Kinship and Some Anthropological Turns

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Submission Summary
Kinship was a central topic within anthropology during its first 100 years—roughly 1870-1970—before being made more peripheral to the discipline through several internal critiques. Foremost amongst these were critiques with a political edge to them by David Schneider, who articulated the view that the study of kinship had committed the near original anthropological sin of ethnocentric projection, and by feminist anthropologists, who saw that same tradition as reifying gendered categories (Bamford 2019). In this talk, I will re-explore some of this history but will do so with more recent turns or theoretical trends in cultural anthropology and the study of kinship in mind. In particular, I will discuss contemporary kinship studies via a consideration of (a) the “ontological turn” associated with anthropologists as diverse as Eduardo Kohn (2013, 2015), Marilyn Strathern (2020), Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (1998), and Morton Axel Pedersen (Holbraad and Pederson 2017); (b) the “decolonizing generation” (Allen and Jobson 2016; Jobson 2019) and its challenge to cultural anthropology’s racialized history; and (c) kinship beyond the human realm (Haraway 2008; Kirksey 2015, Clarke and Haraway 2018). I will give special attention here to the relationships between politics, metaphysics, and the human sciences. Allen, J. S. & Jobson, R. C. (2016). The decolonizing generation: (race and) theory in anthropology since the eighties. Current Anthropology 57(2): 129-148. Bamford, S. (2019). The Cambridge handbook of kinship. Cambridge University Press. Clarke, A. & Haraway, D. (eds.) (2018). Making kin, not population. Prickly Paradigm Press. Haraway, D. (2008). When species meet. University of Minnesota Press. Holbraad, M. & Pedersen, M. A. (2017). The ontological turn: an anthropological exposition. Cambridge University Press. Ingold, T. (2013). Anthropology beyond humanity. Soumen Antropologi / Journal of the Finnish Anthropology Society, 38(3): 15-23. Jobson, R. C. (2019). The case for letting anthropology burn: sociocultural anthropology in 2019. American Anthropologist, 122(2): 259-271. Kirskey, E. (2015). Species: a praxiological study. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 21: 758-780. Kohn, E. (2015). Anthropology of ontologies. Annual Review of Anthropology 44: 311-27. Kohn, E. (2013). How forests think: toward an anthropology beyond the human. University of California Press. Strathern, M. (2020). Relations. an anthropological account. Duke University Press. Viveiros de Castro, E. (1998). Cosmological deixis and Amerindian perspectivism, Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute 4 (3): 469-88.
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University of Western Australia

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