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Changing Communities and New Collectivities Shaped by Technology, May 2-3 2018

About the seminar

About the seminar

The seminar takes place at Aarhus University, Richard Mortensen Stuen at Stakladen, building 1422, Fredrik Nielsens Vej 2, 8000 Aarhus C.

On May 2nd, there will be a grand opening of the network with keynote lectures by Prof. Kirsten Hastrup, Copenhagen University and Prof. Marianne Lien, Oslo University, a roundtable discussion on the anthropology of technology beyond universities and opportunities for networking.

On May 3rd, Professor Jennifer Robertson (University of Michigan) will present a keynote lecture and we have organised a workshop with the theme "Changing communities and collectivities shaped by technology”.


Changing communities and collectivities shaped by technology

In many domains of technology development, the participation of 'users', 'citizens' and 'patients' has become comme il faut and several liaison disciplines and ethics institutions have been developed to connect users with engineers, designers or healthcare staff. The aim of this seminar is to get beyond the individualism inherent in many of these approaches and explore instead the collectivities that are shaped by and created through diverse technologies from social media to data repositories to human collaboration with ‘co-bots’. Just as the imagined communities of modern nations were unthinkable without print technology, what new communities are presently emerging around new technologies? How do 'user collectives', patient associations and communities of practice change technologies and how are these communities experienced, articulated and organized? What are the epistemological implications for anthropology’s longstanding tradition for studying communities and sociality, not to mention the concept of 'culture' itself?

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018: Opening of the Research Network for the Anthropology of Technology

10:30-11:00 Arrival and registration

11:00-11:30 Welcome and presentation of the Research Network for the Anthropology of Technology, its aims and scope by Maja Hojer Bruun, Associate Professor, Aalborg University.

11:30-12:30 Keynote 1: Kirsten Hastrup, Professor of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen: "Engineering Collectives - Technologies of Life and Loss in a High Arctic Terrain".

12:30-13:15 Lunch

13:15-14:15 Keynote 2: Marianne Lien, Professor of Anthropology, Oslo University: "Taking Things Seriously - or how to embrace the ‘non-human turn’ in ethnographic encounters".

14:15-14:30 Break

14:30-16:00 Roundtable discussion: "Reflections on the Anthropology of Technology Beyond Universities: Lessons Learnt".


Simone Abram, Director of Durham Energy Institute and Professor of Anthropology, Durham University

Steffen Jöhncke, Senior Consultant, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Sarah Maria Rasch, Senior Anthropologist, Health IT Lab, Alexandra Institute

Rikke Ulk, Chief Anthropologist and CEO, Antropologerne

16:00-16:15 Coffee break

16:15-17:45 Networking workshop in groups

A round of presentations in each group and discussion of questions:

What challenges do we face in working with technology as anthropologists? Challenges to anthropology, its methodology and theories? To our understandings of technology? Challenges to team collaborations?

In what ways can this network be useful for us?

Please share some notes and thoughts on this Padlet digital noticeboard and in the wrap-up session!


18:30-  Welcome drinks and dinner at Godsbanen, Skovgaardsgade 3, 8000 Aarhus C.

Thursday, 3rd May: Changing Communities - New Collectivities Shaped by Technology

9:15-9:45 Welcome and presentation of theme and workshop by Professor Cathrine Hasse, Aarhus University

9:45-12:00 Workshop on community building and anthropology in interdisciplinary technology research

The two questions we would like to discuss are: 

  1. How do you work with (new?) communities shaped by technologies, e.g. via social media? What can we learn about communities through such analyses?
  2. In which ways are you part of (interdisciplinary?) collectives based in technology or technology development, e.g. through collaborations with engineers? What challenges and opportunities do you see in these collectives and collaborations?

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:00 Keynote 3: Jennifer Robertson, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan: "Retro-Robotics: Technology, Nostalgia, and Japan’s Tomorrow"

14:00-15:00 Coffee, networking and end of conference

For more information about the network and its activities. Please contact the network’s convenor and chair of the steering group:

Maja Hojer Bruun, associate professor.

Read Maja Hojer Bruun's comments on the research network and the first seminar by following this link to Videnskab.dk

Forskerzonen - Videnskab.dk