5. Anthropology Talks 2023 with Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh, author of both novels and nonfiction histories focused on colonialism, cosmopolitism an climate change, is holding this year’s Anthropology Talks.

Imagining Worlds with Words

Public Reading and Workshops, November 6-7, 2023

The Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern is pleased to announce the upcoming Anthropology Talks taking place on November 6th and 7th of 2023. In this lecture and workshop series, we invite influential writers and scholars in social and cultural anthropology to discuss their current research. Anthropology Talks 2021 features Dr. Amitav Ghosh (Here you can find information on his current writings and research https://amitavghosh.com/books/the-great-derangement/)

Registration: Students please register for the lecture and the workshops via KSL, all others via email to claudia.schauerte@unibe.ch.


Image credit: Ivo van der Bent


How is nutmeg conntected to climate change? Or poppies to capitalism?

Like few others, the Indian author Amitav Ghosh is able to convey global entanglements and contradictions through his writing and imaginary. In his novels and nonfiction, he connects colonial histories with current issues of migration, global inequality, and the worldwide climate crisis in a factual as well as fantastic way. He immerses us in long-forgotten histories and worlds and challenges us to look at the crises of the present in new ways. In Bern, Amitav Ghosh will read from his works and engage in a dialogue with voices from research, activism, and arts.

Location: Room 205 at Hallerstrasse 6, 3012 Bern

9:30 – 12:30     Workshop 01: Creative and Ethnographic Writing

What is a climate crisis experience you have recently witnessed–or one that is on-going in your everyday life? What affordances does creative writing allow in narrating the climate crisis and how might it assist us to better imagine more equitable and just futures? In this workshop, we will take a deep dive into the possibilities of ethnographic and creative writing. Through a collective writing activity and facilitated discussion of select texts, we engage with the writing of Amitav Ghosh and invite participants to consider theoretical questions of practice.


9:30–9:45         Introduction

9:45–10:45       Session 01 How do you incorporate storytelling techniques into your writing and how do you merge them with theories?    

10:45–11:00     Coffee Break

11:00–12:30     Session 02

12:30–14:00     Lunch Break

Location: Room 205 at Hallerstrasse 6, 3012 Bern

14:00–17:00     Workshop 02: From Present Challenges to Alternative Futures – Post-/humanist Perspectives

The workshop addresses how Amitav Ghosh's work can inspire ethnographic research as well as cultural, activist, and political work "on the ground." To this end, examples of research and activism will be presented that deal with the climate crisis and resistance to urban planning in Mumbai, as well as with violence and evictions for conservation in Tanzania and India. In an open mic session, workshop participants are invited to contribute further topics, inputs, questions or comments. A special focus will be on how humanist, posthumanist, and indigenous cosmological perspectives can be negotiated in the collective search for alternatives futures.

14.00 Session 1: Examples from Research and activism

15.30 Break

15.45 Open Mic Session