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Reaching Out: The Anthropologist as Cultural Journalist

December 3 2012 @ 12:00 am

REACHING OUT: THE ANTHROPOLOGIST AS CULTURAL JOURNALIST

Professor Helena Wulff

Department of Social Anthropology
Stockholm University

Leverhulme visiting professor
University of East London Autumn 2012

Cultural journalism is a feature of outreach and impact activities at many universities. In the framework of Swedish university life, activities of communicating and collaborating with groups and audiences outside the university are summed up by the term “tredje uppgiften”, the third task, the other two being research and teaching. It has not always been the case, but disseminating research results to a wider audience is increasingly regarded as a question of democracy, even an ethical one, also according to the argument that “scholars live on tax payers´ money”.  In this lecture, I discuss the anthropologist as cultural journalist in terms of a tale of two translations (from data to academic text, from academic text to popular text). Cultural journalism contributes to the reputation of the discipline, not only to that of the anthropologist who writes in newspapers and speaks on radio and television. One crucial point in relation to international reputation and ranking is that cultural journalism by anthropologists tends to be performed in the native language of the anthropologist such as Swedish, Norwegian, or German, while academic publications primarily are in English. Cultural journalism is thus on the whole unnoticed by colleagues in other countries.

Helena Wulff is professor of social anthropology at Stockholm University. Her research is in the anthropology of communication and aesthetics based on a wide range of studies on the social worlds of literary production, dance, and visual arts. Her current research is on writing and literature focusing on contemporary Irish writers as cultural translators and public intellectuals. Among Wulff´s publications are the monographs Ballet across Borders: Career and Culture in the World of Dancers (1998, Berg) and Dancing at the Crossroads: Memory and Mobility in Ireland (2007, Berghahn), as well as the volumes The Emotions: A Cultural Reader (editor, 2007, Berg), and Ethnographic Practice in the Present (editor with Marit Melhuus and Jon P. Mitchell, 2010, Berghahn). Helena Wulff was editor-in-chief (with Dorle Dracklé) of Social Anthropology,  the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), and Vice President of EASA.

Bookings/enquiries: Amanda Vinson (admin@therai.org.uk)

Details

Date:
December 3 2012
Time:
12:00 am
Event Category: