Gavin Smith, 'Renewed Proposals for Anthropologists: Conditions of Possibility, Strategic Action and Popular Mobilization'

G20 Summit, Toronto. June 2010
Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 00:00

Thursday 30th April 2015 4.30pm, Anthropology Seminar Room, Rowan House

Gavin Smith 
Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

 'Renewed Proposals for Anthropologists. Intellectual Critique on Three Fronts: Conditions of Possibility, Strategic Action and Popular Mobilization'

The title for this talk is taken from a paper Kathleen Gough wrote in 1968 entitled “Proposals for Anthropologists” (1968).* In this paper I would like to recuperate the insurgent political spirit of the generation of dissident intellectuals of whom she was one and who were at their prime when I entered a graduate programme. What I mean by this spirit is their commitment to a research agenda that would contribute toward radical social change –sometimes explicitly expressed, sometimes more discreetly so. In the paper I ask what such an agenda might look like today and suggest answers designed only to provoke debate. 

*In 1970, at the age of fifty, Kathleen Gough a leading anthropologist in the study of the Nayar of India and co- author with David Schneider of Matrilinieal Kinship was dismissed from Simon Fraser University, in Canada, for her political views.