Public lecture by Stefan Helmreich “An Anthropology of Waves”

Dear colleagues,

We have pleasure to announce a public lecture of professor of anthropology Stefan Helmreich (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) entitled as “An Anthropology of Waves” to be held September 30 in the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

Place and time: 2/8 Khitrovsky Pereulok, Building 5, Moscow (Faculty of Communication, Media, and Design), Room 405. September 30, at 6.00 p.m.

Working language of the meeting is English.

All are welcome to attend!

If you need a pass to enter the building, please contact Victoria Vasileva vchistyakova@hse.ru

Are the  ocean waves cultural objects? The question may sound odd: surely waves are simple facts of nature, matters of the substance of the sea. Waves may have diverse manifestations in marine and maritime folklore, a variety of effects on economic and political enterprise, and a range of meanings for fishers, surfers, and swimmers. But as formal and material entities, the standard view might say, they are best known by a science arriving at ever-improving models of oscillation, undulation, and movement. Historians of oceanography have complicated such a view, documenting the changing systems through which scientists and seafarers have known waves. This presentation will go further, looking toward a future in which waves are not only known differently (though new kinds of computer modeling, for example) but also become differently composed material phenomena than once they were. Today’s wave scientists and modelers are predicting that climate change may not only transform the global distribution of significant wave heights, but also may also (though the claim is controversial) amplify the frequency of rogue or freak waves, changing the world’s wavescape in novel ways. This presentation will deliver an ethnographic report on wave science conferences to argue that wave science is anthropology by other means — that, in other words, scientific knowledge about waves is always a claim about the possible ways of life that humans wish to craft in concert with the sea.

The lecture is organized as a part of the program of VI International Festival of Audiovisual Anthropology “Days of Ethnographic Cinema” (Moscow; September 27 – October 1, 2016) under support of the Department of Research Arts (Triumph Gallery).

 

Chair: Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (HSE Campus in Saint-Petersburg, Department of History).

 

Place and time: 2/8 Khitrovsky Pereulok, Building 5, Moscow (Faculty of Communication, Media, and Design), Room 405. September 30, at 6.00 p.m.

 

Working language of the meeting is English.

All are welcome to attend!

 

If you need a pass to enter the building, please contact Victoria Vasileva vchistyakova@hse.ru