What does it mean to do anthropological research in contemporary domains populated by a wide variety of ‘publics’? Publics are perhaps the collective condition of knowledge production and circulation in the contemporary: not just as media-provoked entities–the ‘public sphere’ or scientific and professional societies, connected through publications–, but also the many uncertain and emergent collectives that gather in different degrees of involvement under issues of concern. An anthropology aware of its public dimension should hence not only be one that calls for other forms of media involvement–critical or otherwise–, but also, and more importantly, one that develops a wide variety of critical and ethnographic forms of public engagement.
Combining the readings of texts as well as practical exercises into different modes of public anthropology, this course retraces the emergence of this field of interests to the works of different anthropologists exploring different modes of ‘public engagement’: from critical denunciation, militant or advocacy work to an experimentation with collaborative conditions of inquiry and public debate, but also of intervention. For this reason, the course also wishes to equip students to develop their work in a wide variety of ‘public genres’–texts, drawings, or audiovisuals, platforms and venues in more or less digital settings or venues–so that they could not only critique but also learn to collaborate, intervene and experiment with a wide variety of contemporary ‘public conditions’.