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India Hosted World Anthropology Congress After 45 Years at DU

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The 19th edition of the World Anthropology Congress was hosted by India after 45 years within the premises of Delhi University, denoting major developments in the field of Anthropology within the country.

The University of Delhi was host to the 19th International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) World Anthropology Congress 2023 in India from October 14 to October 20. The country hosted this event after a span of 45 years.

Distinguished scholars from the field of Anthropology and other allied disciplines from 70 different countries graced the event. The congress is organised by the Indian Anthropological Association, in collaboration with the Ethnographic and Folk Culture Society of India, the Department of Anthropology, University of Hyderabad, and the Discipline of Anthropology, Indira Gandhi National Open University. The congress was hosted by the University of Delhi.

The inauguration ceremony of the conference was held on October 15, 2023. Junji Koizumi, President of IUAES, provided an overview of the history of IUAES, highlighting that the first Congress was held in London in 1934 and subsequently in various regions worldwide, including Asia, with India hosting the event in 1978.

The President also highlighted that IUAES had become more active through institutions and now returned to India at a significant moment in the intellectual development of Anthropology as a discipline.

The conference’s theme, “Marginalities, Uncertainties, and World Anthropologies: Enlivening Past and Envisioning Future,” seeks to critically examine historical marginalisations and hierarchies as well as how they have been perpetuated throughout the current crisis. It is also intended to spark new discussions and search for innovative solutions that will allow us to eliminate the previous disparities and inequities and create a brand-new world from the rubble. The plenary sessions and some of the special or distinguished talks took place in hybrid format, while the rest of the conference was hosted in physical mode.

The IUAES is a global association of researchers and organisations dedicated to anthropology and ethnology. It is also of importance to linguists, among other disciplines. It strives to improve trade and communication between academics from all corners of the globe in an endeavour to collectively advance human knowledge. The IUAES was established on August 23, 1948, but the foundations of The IUAES were laid much earlier.

The Congress shall feature various events, including 165 technical sessions, 10 plenary sessions, 160 panels, 15 round tables, 10 workshops, and the screening of 16 ethnographic films. The conference will also feature exhibitions from the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts’ Janpad Sampda division, Rock Art division, and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya. The conference aims to bring theory and practice together, promote global cooperation, and give academics and policymakers a forum for in-depth dialogue. Besides, the Congress also hosted Panel Proposals, Round Tables and Workshops to foster immersive research experiences and encourage debate and discourse.

Soumendra M, Patnaik, Conference Chair and the Head of the Department of Anthropology, DU, added that the fact that the event is being held on the Delhi University campus itself showcases the institution’s ‘advanced infrastructure’ and the ‘capability to host a conference of this magnitude’.

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Priyanka Mukherjee

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