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PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME

for an international conference

Commodification and identities:

Social Life of Things revisited

Amsterdam, 10-13 June, 1999

convenors: Wim van Binsbergen & Peter Geschiere

sponsored by: The WOTRO (Netherlands Foundation for Tropical Research) Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’; The African Studies Centre, Leiden; The Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences; The Amsterdam School of Social Research; The Centre for Non-Western Studies, Leiden University; The Trust Fund, Erasmus University Rotterdam

 

PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME

as per 17.4.1999

Format: In principle a total 30 minutes maximum is allotted to each paper; however, this covers presentation, discussant’s presentation (normally addressing several papers combined), and general discussion. In practice this means that e.g. for a three-paper session only 1.5 hrs will be available. Therefore each actual presentation (including the discussant’s) is to be limited to 15 minutes. Chairs have to keep time very strictly, and have to limit monopolistic dialogues between discussant and contributor, so as to ensure that sufficient time remains available for general discussion. These strict rules do not apply to the public opening session.

Thursdag, 10 June 1999

place: Agnietenkapel (Agnite Sisters’ Chapel), Oude Zijds Voorburgwal 231

1. Public lectures marking the opening of the conference

chair: Wim van Binsbergen (African Studies Centre — Leiden , The Netherlands/ Philosophical Faculty — Erasmus University Rotterdam / WOTRO Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’)
&
Peter Geschiere (Leiden University — The Netherlands/ WOTRO Programme on Globalisation and the Construction of Communal identities)

 

20.00 refreshment

20.15 Opening:

Peter Geschiere
chair, WOTRO Programme on Globalisation and the Construction of Communal identities,
introduces that programme and the place of the present conference therein

20.30 Arjun Appadurai (University of Chicago, USA / International Network on Globalisation)
The Social Life of Things — Fifteen Years After’

21.00 Colin Renfrew (Cambridge University, United Kingdom)
‘Archaeology and Commodification’

21.30 refreshments

21.45 general discussion

Friday 11 June, 1999

Place: Anthropological Sociological Centre, Amsterdam University, Oude-Zijds-Achterburgwal 185, room 218

09.00 refreshments

2. Theoretical explorations

starting: 9.30

chair: Colin Renfrew

discussant: J. Comaroff (University of Chicago, USA)

Wim van Binsbergen
Limits of commodification’ (key note)

Mike Rowlands (University College London, United Kingdom)
Value and Cultural Goods Outside Transaction — Limitations of Anthropological Perspectives’

Paul Alexander and Jenny Alexander (University of Sydney, Australia)
‘Goods and Commodities: Labour and services — The Social Life of Non-things’

11.15 refreshments

3. The empirical application of seminal concepts: capital, tournaments of value, virtuality

starting: 11.30

chair: Arjun Appadurai

discussant: Peter van der Veer (Centre for the Study of Religion and Society, Amsterdam University / WOTRO Programme on Globalisation and the Construction of Communal identities)

Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff (University of Chicago, USA)
‘Spectral Capital and Capitalist Speculation: Zombie Labor and Politics of Value in a Global Age’

Peter Geschiere
‘‘Tournaments of Value’ in the Forest of South Cameroon — The Rubberboom around 1900: Rapid Commodification and ‘Multiple Self-Realization’ versus Colonial Coercion’

Norman Long (University of Wageningen, The Netherlands), Magdalena Villareal (Mexico) and Magdalena Barros Nock ( Mexico); all: WOTRO Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’
‘The Significance of Money and ‘Virtual Money’ in Commoditization in a Global Context: the Case of Mexico and California, US’

session 3 closes at 13.15 hrs; the afternoon is kept open so as to allow participants to attend the valedictory symposium marking the occasion of the retirement of Professor Bonno Thoden van Velzen, member of the Steering Committee of the WOTRO Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’

 

 

Saturday, 12 June, 1999

Place: V.O.C (United East India Company) Room, East India House, Oude Hoogstraat 24

9.00 refreshments

4. Mechanisms of commodification I

starting: 9.30

chair: Paul Alexander

discussant: Michel Baud (WOTRO, The Netherlands)

Cylena Simonds (ASCA, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands)
‘Mark(et)ing the Nation: Coding and Commodifying Identities in International Contemporary Art Exhibitions’.

Roy Dilley (University of St Andrews, Scotland)
‘The Visibility and Invisibility of Production’

Livio Sansone (Candido Mendez University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
The Object of Blackness: Consumption and Commodification in Black Youth Culture in Brazil’

11.00 refreshments

5. Mechanisms of commodification I

starting: 11.15

chair: Mike Rowlands

discussant: Peter Pels (Centre for the Study of Religion and Society, Amsterdam University / WOTRO Programme on Globalisation and the Construction of Communal identities)

Brad Weiss (College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, USA)
‘Cowries, Coffee and Currencies: Transforming Wealth in NW Tanzania’

Janet Roitman (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
`The Garrison-Entrepot in the Lake Chad Area — Boundaries and Transgression in the Politics of Value’

lunch

6.The representation of commodification in religion

starting: 14.00

chair: Birgit Meyer (Centre for the Study of Religion and Society, Amsterdam University / WOTRO Programme on Globalisation and the Construction of Communal identities)

discussant: Gananath Obeysekere (Princeton University, USA)

Rijk van Dijk (African Studies Centre — Leiden, The Netherlands/ WOTRO Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’)
‘The Moral Life of the Gift in Ghanaian Pentecostal Churches in the Diaspora: Questions of (In)dividuality and (In)alienability in Transcultural Reciprocal Relations’

Wim van Binsbergen
‘Commodification and the transformations of objects: With special attention to the sangoma mediumistic cult of Southern Africa’

15.15 refreshments

7. Commodities and the body

starting: 15.30

chair: Brad Weiss

discussant: Mitsy Goheen (Amherst College, USA)

James Leach (Cambridge University, United Kingdom)
‘Livers and Lives: Organ Extraction and Sale from the Perspectives of a Papua New Guinean Periphery’

Nancy Hunt (University of Michigan, USA)
Bicycles, birth certificates, and clysters in the Congo’

Sunday, 12 June, 1999

Place: V.O.C (United East India Company) Room, East India House, Oude Hoogstraat 24

9.30 refreshments

8. Asian case studies

starting: 10.00

chair: Bonno Thoden van Velzen (Amsterdam School of Social Research — The Netherlands/ WOTRO Programme on Globalisation and the Construction of Communal identities)

discussant: Mamadou Diouf (CODESRIA — Dakar, Senegal)

Romain Bertrand (CERI — Paris, France)
The Political Life of Cultural Artefacts — The Politics of the Late Colonial State in the Netherlands East India’

Margit Wessels (Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, The Netherlands/ WOTRO Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’)
‘Wealth and its Social Worth: Consumers in the Land of Ghandi’

Irene Stengs (Department of Cultural Anthropology, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands/ WOTRO Programme on ‘Globalization and the construction of communal identities’)
‘The Commodification of King Chulalongkorn: his Portraits, their Cultural Biographies and the Enduring Aura of the King’

11.30 refreshments

9. Final session

starting: 11.45

chair: Wim van Binsbergen & Peter Geschiere

Arjun Appadurai
General comments

Wim van Binsbergen & Peter Geschiere
Summary statement by the convenors

General discussion

Closing of the conference by 13.15 hrs.

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page last modified: 02-06-99