• Founded 1972
  • Seminar Number 531

The Culture, Power, Boundaries Seminar is a forum for work and work-in-progress that strives for a critical analysis of contemporary power relations at local and global scales and how such power relations affect the analysis, reproduction, and transformation of inequality and its cultural expressions. The seminar began forty years ago with a focus on immigration and developed into a broad forum for critical social science. While the majority of seminar members are anthropologists, and presentations tend to focus on case studies, the seminar continues to welcome, as both guests and speakers, other social scientists interested in investigating the power dimension of cultural formations and the cultural aspects of inequality.

Professor Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

Professor Patricia Antoniello

Kamini Masood

Meeting Schedule

11/01/2021 Online Meeting
6:30 PM
True Lies: Insurrection and the Denial of Racism
Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado


What makes a lie true? During the Trump era, lies circulated in the United States as a new sort of truth. Political lies became social truths. These truths were often violent and aggressive, full of a bravado that was nostalgic and, for some, revelatory and empowering. They were also racist. However, people denied this using a statement found across wide-ranging imperial formations: “I’m not racist, but.” In this talk, I will focus on the “but” part of that claim in relation to the January 6, 2021 Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Why did so many individuals travel to Washington DC that day? How might we understand the cultural logics at work in marking this event for participants as one of justice in, for example, “stopping the steal” by breaking into the Capitol building with weapons designed to kill elected officials? Disinformation is key, especially in the form of aspirational truths, or something you want to be true, believe to be true. Such true lies pave over racism by providing justifications that create and validate community as moral and even loving. On full display on January 6 were affiliative lies that simultaneously and unironically provided cover from and proudly proclaimed racism as central organizing principle of the “Save America March”-turned-Insurrection.

12/11/2021 Online Meeting
1:00 PM
Fake News and the Policing of Public Spheres
Andrew Graan, University of Helsinki (Finland)

02/07/2022 Online Meeting
6:30 PM
Anthropology, Antiscience Narratives and today's Post-truth world
Homayun Sidky, Miami University, Ohio

03/07/2022 Location TBD
6:30 PM
Genocide on Both Sides, and Other Artifacts of Common Sense in Brazilian Aesthetic Politics
Meg Stalcup, University of Ottawa (Canada)

04/09/2022 Location TBD
1:00 PM
Emotional Contagion in Times of COVID: From Fear to Hope
Heidi Larson, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (England, UK)