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Affective Ambiguities and Incompatible Value Frameworks: Sustaining Collaborations Within and beyond Neoliberal Academia

In: Public Anthropologist
Authors:
Hansjörg Dilger Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, Kollektiv Polylog

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Kristina Mashimi Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, Kollektiv Polylog

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Saloua Nyazy Kollektiv Polylog, Berlin, Germany

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Abstract

In this article, the authors mobilize the concept of affective ambiguity in order to explore the epistemological and structural incompatibilities that collaboration implies in the context of the highly asymmetrical relationships of power within and beyond neoliberal academia. They show that collaborations between university-based anthropologists at different stages of their careers and the groups and communities they seek to collaborate with are governed by mutually contradictory value frameworks. These value frameworks are shaped by the structural inequalities of these constellations and by diverging temporalities, socialities, and expectations that tend to make such collaborations unsustainable. Drawing on their own involvement in Kollektiv Polylog, a collective of refugee women, lecturers, former students, and activists in and beyond Berlin that are working together in the context of various publication, teaching, and video projects, the authors highlight the affective, temporal, and material resources that all actors need to invest in order to make collaboration productive.

Over the last two decades, collaboration has been established as an integral practice and core ethical value of anthropological knowledge production. Numerous edited volumes and special issues, manifestos, blogs and websites, and a whole journal, Collaborative Anthropologies, have explored the importance of collaborative anthropology today, as well as its modalities. While most scholars agree that collaboration has always been a part of social and cultural anthropology, “collaborative ethnography moves collaboration from its taken-for-granted background and positions it on center stage.”1

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban (2008) argues that collaborative anthropology is inherently different from “classical” ethnographic research, which relied strongly on colonial (and postcolonial) hierarchies between, on the one hand, “powerful Western researchers” and, on the other, “ethnographic subjects and informants.”2 “Twenty-first-century ethical anthropology”3 is an open-ended process, and its outcomes are often uncertain.4 Becoming and remaining part of a field or a group has to be negotiated continuously and with regard to highly diverse situations and constellations of people. The specific positionalities of all involved actors and the power dependencies between them matter because they shape how people—and social, institutional, and more-than-human constellations—“learn to relate to each other”5 in constantly evolving ways. As Adolfo Estalella and Tomás Sánchez Criado state, ethnography today is “a collective inquiry into the modes of inquiry of anthropology” and can therefore not aim to lead to a fixed set of practices of knowledge production.”6

While working collaboratively is an open-ended and often uncertain process, discussions of collaborative anthropology tend to assume that this process leads to epistemological, methodological, and, sometimes, structural innovation. Building on work by Anna Tsing, Friederike Faust, Todd Sekuler, and Beate Binder suggest exploring collaborative processes and events as moments of friction in which “a multitude of actors, institutions, practices, interests, experiences, and discourses meet in a way that is as tense as it is productive” and where “there is a chance for something new to emerge, often unintentionally, often with unpredictable effects.”7 Similarly, Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban argues that collaborative research “is better research because its methodology emphasizes multiple, polyphonic perspectives, which will leave a richer heritage of ethnography to subsequent generations of ethically conscious researchers.”8 But what happens if collaborative research approaches do not solely work in such productive ways? If they are instead dominated by blockages, conflict, or inertia? What can we learn from the spaces that open up when collaboration fails or threatens to fail?

In this article, we mobilize the concept of affective ambiguities to explore how the various actors in collaborations between particular communities and university-based anthropologists at different stages of their careers experience and navigate the (mostly) incompatible structures and value frameworks that govern such collaborations in the context of neoliberal academia. We argue that the (overall) incompatibility of the ideological, affective, and material frameworks shaping such collaborations are especially molded by the structural inequalities inherent to all inter- and transdisciplinary engagement, as well as by the diverging socialities, temporalities, and value orientations that emerge when working together under these conditions.

In this context, the concept of affective ambiguities highlights, first, the contradictions arising from the different value frameworks shaping the collaborations between anthropologists within universities and the different communities and groups beyond them. Thus, while the institutional “imaginaries”9 of neoliberal academia promote collaboration as fixed-term projects with clearly defined outputs and an efficient use of personal and financial resources, anthropologists and the communities they work with usually invest their value frameworks and expectations in building trusting and respectful relationships with potentially open-ended outcomes.10 Second, the incompatibilities of these value frameworks—and the structural conditions of collaboration in neoliberal academia—make working together inherently ambiguous for the participants of a collaboration. These ambiguities produce specific affective experiences—and dissonances—that, in order to make collaborations sustainable, all involved actors need to actively manage11 in a series of interconnected situations, encounters, and engagements over extended periods of time.

In our analysis, we draw on our own experience of collaboration over the last eight years as Kollektiv Polylog, a collective of refugee women and activists, lecturers at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, and former undergraduate students of the institute. The collective’s collaborative work has resulted in, among other things, the joint publication of a book, and it continues to be active through public readings and, most recently, a video project.12

This article was jointly written by three members of the collective, who assumed different positions in the collaboration and writing of this text. Hansjörg Dilger is a tenured professor of social and cultural anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin; Kristina Mashimi is a PhD researcher with a fixed-term contract at the same institute; Saloua Nyazy fled from Syria to Berlin in 2015 and today works as a social worker in the city. While Dilger prepared the first and final drafts of the text, Mashimi and Nyazy incorporated their perspectives and textual contributions throughout the writing process. As Nyazy does not speak English and is not familiar with academic writing, her contributions were translated and integrated into the text by Mashimi, Dilger, and Sandy Albahri (see below).

The article is also based on written materials produced by Kollektiv Polylog and its individual members, as well as on a conversation held in December 2021 between seven members of the collective concerning their experiences and the goals of the collaboration. More details on these sources will be shared whenever they become relevant in subsequent sections. Despite the reliance of our argument on collectively produced materials, however, the use of the collective pronoun we in this article refers first and foremost to its three authors.

Last but not least, we wish to emphasize that Kollektiv Polylog is explicitly not an example of anthropological collaboration that has failed or come to a standstill. In our experience, within collaborations, there is always ambiguity around the contributions that individual projects require, including those of the time, resources (especially financial), and affective labor of the involved persons,13 as well as the epistemological and structural challenges that are inherent in the context of highly asymmetrical power relationships within and beyond neoliberal academia. Consequently, this article is less about the specific affective and emotional states of individual persons—or the conflicts arising from them in concrete situations between the involved actors—and more about how we managed potential points of tensions for the sake of working together. It is ultimately about the long-term “affective trajectories”14 of collaborations and about creating conditions for working together that make collaborations thrive—or, in some cases, which prevent them from becoming sustainable in contemporary academia.

Anthropological Collaborations in Neoliberal Academia

In universities today, “collaboration”—along with terms for other, closely related approaches to knowledge production, such as “interdisciplinarity,” “transdisciplinarity,” “citizen science,” and “partnerships with stakeholders”—is one of the buzzwords for academic engagement. Both within Germany and internationally, multiple science organizations and funding initiatives encourage collaboration between highly diverse constellations of people, always in the hope of “dynamically advancing scientific knowledge and practice”15 and having a “useful impact on society.”16 Within universities, collaboration has become emblematic of the institutional promise to facilitate reflexivity and new modes of generating knowledge in the face of increasing societal challenges.17 Beyond academia, this promise is extended to various societal actors and stakeholders, who are increasingly sought in the context of community-based research, or citizen science.18

In social and cultural anthropology—as in other areas of the social sciences and humanities—collaboration has also become one of multiple strategies for enriching, and even undermining, presumably “outdated” relations and practices of knowledge production, as well as for developing alternative modes of envisioning and practicing research and teaching in ethical and equitable ways.19 Furthermore, while doing collaborative work with communities and groups outside academia may not always bring “prestige, power, and authority” within anthropology,20 it may increase the discipline’s visibility and reputation across other university departments and beyond.21

Anthropological collaborations are usually imagined as reciprocal relations between academics and different societal groups, in which “at every step of the research, knowledge and expertise is shared.”22 In collaborations with vulnerable groups such as refugees and migrants, strong ethical value is placed on “giving back” to the respective communities—which can range from “discursively engaged research” that seeks to stimulate public debates, to “practical, hands-on involvement and direct reciprocity.”23 Furthermore, the terms of “coming together”24 in contexts of flight and migration are, ideally, shaped by mutual trust and respect for the needs of the respective communities.25 Thus, while collaborative research may also result in interesting insights for anthropological theory itself, “attention to such interests, or publication about them, must itself be developed within the collaborative framework, and may have to be set aside if they are not of equal concern to all the collaborators.”26

While collaborative forms of anthropological engagement are tied to the general project of doing science differently—ultimately, “better” and more visibly—some of the actual outcomes of this trend are problematic. On the one hand, in neoliberal academia, institutional competitiveness and striving for “excellence” has had a deleterious effect on working conditions and further increased the inequality between university faculty at different stages of their careers.27 The push for collaboration is particularly detrimental to early career researchers, especially when they have to assume the bulk of the increased workload but are not credited properly (or at all) in publishing projects.28 In Germany, this trend is exacerbated by the fact that the majority of PhD and postdoc researchers are on fixed-term contracts, and prospects for a tenured position are poor.

Furthermore, the focus on partnerships and collaboration beyond academia has often turned communities and other stakeholders into “assets” without thinking properly about their—or the involved academics’—financial, emotional, or communicative interests and needs.29 As Aijazi et al. state, the strong emphasis on involving communities in collaborative research usually serves “to meet strategic institutional goals, which almost always privileges the university over the community” (our italics).30 The strong reliance on English as “the primary language of knowledge production” reinforces this impression and reflects “the colonial arrangements of Western academia.”31

All these examples show that the growing popularity of collaboration is heavily driven by the neoliberal university’s strong emphasis on productivity, impact, and establishing “best practices” in research and teaching.32 This institutional agenda often dovetails all too easily with the anthropological goal of making academic research more equitable, democratic, and publicly relevant. In social and cultural anthropology, many ethnographic works focus not only on providing nuanced analyses of “the harsh and brutal dimensions of human experience and the structural and historical conditions that produce them”33, but also on improving interlocutors’ living conditions through various modes of collaboration.34

In this article, we do not argue against such endeavors or claim that they are necessarily “doomed” when undertaken from within the university. But we do wish to draw attention to how the realization of collaboration is entangled with the highly extractive and often exploitative dynamics of neoliberal academia. As mentioned above, this is particularly problematic when the kinds of collaboration that the institution encourages exclusively serve the interests of the university itself, including preserving and reinforcing already reified internal hierarchies.35 It is also troubling when transdisciplinary and collaborative projects with “stakeholders” establish a clear hierarchy between scientific knowledge and “other knowledge resources.”

As we show in the next section, such a framework contradicts both the kinds of socialities and affective and material engagements it entails and the way knowledge production is usually understood in anthropological collaborations. In our own collaboration, we therefore reflected not only on how Mashimi and the undergraduate students’ strong commitment to the collaboration could be made visible in publications and other “outputs” important for their future careers. We also aimed to think systematically about how the refugee women could benefit from working together and what kind of outcomes they expected from the collaboration, with regard to both content, format, and language. Furthermore, we argue that the practice of collaboration needs to address and proactively deal with the affective ambiguities that collaboration in neoliberal academia always implies in order to make collaborative engagements sustainable—even if this does not preclude agreeing to end a collaboration at a certain point in time.

Kollektiv Polylog: A Collaboration in Teaching, Research, and “Making Public”

A note on representation: The history of Kollektiv Polylog depends on who is recounting it and in what setting. The genealogy in this paper is based on documents produced by different constellations of members of the collective,36 their previous collaborative research on the living situations of refugee women in Berlin (part 1),37 and public representations of the collective at book readings and in media interviews (part 2). In the first part, Genealogy (2015–2019), the use of the collective pronoun “we” initially refers to Dilger and Mashimi but later includes Nyazy. Part 2, Public Readings, was written jointly by the three authors.

Part 1: Genealogy (2015–2019)

The story of Kollektiv Polylog began in the summer of 2015, when a group of students at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, who at the time were participating in a university-based strike over the government’s policies on refugees, approached the faculty to request assistance to conduct a research seminar on the situations of refugee women in emergency shelters and collective accommodation centers in Berlin. Students were in close contact with the International Women* Space (iws), a feminist, anti-racist (and, as the asterisk in the name indicates, all-gender-inclusive) political group of migrant, non-migrant, and refugee women that had formed during the occupation of the former Gerhart Hauptmann School in Berlin in 2012.38 After the school was evacuated in July 2014, the iws became involved with women in emergency shelters and collective accommodation centers for refugees and, as part of its work, expressed a strong desire to learn more about the situations of the women in these accommodations.

Two of the authors of this paper, Mashimi and Dilger, agreed to supervise and join the students’ project and became part of a collective of social and cultural anthropology lecturers and undergraduates and representatives of the iws. Our primary goals were to conduct ethnographic research in the emergency shelters and collective accommodation centers together with the women residing there and to break down stereotypical representations of refugee women in public discourse. The iws also brought a strongly activist perspective to the project and focused on formulating concrete suggestions for improving the lives of refugee women in Berlin.39

The seminar was organized by a core team of students in close consultation with Dilger and Mashimi and the iws. Our focus was on reading and discussing theoretical texts and concepts as well as the ethical challenges of doing research on (and especially with) refugees. Together, we devised a collaborative approach to the seminar that sought to systematically involve women from the shelters and centers in the design and implementation of the project. In the end, however, we were only able to involve a single refugee woman in the process, making it clear that it would be next to impossible to actively involve other refugee women in the five accommodations that had been selected.

Despite this disappointing start, we decided to conduct the ethnographic survey in teams of three to six students, each using questionnaires, participant observation, mapping, and semi-structured interviews. The questions, which were adapted to the specific situations in each of the shelters or centers, concerned the refugee women’s perceptions of bureaucratic processes and the standards of health care they received; their personal backgrounds and everyday experiences in their accommodations; their support networks inside and outside the shelters or centers; and their perceptions of safety and privacy. Due to a high level of interest in the data on the part of activist groups and the emergency shelters and collective accommodation centers themselves, we published the findings, along with reflections on the collaboration, in an edited volume40 and in various blog and journal articles41, and shared them in several public presentations and a poster exhibition that was shown in both academic and non-academic settings. The students also used their insights from the collaboration to develop, together with the association Trixiewiz, a multilingual brochure with references to contact points in Berlin for women with refugee experience (figure 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1

The title page of “Starting Below Zero: A Guide for and by Refugee Women*.” Available in Arabic, Farsi, Kurmanji and Albanian, German, and English, it can be downloaded at http://www.trixiewiz.de/starting-below-zero-a-guide-by-and-for-refugee-women/, accessed on April 15, 2023 copyright: Trixiwiz e.V. 2017.

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

Although the project had a palpable impact in different political contexts, particularly informing the work of activist and migrant organizations, the limitations of the initiative also became evident. As many women only stayed in the shelters for a short period of time, it was difficult to build the longer-term relationships that we had hoped for in order to actually work together, communicate the results to the relevant refugee and civil society actors, or plan follow-up projects. In particular, the highly hierarchical and structured everyday life of the refugee facilities42 impeded the systematic involvement of refugee women in both the planning and implementation of the research, thus hindering them from adopting the creative agency that our collaboration had originally envisioned.43

In 2017, the collective was awarded the Margherita von Brentano Prize for Gender Research by Freie Universität Berlin. This award provided the impetus and financial means for carrying out another project, which aimed to put the perspectives of refugee women at the center of a new collaboration: Kollektiv Polylog, which emerged in its current form in this context. In 2019, the collective published a book containing the stories of flight and experiences of arriving in Germany of a total of 16 women, from Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Azerbaijan, told both through dialogue and personal narrative.44 One of these women, Saloua Nyazy, is co-author of this article. Many of the women already knew each other, as they met regularly at LouLou, a community space that calls itself “a meeting place for old and new neighbors” in Berlin’s Moabit neighborhood; it was also at LouLou that the students from the previous research and teaching initiative approached them about collaborating.

In the context of a second collaborative seminar project, the women worked in small groups with the students, defined the topics of discussion, and became actively involved in the transcription and translation of their conversations. Together with Mashimi and Dilger, the refugee women and the students engaged in the publication of the book (though a major part of the editing work was carried out by Mashimi). The seven stories are included in both German and in the original languages in which they were told (Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish), as the authors wanted to share their experiences directly with other refugees. The stories were illustrated with drawings by the Syrian artist Huda Takriti, who was closely involved in the process of creating the book and who called her work “snapshots of feelings” connected to the women’s narratives.

After failing to involve refugee women as active partners in the previous collaboration, one of Kollektiv Polylog’s main goals was to place their perspectives and concerns at the center of the work. However, the women from LouLou questioned whether they would actually get anything out of sharing their stories. This was especially the case during our initial meetings, making the question of how they would benefit from engaging within the collective, both personally and in terms of collective emancipation, the focus of our discussions very early on.

For many of the refugee women, a desire to find their place in this new context—Berlin—by getting involved with other social groups in the city was dominant (see figures 2 and 3). They wanted to establish social contacts and friendships and learn German, but they also wanted to have their voices heard within the racist and exclusionary discourses on refugees in German society. In the introduction to the book, the authors emphasized that it was important for them to tell their stories to a wider public, as “we are stronger and more active than we are often portrayed by the media.”45 These women knew that participating in the project would have no direct impact on their personal legal situations, and it was difficult for them to talk about their memories of flight and their experiences with the asylum system. But they believed that publicly telling their stories could potentially help refugee women in general. Ultimately, some personally benefitted from the social aspects of their involvement, too; the students they worked with supported them in finding housing, and they had the chance to improve their language skills—a benefit that was at least partly mutual.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Feedback from a seminar session exploring participants’ (refugee women, students, and one of the lecturers) expectations associated with the collaboration. One participant wanted “not just a project, but good relationships.” Some wanted “friendship” and/or to “meet great people,” while others had the hope of “spreading the women’s stories in society.”

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

photos: hansjörg dilger, november 2017.
Figure 3
Figure 3

Feedback from a seminar session exploring participants’ expectations associated with the collaboration (Cont.).

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

The students and lecturers of Kollektiv Polylog supported the refugee women’s goals and were also committed to helping them in their daily lives (for instance, with bureaucratic issues), but their expectations of the collaboration were also shaped by their political activism and points of view, which, though personal, largely converged. For many of them, the seminar project was a shared attempt to not only “listen to” and “establish contact” with the refugee women, but also support their struggles in the face of daily racism and the exclusionary migration policies of the German government through an engaged anthropological approach.46 As one participant wrote, they had the hope of bringing about “movement/transformation in society.”

The diversity of expectations of the collaboration also applied to the material benefits that each of the participants was able to gain from it—beyond the publication of the book. Thus, at the beginning of the project, the lecturers and students decided that the students would receive university credit for their participation in the seminar in order to support their studies, while the refugee women would be paid small stipends drawn from the Margherita von Brentano Prize; the lecturers, meanwhile, could partly integrate the seminar into their teaching responsibilities at the institute. The refugee women also received certificates from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin for their participation, and the authors and the students both took part in workshops on conducting interviews, multilingual work, and transcribing.

Thus, the question of the collaboration’s potentially divergent benefits, unequally shared workload, and power asymmetries in relation to class, language, and legal and professional status—as well as the potential tension these aspects implied for the collaboration as a whole—were continuously discussed and negotiated during the project. As we will show in the next section, however, explicit efforts to address and moderate power imbalances and diverging interests do not preclude affective ambiguities in collaboration; these may arise from the need to both negotiate and renegotiate positions and roles within the group and contestations that arise from the convergence of diverse interests, including outside the collective.

Part 2: Public Readings—“We Are Now the Main Protagonists in the Story of the Book”

After the publication of the book in 2019, Kollektiv Polylog decided to proceed with public readings in order to more widely disseminate the refugee women’s stories and engage in conversations about the book with different audiences (starting with the launch of the book in July 2019, see figures 4 and 5). While there was a gap in these activities between 2020 and 2021 due to covid-19, to date, the collective has conducted a total of eleven readings in political and ngo contexts, university settings, and at public libraries and art-related events in different German cities.47 Three of the authors were also included, along with their stories, in Archiv der Flucht, hosted by Haus der Kulturen der Welt,48 “a large-scale oral history project that brings together filmed interviews with 41 individuals who came to Germany between 1945 and 2016” (figure 6).

Figure 4
Figure 4

In July 2019, the book Das ist meine Geschichte: Frauen im Gespräch über Flucht und Ankommen was launched in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. Around 120 guests attended the event, which included a reading from the book and a performance by Haneen Choir, a women’s choir.

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

photos: kristina mashimi and hansjörg dilger, july 2019.
Figure 5
Figure 5

Performance by Haneen Choir

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

Figure 6
Figure 6

Screenshot of a video of one of the book’s authors in Archiv der Flucht

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

The readings were and are conducted by different combinations of the authors, reading in their original languages and accompanied by Mashimi, a social worker-cum-translator from LouLou (at first Mariana Karkoutly, later Sandy Albahri) and, occasionally, Dilger. The ba students participated in the readings until the end of 2019; by now, they have all graduated and moved on to further studies or jobs. Readings usually attract audiences of 20–50 people from diverse backgrounds. They are always followed by a Q&A session in which attendees have the opportunity to speak to the authors. Honoraria from the readings are split among the actively participating members of the collective (excluding Dilger).

The public readings opened up a new chapter in our collaborative work; we thought about and discussed what we actually had to say to the public, which book passages we (and especially the refugee authors) wanted to share, and how much space each of us wanted to take up—depending on our individual positions of privilege and marginality—within the diverse audiences with whom we were interacting. In our opinion, these intense conversations were only possible due to the long-established social and affective relationships between the members of Kollektiv Polylog; these relationships were built on mutual trust, friendship, and the shared commitment to the larger project and allowed for a renegotiation of the diverse roles and positions within our collaboration.

In this regard, the regular meetings at LouLou were of crucial importance as they offered a stable, trusted space for crafting sustainable relationalities within our group. In December 2021, five of the book’s authors, Mira G., Mouna Aleek, Nour R., Saloua Nyazy, and Valentina T., along with Kristina Mashimi, Sandy Albahri, and Hansjörg Dilger, had a lengthy conversation at LouLou that shed light on how the members of the collective perceived the public readings and the collaboration at large. The following impressions make clear how the collective’s preference for a particular kind of sociality—as well as a sustainable collaboration—was not always achieved, both due to structural circumstances and the partial failure (or inability) of all members to permanently commit to the collaboration. Furthermore, while some opinions were shared by all the members of the collective who were present, the conversation also revealed individual differences.

While these various factors gave rise to ambiguity—and the potential for tension—in our work, the present account focuses on what we learned from the situation about managing this ambiguity. Furthermore, while Mashimi and Dilger shared their perception of the collaboration in the conversation at LouLou, the experiences of the refugee authors are at the center of this account—a decision that was fundamental for our collaboration as a whole (see above). Last but not least, the conditions of translation affected how specific affective experiences were recounted in our conversation and how we were able to manage (potential) affective ambiguities in the collaboration in general. Thus, while most of the refugee authors spoke in Arabic during our interactions, their statements in the conversation at LouLou were translated into German by Albahri and later into English by Dilger. The English extracts were then changed to the first-person perspective in the final version of the text. These multiple translations may lead to the impression among non-involved readers that certain affects and emotions were articulated in restrained ways (or sometimes not at all), but they were first and foremost an expression of our ethical and affective approach to working together.

One major focus of our conversation at LouLou was the readings, which everyone present experienced as generally positive opportunities for the refugee authors to have direct contact with attendees (figure 7). Mouna appreciated that people were ready “to learn about the situation of refugees” and that the attendees could “feel and sense [the refugee authors’] perspectives and opinions” through the readings, often more directly than they could through the book. Hansjörg recalled that at one of the readings, audience members had found the women’s stories “touching”; during the Q&A, many opened their statements by thanking the women for sharing their stories publicly. Saloua shared this impression of the listeners’ overall empathy and described her highly emotional encounter with an older woman:

Figure 7
Figure 7

A Kollektiv Polylog reading at Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin.

Citation: Public Anthropologist 5, 2 (2023) ; 10.1163/25891715-bja10049

photo: hansjörg dilger, november 2021.

Sometimes, [there are] very emotional older people who, for example, also survived the war. So once, an older lady cried when I read. And I reacted. My reaction was totally spontaneous, and the lady also showed compassion. And [she] said, ‘I also experienced the same thing. I totally understand what you are talking about and what your feelings are.’

Furthermore, several members of the collective thought that the book project was having a positive impact among other refugees outside of the collective. Mouna said that people with a refugee background thought that the book was “a great idea” and that she felt recognized and seen by other refugees. She recalled that some other people with refugee backgrounds had told her, “With this, you kind of start to change things. You have a say. That makes a difference.” This perception was confirmed by Kristina, who recalled various conversations on the subject with people with refugee backgrounds, in which they had been quite enthusiastic about the book:

We’ve had that several times at the readings. People come up and say, ‘How did you do that? We want to do something like that!’ [Addressing Mouna] Someone approached you at the subway station when you had this book in your hand. They told you, ‘Oh, I happened to be at your reading, and I want to do a book like that.’

However, our conversation also shed light on more negative experiences with the readings and the affective ambiguities the members of the collective struggled with. In one instance, one author was initially reluctant to read her chapter in public as she was worried about becoming “too moved” emotionally and starting to cry. As she shared her anxiety with the group before the reading, Saloua and Kristina found a Syrian woman to read her part. But just before the reading, the author decided to do the reading herself and take her place onstage—even if this meant taking breaks to calm herself down as needed.

Furthermore, the readings did not always fulfill the collective’s above-mentioned expectations for “good social relationships” or creating a “more positive image in society,” and they were sometimes even “disappointing” for the authors. Saloua, for instance, was irritated by the silence from the audience that frequently followed the readings. On these occasions, her proficiency with German continuing to grow, she began posing questions to the audience, engaging them in conversation on topics that mattered to her and moderating the discussion, a task which, up until that point, had been performed by Kristina and Sandy. As Sandy Albahri remembered, this active challenging of the audience made the listeners “more active”; some of them found the refugee authors “very strong.”

In other instances, however, the authors had the impression that people, as Mouna put it, “had fixed ideas and opinions [that] do not change easily.” In an exchange with Sandy, Saloua spoke about the “suspicion” she felt from the audience towards refugees because of their assumed dependency on German society, and how she and other refugee authors were troubled by the somewhat doubting undertone of certain questions they received:

Saloua: I sometimes have the feeling that … there is something behind the question. Like, for example, an older lady asked me, “Yes, and if, for example, everything is good again in Syria, will you return?” And I immediately answered, “Yes, well, that’s what I always say; I definitely would rather not die here in Germany.” So if Syria is doing well again, then I definitely will return. But I had the feeling that behind the question lay the sentiment, “You come here to take advantage of us.” At such a moment, that feeling isn’t nice for us women.

Sandy: Yeah, that sometimes happens. The eyes say it, not just the words …. But many people [with refugee status] work hard to achieve something.

The relations that the authors were able to establish with various audiences through the readings (and the collaboration as a whole) were in some respects very different from what they had hoped for in the seminar context back in 2017–2018, though at the time, many of them had already described experiences of hostility or rejection in German society. On the one hand, the collective’s experiences, both with the broader public and with other refugees, were sometimes frustrating. Contrary to the positive experience that Mouna and Kristina had reported earlier, Nour recounted that she had given the book as a gift to other refugee women, who just said, “You’re trying to change something with this, but it isn’t going to do anything.”

In another instance, the Green Party’s federal working group on migration and refugees (Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Migration und Flucht) invited the collective to an event that focused on the psychosocial situations of refugee women. Mouna and Saloua remembered attending “with great enthusiasm,” hoping “to change politics entirely.” However, at the event, they had “a feeling they weren’t really listened to and that the attention was elsewhere.” Kristina vividly remembered this situation—in which all the attention was, in the end, given to an expert from a university presenting the findings of her study—and how frustrating she found it:

I remember very clearly that Mouna said in this forum, ‘We also have something to say. We aren’t just people who contribute stories; we also have opinions.’ That’s what Mouna said, and that’s what was translated; then came this totally long lecture [laughs]. And then they didn’t talk to us at all, so I found it quite frustrating. We also talked about it afterward.49

Expectations for the collaboration were also not always met when it came to the collective itself, though most of the refugee women appreciated the relationships, both within and beyond the collective, that they had established through the joint work. During the conversation at LouLou, they unanimously described the project as “beautiful,” “fun,” and, as Nour put it, “made with love.” For Mira, the collaboration was even a life-changing event: “I enjoy it every time because of the process of participating in the creation of the book … At the time when I met all of you, I was not in an ideal situation; it helped me a lot in my personal life. And therefore, I am happy every time I meet with all of you.”

However, there was also criticism of how the composition of the group had changed over time. In late 2021, Kollektiv Polylog consisted of five or six refugee authors who regularly participated in the readings, as well as Kristina, Sandy, and Hansjörg. Other women were either busy with their lives or more difficult to reach as they were not part of the LouLou group. The majority of the students, in turn, had stopped being active after the seminar had ended. Some students in the core team, who had been vital to establishing the collective, publishing the book, and organizing the first few readings, continued to send short messages to the collective’s WhatsApp group. For the other members of the collective, this was partly understandable; the students were preoccupied with new tasks and challenges in their lives. At the same time, they were disappointed that the students were no longer an active part of the collaboration. One refugee author said, “The students have played a hugely important role, but after the book was created, they played no role at all. As if it was just a project for them.”

This statement demonstrates how important the focus on relationships—beyond the collaboration’s concrete goals of producing a book and having an impact on the public through the readings—was and continues to be for both the refugee authors and other members of the collective. The strong value of sociality had already become apparent during the seminar in 2017–2018, when one of the refugee women stated that the collaboration was “more than just a project, but good relationships.”50 For the authors, it was important to spend time with the students and “have fun” with them; they also valued the opportunity to establish, through the collective, a “safe space” for their experiences and stories. This resonated strongly with the aspiration to “make contact” and the desire for “empathic listening” that the students and lecturers had expressed at the start of working together (figures 2 and 3). However, while this goal of establishing “good social relationships” was shared by all members of the collective, no one questioned (during the initial seminar session, at least) how the space of the collective might, over time, be reshaped by diverging personal interests and orientations.

In hindsight, the members of the collective realized that this potential for affective ambiguity—which resulted from the inevitable conflation of personal/material interests and more political and/or altruistic motivations, including the desire for collaborative engagement—must have been integral to the work of Kollektiv Polylog right from the beginning. However, with all the excitement and anxieties about the potential for failure or miscommunication that had shaped the emerging collaboration in late 2017, none of them had seen it coming. As Sandy and Hansjörg expressed it:

Sandy: It is important for the women that if someone participates in a project they consider important, they then continue to participate. Otherwise, the perception is that people were involved with the project in order to achieve something. When they achieved the goal, that was it for them.

Hansjörg: You cannot know at the beginning what will happen. When we all met for the first time, we couldn’t even imagine that the book would really happen. And then the book came, then the readings came, and now we say, “We are making a film.” So it is this evolving process that we cannot plan beforehand. Three years ago, nobody thought that we might be sitting here today. That’s a good thing, but it is also something we could not plan from the beginning.

To be sure, such moments of contemplation are not an end point for Kollektiv Polylog but rather an opportunity for reflecting on the shifting modalities of our collaboration, as well as its prospects. On the one hand, this reflection concerned the diverging affective, social, and material expectations that our collaboration evoked and which were felt and articulated differently by the collective’s members over time. On the other, it involved the shifting roles and responsibilities within the collective. This became especially apparent at the readings, where the refugee authors started to become more confident in their positions and sometimes even adopted proactive roles in their interactions with the audience. Furthermore, while, as one of the refugee women stated, “the university” (meaning, in this case, the students) had stopped playing a dominant role in the collaboration, over time, this role was gradually assumed by the refugee authors themselves. As Mouna said, “We are now the main protagonists in the story of the book. We are active; that’s our story. We are moving on.”

At the same time, several women explicitly emphasized that the collaboration was only possible because everybody played a specific part in it. Furthermore, one might also argue the collaboration’s main original goals had been achieved—namely, to support “the refugee participants in making their stories and concerns accessible to as broad a public as possible” and “to create lasting structures in which people can help themselves.”51 In this regard, Nour’s question concluding her statement on the “love” that was driving the collaboration is telling: “So what is still to come? How can we now continue with the project together?”52

Conclusion

What does it mean to do public anthropology from within the everyday operations of neoliberal academia, with its logic of efficiency and ever-growing demands for “excellent” teaching and research? Who actually benefits from the efforts at collaboration required by public anthropological engagement and the aim of “creat[ing] alternative models of thinking and doing anthropology”?53 Which spaces open up for the relational and epistemological work these kinds of collaborations require in order to engage in collective inquiry over a longer period of time?

In this article, we have argued, firstly, that the affective ambiguities of anthropological collaboration beyond the university are created by the inherent incompatibility of the discipline’s value frameworks with the structural and ideological conditions for collaborative work within neoliberal academia. This incompatibility not only creates (potentially) conflicting perceptions of how the (altruistic-cum-ethical) values of sociality and reciprocity relate to other, more measurable outcomes of a collaboration (like the obtaining of study credits or the publication of a book or article) over time; it also makes dependency and exploitation almost inevitable pitfalls of collaboration, especially with regard to vulnerable groups, as members of a collaboration are affected differently by academia’s power relations according to their social, legal, and academic statuses.54

Secondly, we have argued that thinking of collaboration as mutual, long-term relationships creates conditions in which affective ambiguity must be actively managed55 by all members of a collective in order to make collaborations sustainable. Even if diverging expectations for a collaboration are expressed (or even written down)56 at the beginning of a collaboration, they may be subject to change.57 Furthermore, uncertainty regarding the terms of a collaboration arises when not all expectations are explicitly articulated; for instance, if the goal of obtaining academic credits on the basis of joint work seems morally and affectively less acceptable than the aim of supporting those in social and material need. Under these circumstances, the members of a collective must recognize and address this potential for ambiguity (and conflict) early and develop strategies for making sure that all involved actors benefit from working together (affectively, materially, epistemologically, or in various combinations of these).

To be sure, neoliberal academia is not an obstacle per se for anthropological collaborations, and universities may become important reference points when social scientists seek to establish more democratic methods of knowledge production and/or appeal to increasingly diverse publics. In this regard, Freie Universität Berlin was an important connecting point for our own critical interventions from within social and cultural anthropology, which aimed for more equitable relations and participatory forms of knowledge production within and beyond academia.

That such engagement can provide both the material and ideological basis for establishing highly productive collaborations like Kollektiv Polylog becomes apparent in Freie Universität Berlin’s official statement on the occasion of awarding the collective the Margherita von Brentano Prize in 2017, which stated that it received the award “for an impressive, project-like achievement … that focuses on the socio-political relevance of the special needs of refugee women and at the same time represents a successful form of research-oriented teaching” (our italics). At the same time, this statement exposes the inherent contradictions of collaborative engagements within neoliberal academia: At contemporary universities, collaboration is usually imagined through a fixed set of indicators that measure success, impact, and relevance over a limited period of time.58 This focus on productivity, output, impact, and cost-effectiveness allows hardly any space for building the kind of socialities, temporalities, and affective and material knowledge practices that people and organizations beyond (and, to a degree, within59) the university value. If these values and practices do thrive and are made sustainable over time, active effort and constant reflexivity on all levels of collaboration are needed.

Collaborations can grow if they provide the space for critical reflexivity that is required for understanding and addressing “the politics of learning and knowing together.”60 They also depend on the willingness of all involved actors to invest in the “emotional, political, and analytical labor” required for establishing reciprocal relations under conditions of vulnerability.61 In the case of Kollektiv Polylog, the ambiguity of the university’s role in shaping anthropological collaborations has become strikingly visible. On the one hand, the collaboration has been sustainable only because of the continuing (though increasingly limited) influx of university resources. This includes not only the prize money, which we were able to use flexibly (as opposed to, for instance, grant money from external funding agencies), but also the active involvement of Kristina Mashimi, a PhD researcher who is only able to continue her engagement because of her university position (which is, like most academic jobs at the so-called Mittelbau, or early- to mid-career level, temporary and therefore precarious).62 These kinds of collaborations are only possible through affective and social investment by university staff beyond their actual university positions and working hours, which affects the people involved differently according to their specific academic positions.

On the other hand, the collaboration is sustained, importantly, by affective, structural, and personal resources that come from outside academia. This obviously includes the refugee authors themselves, who are highly invested in keeping the collaboration going despite the multiple other challenges they face in their lives and those of their families. But it also applies to the continued engagement of Sandy Albahri, who plays a central role in the social, affective, and linguistic coherence of the collective and is able to draw on resources from LouLou for this purpose.

In conclusion, we want to call for more nuanced explorations of the partly productive, often ambiguous entanglements between neoliberal academia and anthropological collaborations with diverse social groups. As Hefferman, Murphy, and Skinner have argued, these entanglements are highly paradoxical, as collaboration in a neoliberal context is “inextricably linked to (sometimes even dependent on) the demands of neoliberalism itself.”63 It is, therefore, important to examine not only “the shadow that neoliberal institutions cast over the affective [and, we would like to add, ethical, structural, and socio-material] dimensions of research.”64 It is also crucial to systematically discuss what kind of anthropological collaborations we are actually able to establish in the context of neoliberal research and teaching institutions and how the kinds of socialities, temporalities, and values that these collaborations pursue are often actively undermined by academia itself. As we have shown in this article, the anticipation and active management of affective ambiguities was the only way that a core constellation of our group stayed committed to working together—against the odds.

1

Lassiter, L.E. (2005a). The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. University of Chicago Press, p. 6.

2

Fluehr-Lobban, C. (2008). Collaborative Anthropology as Twenty-first-Century Ethical Anthropology. Collaborative Anthropologies 1(1): 175–182. See also Asad, T. (1973). Introduction. In: T. Asad, ed., Anthropology & the Colonial Encounter. Ithaca Press, p. 17.

3

Fluehr-Lobban, C. (2008) (p. 176).

4

In this regard, collaborative anthropology is also distinct from the participatory research practices established in the fields of applied anthropology and development anthropology.

5

Hoppe, S., Vermeulen, L., Driessen, A., Roding, E., de Groot, M., and Krause, K. (2019). Learning in Collaborative Moments: Practising Relating Differently with Dementia in Dialogue Meetings. Anthropology in Action 26(3): 10–22.

6

“Modes of collaboration,” accessed on April 15, 2023, https://xcol.org/glossary/modes-of-collaboration/.

7

Faust, F., Sekuler, T., and Binder, B. (2021). Reibung als Potential: Kollaboratives Forschen mit hiv/Aids-Aktivist*innen. Berliner Blätter 83: 49−65 (p. 50).

8

Fluehr-Lobban, C. (2008) (p. 175).

9

Churcher, M., Calkins, S., Böttger, J., and Slaby, J. (2023). The Many Lives of Institutions: A Framework for Studying Institutional Affect. In: M. Churcher, S. Calkins, J. Böttger, and J. Slaby, eds., Affect, Power, and Institutions. Routledge, p. 8.

10

Boyer, D., and Marcus, G.E. (2021). Introduction: Collaborative Anthropology Today: A Collection of Exceptions. In: Ibid., eds., Collaborative Anthropology Today: A Collection of Exceptions. Cornell University Press, pp. 1–21.

11

See Brković, Č. (2015). Management of Ambiguity: Favours and Flexibility in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Social Anthropology 23(3): 268–282.

12

Kollektiv Polylog website, accessed on October 10, 2023, https://kollektivpolylog7.wordpress.com/kollektiv-polylog-2/uber-uns/.

13

See Castillo, R.C. (2015). The Emotional, Political, and Analytical Labor of Engaged Anthropology Amidst Violent Political Conflict. Medical Anthropology 34(1): 70–83.

14

See Dilger, H., Bochow, A., Burchardt, M., and Wilhelm-Solomon, M., eds. (2020). Affective Trajectories: Religion and Emotion in African Cityscapes. Duke University Press.

15

Wissenschaftsrat. (2020). Wissenschaft im Spannungsfeld von Disziplinarität und Interdisziplinarität. Position paper, Köln.

16

Fischer, F. (2014). Interdisziplinarität als Bewegung. In: G. Dressel, W. Berger, K. Heimerl, and V. Winiwarter, eds., Interdisziplinär und transdisziplinär forschen: Praktiken und Methoden. Transcript Verlag, pp. 13–16.

17

Groth, S., and Ritter, C. (2021). Zusammen arbeiten. Modalitäten—Settings—Initiativen. In: S. Groth and C. Ritter, eds., Zusammen arbeiten: Praktiken der Koordination und Kooperation in kollaborativen Prozessen. Transcript Verlag, pp. 7–22.

18

Groth, S., and Ritter, C. (2021), p. 12.

19

Fluehr-Lobban, C. (2008).

20

Lassiter, L.E. (2005b). Collaborative Ethnography and Public Anthropology. Current Anthropology 46(1): 83–106 (p. 102).

21

Heffernan, E., Murphy, F., and Skinner, J. (2021). Introduction. In: E. Heffernan, F. Murphy, and J. Skinner, eds., Collaborations: Anthropology in a Neoliberal Age. Routledge, pp. 1–22.

22

Lassiter, L.E. (2005b).

23

Huschke, S. (2015). Giving Back: Activist Research with Undocumented Migrants in Berlin. Medical Anthropology 34(1): 54–69 (pp. 55–56).

24

Selim, N., Abdalla, M., Alloulou, L., Halli, M.A., Holmes, S.M., Ibiß, M., Jaschke, G., and Gonçalves Martín, J. (2018). Coming Together in the So-Called Refugee Crisis: A Collaboration Among Refugee Newcomers, Migrants, Activists and Anthropologists in Berlin. Anthropology in Action 25(3): 34–44.

25

Müller-Funk, L. (2021). Research with Refugees in Fragile Political Contexts: How Ethical Reflections Impact Methodological Choices. Journal of Refugee Studies 34(2): 2308–2332.

26

Lassiter, L.E. (2005b) (p. 84).

27

See Loher, D. and Strasser, S. (2019). Politics of precarity: neoliberal academia under austerity measures and authoritarian threat. Social Anthropology 27(2): 5–14.

28

Aijazi, O., Amburgey, E., Limbu, B., Suji, M., Binks, J., Balaz-Munn, C., Rankin, K., and Shneiderman, S. (2021). The Ethnography of Collaboration: Navigating Power Relationships in Joint Research. Collaborative Anthropologies 13(2): 56–99 (pp. 62–67).

29

McGiffin, E. (2021). Academic-practitioner collaboration in the neoliberal university. Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue canadienne d’études du développement 42(3): 306–325.

30

Aijazi, O., et al. (2021) (p. 58).

31

Aijazi, O., et al. (2021) (p. 58). This argument also applies in the German context, where the dominant use of the German language and privileged languages like English tends to exclude people with proficiencies in other languages, such as Arabic, Farsi, or Turkish.

32

Shore, C. (2021). Symbiotic or Parasitic? Universities, Academic Capitalism and the Global Knowledge Economy. In: E. Heffernan, F. Murphy, and J. Skinner, eds., Collaborations: Anthropology in a Neoliberal Age. Routledge, pp. 23–44.

33

Ortner, S. (2016). Dark anthropology and its others: Theory since the eighties. hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 6(1): 47–73.

34

Huschke, S. (2015) (pp. 54–69).

35

Groth, S., and Ritter, C. (2021) (p. 14); McGiffin, E. (2021); Shore, C. (2021).

36

Kollektiv Polylog website “Über uns.”

37

Bräu, M., Epstude, K., Erlenmaier, A. M., Haumann, S., Jerichau, D., Nahrwold, L., Mysorekar, M. P., Sisnowski, M., Strott, L., von Hein, C. (2016a). Introduction—On the Situation of Women* in Refugee Camps in Berlin. In: H. Dilger and K. Dohrn, eds., in Collaboration with International Women* Space, Living in Refugee Camps in Berlin: Women’s Perspectives and Experiences. Weißensee Verlag, pp. 23–62; Dilger, H., Dittmer, C., Dohrn, K., Lorenz, D. F., and Voss, M. (2017). Studentisches Forschen in Not- und Sammelunterkünften für Geflüchtete: (Selbst-)Kritische Reflexionen aus der Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie und Katastrophenforschung. Zeitschrift für Fluchtforschung 1(1): 124–139; Forschungskollektiv “Frauen und Flucht.” (2017). Bewerbung für den Margherita-von-Brentano-Preis der Freien Universität Berlin. Freie Universität Berlin: Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.

38

With the occupation, refugees and activists protested against the restrictive migration policies of the German government. See Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum website, accessed on April 15, 2023, https://www.fhxb-museum.de/index.php?id=248.

39

Bräu, M., et al. (2016a) (p. 24); see also International Women* Space (2015). In Our Own Words. Refugee Women in Germany Tell Their Stories. Hinkelsteindruck.

40

Dilger, H., and Dohrn, K., eds., in Collaboration with International Women Space (2016). Living in Refugee Camps in Berlin: Women’s Perspectives and Experiences. Weißensee Verlag.

41

Bräu, M., Epstude, K., Erlenmaier, A.M., Nahrwold, L., Mysorekar, M.P., Sisnowski, M., Strott, L., and von Hein, C. (2016b). “Starting below Zero”: On the Situation of Women* in Refugee Camps in Berlin. Blog Medizinethnologie (blog), accessed on April 15, 2023, https://www.medizinethnologie.net/starting-below-zero/; Dilger, H., et al. (2017).

42

See Devlin, J., Evers, T., and Goebel, S. (2021). Einleitung. In: J. Devlin, T. Evers, and S. Goebel, eds., Praktiken der (Im-)Mobilisierung: Lager, Sammelunterkünfte und Ankerzentren im Kontext von Asylregimen. Transcript Verlag, pp. 9–23.

43

Bräu, M., et al. (2016a) (p. 30).

44

Kollektiv Polylog (2019). Das ist meine Geschichte: Frauen im Gespräch über Flucht und Ankommen. Unrast Verlag.

45

Kollektiv Polylog (2019) (p. 28).

46

Bräu, M., et al. (2016a); Bräu, M., et al. (2016b); Dilger, H., and Dohrn, K. (2016).

47

There were also two online readings, but participation was especially challenging for refugee women who still lived in collective accommodation centers and/or had care responsibilities in their homes.

48

“Archiv der Flucht,” accessed on October 18, 2023, https://archivderflucht.hkw.de/en/.

49

It should be noted that the authors also had positive experiences with political parties, including the Green Party. Saloua recounted another event, during which the wearing of the hijab in work settings was discussed. According to her, there a lot of attention was paid to her position, and one politician concluded the event with the words “We’re working hard so that women with headscarves can come in to work—and into our party, too.”

50

See also Dilger, H., Strott, L., and von Hein, C. (2018). “Mehr als nur ein Projekt, sondern gute Beziehungen”: Partizipation als Grundlage für Empowerment. In: J. Jesuthasan and I. Abels, eds., Frauen und Flucht: VulnerabilitätEmpowermentTeilhabe. E-paper in the series Heimatkunde, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, pp. 22–77.

51

Dilger, H., Strott, L., and von Hein, C. (2018); our translation.

52

Six months later, at the time of finalizing this article, Kollektiv Polylog has completed a video project that recounts refugees’ diverse experiences with becoming and remaining present in the city of Berlin. Apart from the refugee authors in the collective, this project also included African students who have fled from Ukraine because of the war. The video project was part of a master’s seminar offered to a new group of ma students at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin in collaboration with Tubman Network e.V.—Coalition of Black Organizations in Germany & Allies. The videos are published on the collective’s website, accessed on October 10, 2023, https://kollektivpolylog7.wordpress.com/videoprojekt/.

53

Amrute, S., and Bhan, M. (2019). Year in Review: In the Time of Public Anthropologies. American Anthropologist (online), accessed on April 15, 2023, https://www.americananthropologist.org/online-content/year-in-review-in-the-time-of-public-anthropologies.

54

Aijazi, O., et al. (2021) (p. 59).

55

See Brković, Č. (2015).

56

Lassiter, L.E. (2005a) (p. 96).

57

Lassiter, L.E. (2005a) (p. 137).

58

Shore, C. (2021).

59

Again, it is important to emphasize that “the university” is not monolithic; there are multiple positions within it, some of them critical ones. We want to thank the Margherita von Brentano Zentrum and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin for their support of Kollektiv Polylog over time.

60

Hoppe, S., et al. (2019) (p. 11).

61

Castillo, R. C. (2015) (p. 72).

62

Loher, D., and Strasser, S. (2019) (p. 10).

63

Hefferman, E., Murphy, F., and Skinner, J. (2021) (p. 14).

64

Aijazi, O., et al. (2021) (p. 59).

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