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Upcoming International Workshop: Phenomenological Anthropology

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

From January 8-10, 2023, there will be an international workshop Phenomenological Anthropology: Epistemic Bridges, Dilemmas & Methodologies at the University of Haifa in association with the Department of Anthropology.


Since its formative years, anthropology has been inspired by, experimented with, selectively adopted and at times forcefully resisted core (philosophical) phenomenological readings of perception, consciousness and lived experience. Epistemological genealogies and agendas, held in common, particularly surrounding subjectivity/intersubjectivity and everyday corporeally and sensually experienced lifeworlds constituted an interdisciplinarily shared micro person- centered analytical lens – with which the discipline's pioneers might potentially zoom in and zoom out in efforts to account for and capture the subject's perception of everyday life. Bracketing or 'reduction' would in particular powerfully resonate with anthropological methodological and ethical agendas, yet, at the same time triggering epistemic debates concerning disciplinary commitments to holism and the call for social, political and economic contextualization. While the last century's critical social science, in particular critical sociology and anthropology, appeared out of sync with the so called subjectivism and potential depoliticalization of micro-phenomenological analytical lenses, a recent plethora of subdisciplinary turns in anthropology re-conceptualizing subjectivity/intersubjectity, materiality, temporality/memory, kinesthetics in space/place, inter-corporeality and affect have generated a renewed interest in multi-layered and dynamic micro phenomenological experiences. These turns however continue to grapple with the way macro cultural, social and discursive formations mediate subjective/intersubjective experience and are thereby forever enfolded within micro phenomenological experience.

This workshop aims to critically consider:

  • What are the epistemic bridges and fissures between ever evolving phenomenological anthropology and philosophical phenomenology?

  • What has phenomenological anthropology lost and gained as it zooms in and out of micro-subjective experience to constitute a more critical and/or post-phenomenology?

  • How have phenomenologists come to terms with the methodological challenges of capturing pre-reflexive or even tacit/reflexive corporeal, temporal and affective experience? How might we better bridge the gap between interiority and exteriority?

  • Have anthropological methodological solutions created new gaps between experience and ideological frames, representation and semiotics?

  • How have contemporary readings of temporality, memory, corporeality materiality and affect generated new interest in phenomenological perspectives? How has contemporary scholarship built upon or perhaps energized and even reinvented earlier phenomenological conceptualizations of subjectivity, emotion, embodiment, time, space and memory?

  • In what way have novel post-phenomenological/critical perspectives allowed for greater interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary dialog? How might we open up (and translate) epistemic boundaries to those who wish to selectively deploy phenomenology without creating a watered down version of philosophical phenomenology?

  • In what way has contemporary phenomenological anthropology's micro gaze served to replicate disciplinary dark anthropological epistemic imaginaries of risk, conflictual and narrowed futures and troubled, ill, vulnerable or life-deathworlds' victimized subjects? Why do much of contemporary case studies examine breakdowns, interruptions or life on the edge? Have we foreclosed a lighter yet no less grounded, sober and socially committed anthropological gaze?

The international workshop welcomes experts in the field bringing relevant papers for a closed, "discussion-style" workshop event. For more details about the content of the workshop, view and download the program below.

University of Haifa - Phenomenological Anthropology Program
Download PDF • 503KB

The workshop is organized by Carol Kidron, Daniel Knight & Stavroula Pipyrou and is funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).

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