EASA2022: Transformation, Hope and the Commons

17th EASA Biennial Conference
EASA2022: Transformation, Hope and the Commons
School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast
26-29 July, 2022
 
 
Katiana Le Mentec (CNRS, CCJ-CECMC) intervient dans le cadre du panel Haunting pasts, future utopias: an anthropology of ruins
Ce panel est co-organisé par Valentina Gamberi (Research Centre for Material Culture) et Chiara Calzana (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
 
Valentina Gamberi travaille sur Taiwan depuis 2017. Après un post doctorat à l’Institute of Ethnology in Academia Sinica (2019-2020), elle est engagé dans le projet Magical power as Heritage: a Taiwanese Retelling of Sacred Waste qu’elle mène auResearch Center for Material Culture (Leiden, Pays-Bas)
 
Ce panel (P021) est divisé en 3 sessions, pour 12 interventions : 
 
P021a : Tuesday 26 July, 12:00-13:45
P021b: Wednesday 27 July, 9:00-10:45
P021c: Wednesday 27 July, 11:15-13:00
 
Le panel P021a du Mardi 26 juillet  12:00-13:45 comprendra deux interventions sur la Chine : 
 
Fang-I Chu (Leiden University) Ruins of Remains: Unpacking narratives about a graveyard of political victims, wardens, and soldiers in a museum of state violence 
This paper focuses on how ruins of historical tragedies are embedded in the reflections on political trauma and diverse religious practices. I concentrate on the Thirteen Squad on Green Isalnd, a graveyard that many political victims and activists annually visit to show their respects to the deceased—especially to the political inmates who died when being confined on the off-shore Island during the White Terror Period. However, the remains in the graveyard are not limited to victims but include the representations of the state, such as soldiers and wardens. Furthermore, some political inmates’ remains are already removed from the graveyard and reburied elsewhere by their family members. In general, fewer remains of the political victims result in more salient existences of the graves and monuments belonging to the warden and soldiers. Besides, local residents on Green Island often convey their discomfort about the existence of these deceased outsiders. By conducting interviews and participant observations in 8 months of fieldwork, I argue that the political victims, activists, and local residents bear ambivalent attitudes toward the Thirteen Squad due to different political and cultural backgrounds. The political victims and the activist groups continue their commemoration and expand the definition of “political victims” to encompass the graves of wardens and soldiers. Meanwhile, local residents’ strong opposition against the graveyard can also reflect their religious practices about the boundary between locals and outsiders. Their different attitudes connote the complexity and difficulties on conserving heritage related to death in a post-authoritarian era.
 
Katiana Le Mentec (CNRS, CCJ)
 
What happens when familiar spaces are irrevocably transformed by a destructive event – that is, when they enter a transitory state before cleaning or rebuilding, left abandoned to further deterioration, or preserved in a stage of decay in the disaster aftermath of a disaster? An ethnographic approach permits a close look at the transformative processes affecting the relations that people develop with such distorted spaces, that are invested with meaning, which feelings and memories are associated, and in which specific practices took place. This paper examines contrasting interactions between people and the ruins of their city, which was destroyed in its entirety a) intentionally and gradualy during the turn of the millennium, upstream of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir the case of Yunyang (Chongqing), and b) suddenly and lethally by the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008 in the case of Beichuan (Sichuan), advertised as the world’s biggest and best-preserved remnant of such a catastrophe. Yunyang and Beichuan people do not necessarily share the same anthropotopias of their city and of its ruins. Some search for a sensory contact, while others prefer to avoid such a relationship. This paper proposes hypotheses on representations and practices, outlining schemes in presence. The data allow to roughly identify several modalities of interaction with ruins, that are presented through a selection of representative ethnographic cases.
 
A noter qu’il comprendra aussi une intervention sur le Japon : 
 
Lily-Cannelle Mathieu (Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique) : Reimagining time(s) in the ruins of history: an ethnography of Hiroshima’s atomic and more-than-human temporalities 
As I was doing ethnographic fieldwork in Hiroshima, in the summer of 2019, 74 years after the city had been bombed by the Americans’ “Little Boy”, I perceived the blooming of hopes for a different understanding of temporality. Time(s) appeared multiple, indeterminate, entropic, liberated. Time(s) appeared spontaneous, potential. Time(s) appeared as possibilities. In History’s ruins, in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and in its Shukkeien garden, late irises, early mushrooms, verdant mosses and unwanted weeds were blooming. And pines and their pine-pruners were pursuing heterogeneous pursuits of spacetimemattering, letting the city’s history and its more-than-human temporalities speak for themselves. In Hiroshima, surrounded by such temporalities and acting as an apprentice to master pine-pruners, I reimagined time(s), and in this presentation, I propose an opening of time(s)’ definition and illustrate some phenomenological methods for regrounding oneself in time(s)’ qualitative possibility. In letting History’s ruins speak, I first argue that Time has been destabilized: that unilinear, homogenous, and progressive modernist Time has gone astray; that, in Hiroshima’s and History’s ruins, temporal confusion abounds; and that the actuality and continuance of nuclear radiation vaporizes standardized Time. Second, I present phenomenological propositions, observed in the field, for re-conceptualizing time(s) through sensory engagement: a too-regularized, too-patterned traditionalist Japanese sensitivity to seasons’ Seconds; a slowed-down attentiveness to brute actuality and its Seconds of temporal heterogeneity; and, lastly, a pruning technique embodying and expressing spacetimemattering. This presentation, hence, suggests that a life in ruins can suggest new ways of understanding the world.

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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