Welcome to the Anthropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory (ARC). We are experimenting with ways to invent twenty-first century modes of inquiry cast in a contemporary ethos. Our experiment concerns the relation among and between knowledge, thought, and care, as well as the different forms and venues within which these relations might best be brought together and assembled. Our commitment is anthropological, a combination of disciplined conceptual work and participant-observation based inquiry.
Our challenge is to produce knowledge in such a way that the work enhances us ethically, scientifically, politically, and ontologically. What concepts, venues, and forms are most pertinent for building a reflective relation to the present? How should a comparative study (logos) of present forms of life, labor and language (anthropos) be mediated? How should they be curated? We ask: What are the reflected modes and forms for conducting life: the bios technika – the arts and techniques of living? In short: what is a worthwhile philosophic and anthropological practice today?
This new iteration of a long-standing project is based at UC Berkeley although increasingly its practitioners are located worldwide. The conceptual and ethical core grows out of the work of Paul Rabinow and a long line of students as well as the major thinkers—Max Weber, John Dewey, Michel Foucault—whose writings and lives help us to orient ourselves to a remediated, reflective relation to the present.
This project is conducted using the platform Lacuna Stories, developed by Brian Johnsrud and the Poetic Media Lab at Stanford University. The platform was originally designed to curate advanced learning in humanities classrooms. The version developed here is redesigned to support collaboratve research.