A conference in honour of Caroline Humphrey

March 14th, 2012 by

Freedom, Creativity, and Decision: Towards an Anthropology of the Human Subject

Monday, 2 April 2012 to Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Location: CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

This conference is being held to celebrate the work of Caroline Humphrey DBE, the recently-retired Rausing Professor of Collaborative Anthropology in the University of Cambridge.

In her most recent work, Humphrey has been developing a theoretical account of the constitution of human subjects, engaging with works by philosophers and political theorists, in essays on topics such as freedom, ethical responsibility, creativity, and decision. She has been concerned to show how acting subjects (including ‘collective’ subjects) emerge, differently in different contexts, and in so doing to be sensitive not only to social and historical variety, but also to the particular circumstances of cataclysmic social change (such as, but not limited to, both the advent and the collapse of socialism). In the midst of transformations in which the cultural and institutional reference-points which many theorists would look towards to explain the possibility of coherent agency are in fact dramatically and often brutally stripped away, how do we explain how subjects are constituted? This conference will consider how circumstances of radical and cataclysmic social change pose a distinctive challenge to the theorisation of the human subject.

Further details