Transcending North Atlantic perspectives

What can anthropology contribute to public debate about two of the most critical issues facing the world today – the security of the global financial system and the challenges of national and international security?

A lot, says Professor John Gledhill who will deliver La Trobe University’s Annual Joel S. Kahn Lecture this Friday, 5 December.

Professor Gledhill is Max Gluckman Professor of Social Anthropology and Co-Director of the Centre for Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester in the UK.

He says anthropological research has the potential to help us transcend North Atlantic perspectives, and thereby achieve a better and more broadly-based understanding of the way many other people see the world.

‘One of discipline’s great strengths is its comparative perspective and our desire to capture the continuing variability and heterogeneity in human societies.’

Much of Professor Gledhill’s work examines ethnographic material in a broader comparative perspective, seeking to compare and contrast the experiences of different regions of the world in a systematic way.

This is reflected in his book on political anthropology, Power and its Disguises, first published in 1994, and republished, with a Spanish version, in 2000.

Professor Gledhill is a member of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, co-managing editor of Critique of Anthropology, and Chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth.

A lot of his field work has been carried out in Mexico, Central America and Brazil. His research interests include urban and rural poverty, international migration, comparative political systems, neoliberalism, social movements, the politics of human and indigenous rights, and historical anthropology.

The lecture will be held at 5.30 pm, Friday 5 December 2008, Martin Building Lecture Theatre, Bundoora Campus, La Trobe University, Melway reference F6.

Contact: Dr John Morton, tel: 03 9479 1445; email: