„What Do Things Want?“ Lecture by Arjun Appadurai

3. Jul 2023, 19 Uhr

Arjun Appadurai, Bild: TheSilentPhotographer, lizenziert unter CC-BY-3.0, „Arjun Appadurai, 2009 (cropped)“. URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arjun_Appadurai,_2009_(cropped).jpg

After a long period in which the humanities and social sciences had paid little attention to the material, cultural and social aspects of things, the volume The Social Life of Things. Commodities in Cultural Perspective, edited by Arjun Appadurai in 1986, heralded a shift towards a greater emphasis on material culture and helped to initiate the material turn. The idea that things, like humans, have a social life was extremely successful. The book was reprinted several times and inspired research projects and publications about the ‘social life’ of coffee, forests, maps, money, sounds, information, nothingness, and numerous other objects and phenomena. In his talk, Arjun Appadurai reflects on the history of “The Social Life of Things” against the background of the exhibition and asks what things want today?

Arjun Appadurai is an Indian-American anthropologist recognized as a major theorist in globalization studies. In his anthropological work, he discusses the importance of the modernity of nation states and globalization. His publications include The Social Life of Things (Oxford University Press 1986), Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minnesota 1996; Oxford India 1997), Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (Duke 2006), The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition (Verso 2013), Banking on Words: The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance (Chicago 2016), and Failure (Polity Press 2019).
Appadurai is Emeritus Professor Media, Culture and Communication at New York University and Visiting Professor, Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University.

The lecture will be held in English / Vortrag in englischer Sprache