For an anthropology and archaeology of freedom (Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology)

Mon 7 Mar 2022, 18:00 - 19:15

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Portrait photo of Wengrow Antonio
The University of Manchester, Alliance Manchester Business School, Booth Street W, M15 6PB

For an anthropology and archaeology of freedom

Delivered by the most outstanding academics in the UK and beyond, the British Academy’s flagship lecture programme showcases the very best scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.

It is sometimes claimed that anthropology, and its sister discipline of archaeology, have had little to say about freedom. “Freedom” has been characterised as a 'weird, Western concept' of little relevance to a broader understanding of human societies. Drawing on a collaboration with the late David Graeber, and reflections on the anthropology of A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, this lecture will argue to the contrary, that an ethnography of freedom – with its main locus in the colonial milieu of 17th-century North America – lies close to the disciplinary foundations of anthropology, and also has something to say about the modern development of our supposedly 'weird', supposedly 'Western' concept.

Speaker: David Wengrow, Professor of Comparative Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College London

David Wengrow trained in archaeology and anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he obtained his DPhil. He is currently Professor of Comparative Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL and has been a visiting professor at New York University, the University of Auckland and the University of Freiburg. He has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Africa and the Middle East, and is the author of numerous books including What Makes Civilization? and, with the late David Graeber, the New York Times bestseller The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.

Free, booking required

This lecture is a Radcliffe-Brown Lectures in Social Anthropology

A recording of this event will be available on The University of Manchester’s YouTube channel after the event has taken place. If you have any questions about this event, please email [email protected]

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University of Manchester

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