Anthropology in conversation with an Islamic tradition: Emmanuel Levinas and the practice of critique

Dr Johan Rasanayagam
Wednesday, 5 February 2020

This presentation will cover recent published research that develops the idea of an anthropologist participating in conversations going on within an Islamic tradition. The idea of a conversation is developed through the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and his ideal of knowing as an ethical relation with an infinite other. This includes recent disciplinary discussions of how anthropology should engage with alterity, which have been framed in terms of ontology and postsecular anthropology and these are examined in the light of Levinas's ideal of knowing as ethical and critical practice.

Dr Johan Rasanayagam is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Science at the University of Aberdeen. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Uzbekistan where his doctoral dissertation examined the themes of the state and citizenship. More recently, he has conducted research on Islam in Central Asia, specifically on the processes of moral reasoning through which individuals come to an understanding of what it means to be a good Muslim. He is currently developing research interests in the category of religion and the secular in Muslim contexts.

(Seminars start at 5.00 p.m.)