Plenary Sessions

Plenary Session 1: Indigeneity, exclusion/inclusion and citizenship
9.00 am Wednesday 6/7/2011, Octogon Theatre

Dame Anne Salmond, Professor Alberto Gomez

Anne Salmond

Anne Salmond is a Distinguished Professor in Maori Studies and Anthropology at the University of Auckland, and the author of seven award-winning books and many articles about Maori life and early contacts between Europeans and islanders in Polynesia. She is a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Dame Commander of the British Empire; and was recently honoured with a Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.

Her most recent work, Aphrodite's Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti, describes early cross-cultural encounters in Tahiti; and she is about to publish a new book on William Bligh. Her current research project aims to describe Maori life just before the first arrival of Europeans in New Zealand.

Plenary Title: Ontological Quarrels: Indigeneity, Exclusion and Citizenship in a Relational World

This paper explores a relational ontology that emerges from Maori chants and narratives about the origins and workings of the cosmos, as studied in part by Marcel Mauss and Marshall Sahlins. Here, the world is understood as an unbounded whole, in which ancestral phenomena and the relationships between them are generated through a spiralling process of reciprocal exchange (utu). Beginning with a surge of energy and thought, these exchanges alternate between gift giving, amity and union, and quarrelling, enmity and exclusion, and work towards equilibrium. They give order to the world, underpinning conceptions such as tapu, mana, taonga and the hau.

This resilient ontological style and its recursive implications will be examined through a series of historical events and transformations in New Zealand - early debates between Europeans and Maori about cosmological conceptions; negotiations between rangatira (chiefly leaders) and the British Crown over the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi; the Land Wars of the 1860s; ideas of citizenship as discussed during the first Maori renaissance in the early twentieth century; current ideas of Indigeneity; and attempts to right historic wrongs through the Waitangi Tribunal.

Alberto Gomes

Alberto Gomes is professor of anthropology at La Trobe University (Australia). He has maintained a longstanding association with Malaysian Aborigines (Orang Asli) as a scholar-activist since 1975 and has recently embarked on work with Goan Adivasis (Tribals)in India. His books include Modernity and Identity: Asian Illustrations (edited volume, La Trobe University Press, 1994), Malaysia and the Original People (with R. Dentan, K. Endicott, and M. B. Hooker, Allyn and Bacon, 1997), Looking for Money (COAC and Trans Pacific Press, 2004), Modernity and Malaysia: Settling the Menraq Forest Nomads (Routledge, 2007) and Multiethnic Malaysia (edited with Lim Teck Ghee and Azly Rahman, USCI and SIRD, 2009). He is currently editing two books, one on the Orang Asli, tentatively titled Orang Asli Dilemma, and the other an introductory volume on the Goan Adivasis, with mainly contributions from Indigenous scholars. He is also writing a sole-authored book examining the nexus between equality, sustainability and peace.

Plenary Title: Anthropology and the politics of Indigeneity

Anthropologists working in Indigenous communities have had to come to terms with multiple interpretations, configurations, and local inflections of the transnational concept of Indigeneity. While this has been intellectually and politically challenging for anthropologists, several in the academy have been so troubled with the inconsistencies and contradictions in the way the concept has been articulated and understood at the coalface of anthropological research that they have raised serious doubts in regard to the valency of the concept. A lexical exclusion of the concept, however, could be tantamount to 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater', as in so many other politically charged words, terms, and labels. It is indeed a discursive risk to quibble with the concept of Indigeneity which has become a significant political strategy or tactic in the counter-hegemonic Indigenous social movements against exploitative, oppressive and repressive regimes throughout the world. I will address these issues in the context of Malaysia and India, focusing on some of the conundrums and contradictions associated with the transnational concept of Indigeneity. How, for example, might the contradiction between local-level Indigenous inclusivity and the exclusivity implicit in the transnational concept be reconciled or resolved? I shall conclude with a reflection on the role anthropologists might take on in the politics of Indigeneity, drawing from my 35-year long research experience among the Orang Asli (Malaysian Aborigines) and my more recent work among Adivasis in Goa, India.

Plenary Session 2: Global Diffusion of Development Models
9.00am Thursday 7/7/2011, Octagon Theatre

Professor Shiv Visvanathan

Gustavo Lins Ribeiro

Due to an emergency situation, Gustavo Lins Ribeiro, will be unable to present his paper. We will be beginning this plenary with two short presentations, one by Leslie Aiello concerning the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and a second by Deepak Kumar Behera concerning the upcoming 2012 IUAES intercongress, with the theme ‘Children and Youth in a Changing World’ at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.

Shiv Visvanathan

Shiv Visvanathan is an anthropologist of science and a Human rights researcher. He taught at the Delhi School of Economics. He was Senior fellow Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi and is currently Professor, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gandhinagar. He has held visiting professorships at Stanford, Arizona, Smith and London. He is author of Organizing for Science (OUP, Delhi, 1985), A Carnival for Science (OUP, Delhi, 1997) and has co-edited Foulplay: Chronicles of Corruption (Banyan Books, Delhi, 1999). He has been consultant to the National Council of Churches and Business India. He is a regular columnist to newspapers like The New Indian Express and The Deccan Chronicle (Asian Age). He also contributes regularly to Tehelka and Governance Now. He is currently completing two books one on the sociology of populist dictatorships and the other exploring energy as metaphor in imagination in India.

Plenary Title: Contesting Polarities: The gossip of Globalization

Globalisation is a process which has more maps than territories. Globalisation is a myth in the making with too many competitive histories. It is a retelling of old contradictions in a search for new mutations. The old dichotomies of West/East, North/South, developed/undeveloped, local/global, rich/poor seek both new substance and new dissolutions. One needs to deconstruct 'false oppositions' like the one being forced between China and India or Islam and West and look for more interesting theories of difference between Europe and the USA.

The career of globalisation itself takes place in terms of a flux of vectors. Globalisation expresses itself in terms of keywords like sustainability, innovation, diversity, rights, humanitarianism, multiculturalism, standardisation, regulation. These are travelling concepts which create their own trajectories and become shifters as we move across the conceptual and political space, changing oppositions into new types of closure and connectivity. Not only is language making hegemony problematic, but the body has escaped from the old body politic creating an explosion of grammars.

Interpretation and life words vary when the worlds are oral, textual or digital. There are new synecdoches being created. We are going to need new interpreters, what political scientist Chandrika Parmar has called epistemic middlemen.

What keeps the Globalisation process open is the transition from space to time. The multiplicities of time open out a play of new possibilities, as globalisation plays out the new debates of apocalypse, emergence, risk, speed, composition, nostalgia, body, time, obsolescence, triage, waste, memory. Time might alter the old categories of social contract demanding a wild ethics beyond regulation, standardisation and the current procrusteanism of social contract.

This essay is an attempt to pluralize globalism to a new sense of wholes and parts, which are essential for a democratisation of democracy.