Inaugural Lecture - Professor Charles Stewart (UCL Anthropology)

Tuesday 28 January 2014 - 6.30pm

Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, 2nd Floor, South Junction, Wilkins Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT


Charles Stewart

Professor Charles Stewart (UCL Anthropology)

After a BA in Classics, field research in Greece, and a PhD in Anthropology, Charles Stewart taught Modern Greek, Anthropology, and History at universities on both sides of the Atlantic. He came to UCL as a joint appointment in the Departments of History and Anthropology. His areas of research include the ethnography of Greece, cultural mixture (syncretism and creolization), and psychological anthropology. His recent book Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece (2012) presents an anthropological study of historicizing practices on the island of Naxos.

For an Anthropology of History

We have had history and anthropology, historical anthropology and the history of anthropology, but as yet there has been no concerted anthropology OF history.  What is needed are ethnographic studies of how the past is known, understood and represented in world societies past and present. This does not amount solely to the appreciation of “others” delegitimized by Western academic historiography.

A First sunrise scene involving Hernan Cortes Malinch and a Tlaxcalan ally. The dawn of the new Spanish order. (Cell 29 of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala Central Mexico 1552)

We also need a reverse anthropology where historicism itself along with other Western practices of relating to the past, such as battlefield reenactments, are opened to ethnographic study. This presentation will ask whether heightened recognition of alternative regimes of historical practice might alter the Western understanding of history.

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