Anthropological encounters with others have led us to question ideas previously taken as given. Concepts of family, society, culture, nature, and what it means to be human have all been subject to revision. When these critiques are directed towards knowledge itself, the different ideas people have about what knowledge is and how it is shared have led us to question the theories and practices through which we seek to know. Proponents of the ontological turn (Holbraad & Pedersen 2017) have developed these ideas to call for an anthropological project that is radically experimental, drawing on ethnographic encounters with alterity to critically interrogate the analytical concepts that inform our research.


At the same time, material culture studies has pointed towards the important role of materials in the articulation of human knowledge. The materials through which ethnographic encounters are translated into knowledge - as text, image, sound, performance, simulated sensory immersion, etc - shape the ways in which these encounters are experienced by others, and the conceptual affordances they present. We examine how ethnographic encounters with alterity can disrupt not only the conceptual frameworks of anthropology, but also the material practices through which knowledge is produced and communicated, and explore how anthropological knowledge can be both thought and made otherwise.

These questions are especially pertinent in the context of a global pandemic, which has changed the ways we encounter and communicate with others, disrupting diverse forms of knowing and doing. In parallel to this conference, UCL MAL has initiated a partnership with the Kuñangue Aty Guasu, an annual meeting of Guarani & Kaiowá indigenous women in Brazil, which this year will take place online. The translation of this event into an online format allows us to reflect on the parallels between the knowledge practices of indigenous communities and those of anthropologists, and invites us to consider each as a variant (Maniglier 2016) of the other. If we consider the indigenous meeting as an Other kind of conference, and the conference as an Other kind of indigenous meeting, what can we learn about conferences, indigenous meetings, and knowledge itself?

Download the full Conference Programme HERE.

©2019 by UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab

University College London, 14 Taviton St, London WC1H 0BW United Kingdom