Canadian Anthropology Society Annual Meeting: Contrapunteo

Event Date: May 16, 2018 to May 20, 2018

Canadian Anthropology Society Annual Meeting: Contrapunteo

16-20 May 2018, Universidad de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

Drawing on the polyphonic character of contrapunteo­, understood as the interweaving of two or more independent melodies working together to form a rich harmonic texture, we invite participants to reflect on Anthropology’s plural configurations and engagements. There are many types of counterpoints, all expressing forms of polyphonic interdependence in the rhythms and contours of a piece of music. The melodies entangled remain independent, but their combination creates new composites that are continually emergent and transforming. A “contrapuntal anthropology” (Ong 1996:84) encourages the multiplicity of voices, the postcolonial deconstruction of knowledge, and the polyphony of social and cultural life. Counterpoints allow for the exploration of assemblages, relationalities and entanglements (Ingold 2011). The intertwining of elements in counterpoint is not always harmonious: the more antagonistic sense of counterpoint suggests something that is placed against something else. Contrapunteo offers new channels to hear voices of contestation, acknowledge the traces left by colonialism, and recognize what is being articulated in reply, such as resurgent struggles of resistance and healing. To “think contrapuntally” (e.g. Howes 1996; Catauro since 1999) can hold voices in tension or conflict, and can generate choruses of call-and-response. CASCA-CUBA wishes to address how contrapunteo can offer new avenues to understand relationships, knowledge, history and power. Has the discipline of Anthropology nurtured particular counterpoints and if so, what are their trajectories? [more]