, this research focus requires dwelling on the philosophical underpinnings of these developments, especially on competing presumption on what it is to be human.
Focus in Teaching
Anna has taught the following classes (*indicates self-designed syllabus, + indicates teaching assistance):
- Anthropology of Intentions*
- Anthropology of the Body*
- Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations*
- Classics of Anthropology
- Participation and Observation*
- Introduction to History and Theories of Anthropology +
- Introduction to Theoretical Philosophy: Epistemology +
- Introduction to Theoretical Philosophy: Aristotle, Kant, Wittgenstein +