Uncertain States – Affective Societies Gifts and Hospitality. Anthropological Reflections on Table No. 4 by Micha Ullman
Giving and taking, and sharing food, resources, knowledge and labour form the very basis of human communities. Integrating individuals into complex networks of reciprocity results in security and stability, while destroying these networks leads to insecurity and danger. Starting from the gesture of giving expressed in Micha Ullman’s Table No. 4, we explore and debate the significance of gifts and hospitality. In the process, we not only offer insights into culturally varied practices of sharing, but also into our own personal experiences of living in and being accepted in different cultures. As anthropologists, we have all lived for longer periods in worlds initially foreign to us, only gaining access to them through the hospitality of the local populations. Without a willingness to take us in and accept us, we would have been unable to move from being a stranger to becoming familiar.
Birgitt Röttger-Rössler, Anita von Poser and Omar Kasmani are anthropologists at FU Berlin; Birgitt Röttger-Rössler is Speaker and Head of Project in the Collaborative Research Center “Affective Societies”, Anita von Poser is Head of Project and Omar Kasmani post-doctoral researcher in the Collaborative Research Center “Affective Societies”.
As part of the lecture series "Emotions and their Effects. Affective Dynamics of Flight and Migration".
A cooperation between the Akademie der Künste and the Collaborative Research Center “Affective Societies” at FU Berlin.
What role does affectivity play in the social and cultural upheavals presently shaping our globalised world? How do emotions contribute to the impression of social stability and security, and how do they provoke insecurities, threats and marginalisation? Which affective dynamics accompany the loss of familiar environments, and which emotions promote or hinder arrival in a new life? How is emotion used to shape the political agenda, and why it is often so difficult to counter this by argument?
This series of lectures and talks looks at contemporary art as an outstanding location for investigating and reflecting on emotions and affectivity in the context of flight, migration and mobility. In the process, academics and scholars involved in the “Affective Societies” Collaborative Research Center at Freie Universität Berlin enter into a dialogue with the artists, works and topics in the Uncertain States exhibition.
The interdisciplinary “Affective Societies” research centre at Freie Universität Berlin is investigating the fundamental importance of emotions and affectivity for social life in the mobile, networked and mediatised worlds of the twenty-first century.