Toward radical humanism in anthropology. Beyond universalism: abduction as a transformation of method. Kamari Maxime Clarke

Ataya: HUMA Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Speaker: Kamari Maxime Clarke (University of Toronto, Canada / UCLA, United States)

 Project/Paper: ‘Beyond Universalism: Abduction as a Transformation of Method’ by Kamari Maxime Clarke (unpublished draft, 2021)

Kamari Maxine Clarke

Bio: Kamari Maxime Clarke is the Distinguished Professor of Transnational Justice and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), United States. For more than twenty years, Professor Clarke has conducted research on issues related to legal institutions, human rights and international law, religious nationalism and the politics of globalization.

Professor Clarke is the author of nine books and over sixty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, including her 2009 publication of Fictions of Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Legal Pluralism in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cambridge, 2009) and Affective Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback (Duke, 2019), which won the finalist prize for the American Anthropological Association’s 2020 Elliot P. Skinner Book Award for the Association for Africanist Anthropology and the 2020 Royal Anthropological Institute’s Amaury Talbot Book Prize. Clarke has also been the recipient of other research and teaching awards, including multiple grant awards from the National Science Foundation, The Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), Rockefeller Foundation and Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Very recently, she was the recipient of the Guggenheim Award for 2021.

Topic: This presentation examines American anthropology’s universalist tradition and its relegation of Black and Indigenous lives into objects of positivist methodologies. It explores the impact of those exclusions on the formation of a particular type of cultural anthropology whose goal became the ‘objective’ documentation of other humans for the purposes of humanist knowledge formation. By asking how alternative ethnographic tools and practices can enable approaches that attend to alternate knowledge forms, the talk seeks to move away from the production of universalist knowledge forms driven by positivist methods and logics. Instead, it takes seriously the fragmented and unfinished knowledges made explicit through the concept of abduction as a critical method that can be advanced through a radically humanist approach.

Such an approach to abduction as a critical articulation of partiality as a method is used in this article to destabilize the basis on which the knowable subject is pursued in anthropological analysis. The contribution is in rethinking the foundational making of the canon through its exclusions. The methods discussed in the essay are also reflective of the writing commitments that frame it with the goal of contributing to the development of an anthropology of Radical Humanism for the 21st century.

How Ataya works: One presenter and their work – in exchange with the audience. Each Ataya session engages with selected work by the presenter (a text, artwork, performance, even food). The presenter introduces their work and grounds the subsequent discussion with the participants. For best engagement, we recommend participants to view the work (made available in advance on our website) before the session. More on the Ataya Series

Thu, 04 Nov 2021 -
17:00 to 18:00

Zoom webinar
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