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Hosting, Not Hospitality

When Nov 15, 2016
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Mond Building Seminar Room, New Museums Site
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01223 769335
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Dr Adam Yuet Chau, University Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Modern China, gives a talk in the series of research seminars run by the Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit. 

‘Hospitality’ as a theme and concept has become increasingly prominent in anthropological theorising. However, a conceptual muddle exists around the nature of the host-guest relationship, a muddle that will not go away if we continue to deploy the same term (i.e. hospitality) to analyse a wide variety of host-guest scenarios across far-flung ethnographic regions. In this presentation I will propose a new conceptual framing, that of ‘hosting’, to accentuate the difference between two ideal-typical host-guest scenarios: receiving guests who are known to, and have been invited by, the host (what I call ‘hosting’) and receiving visitors, often strangers, who have, sometimes forcefully, made people into hosts (i.e. the classic hospitality scenario). I will use cases drawn from Chinese social and religious life as well as from Christianity, and will perforce engage in a critique of Derrida’s conceptualisation of ‘hostipitality’.

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Cambridge has a long and distinctive tradition in the study of the Middle East and Asia. This Faculty prides itself on exploring these fields through the local languages and encourages students to learn through real world engagement. If you are interested in these world regions and want to discover their languages, cultures, histories, religions, and politics, then this is the home for you. 

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