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On 17 October at 11:15 Professor Tatjana Thelen from the University of Vienna will deliver an open lecture on the topic ‘State, Kinship, Care: An Anthropological Perspective’. The lecture will take place at 16 Dzirciema Iela, Block G, Room 201.

‘In October 2019 the first two so-called ISIS-children arrived in Austria. Their Austrian mother had been separated from her children and disappeared during the war. Based upon a DNA-test they are granted Austrian citizenship and custody has been transferred to their maternal grandmother. This is only one recent example of the deep entanglement between kinship, state and care. Despite their constant co-production, kinship and the state are still often dealt with conceptually separately, or even as contrasting domains, which creates unhelpful blind spots. In my talk I will propose a relational approach that uses care as an avenue of ethnographically researching their intricate relationship. The aim is to show how kinship is not only influenced by the state but also shapes political structures. Ultimately, I argue that overcoming the stereotypical division and the myth of the “modern” family as functionless in politics, can be an important contribution of anthropology in public debates,’ says Professor Thelen.

Tatjana Thelen is a Professor at the University of Vienna, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. She has carried out fieldwork in Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and eastern Germany on questions of property reform, care, kinship and the state. The epistemic foundations and significance of boundary work between kinship and state formations increasingly form the focus of her research. This was at the heart of the interdisciplinary research group on Kinship and Politics, which she co-led at the Center for Interdisciplinary research in Bielefeld (ZIF). Recently, she co-edited Reconnecting State and Kinship (University of Pennsylvania Press 2018) and Stategraphy: Toward a Relational Anthropology of the State (Berghahn 2017).

The lecture will be held in English.

The open lecture is taking place within the frame of the RELATE.LV project and the Baltic Anthropology Graduate School, and is organised by the academic staff of the Social Anthropology Master’s programme of RSU.


Room G-201

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