Seminar – 15 November – Adam Chau

November 4th, 2016 by


Tuesday 15 November 2016

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Adam Chau

University of Cambridge

Hosting, Not Hospitality

‘Hospitality’ as a theme and concept has become increasingly prominent in anthropological theorising. However, a conceptual muddle exists around the nature of the host-guest relationship, a muddle that will not go away if we continue to deploy the same term (i.e. hospitality) to analyse a wide variety of host-guest scenarios across far-flung ethnographic regions. In this presentation I will propose a new conceptual framing, that of ‘hosting’, to accentuate the difference between two ideal-typical host-guest scenarios: receiving guests who are known to, and have been invited by, the host (what I call ‘hosting’) and receiving visitors, often strangers, who have, sometimes forcefully, made people into hosts (i.e. the classic hospitality scenario). I will use cases drawn from Chinese social and religious life as well as from Christianity, and will perforce engage in a critique of Derrida’s conceptualisation of ‘hostipitality’.

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