Centro Incontri Umani - Ascona

Recent samples of scholars' work


Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Lecturer, Griffith University - summer 2014

During his time at the Centro, Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne worked on two projects:

- Sovereignty and the Immunitary Logic of the Post-war Sri Lankan State considers the extent to which (despite the rhetoric of reconciliation expressed by the Sri Lankan State) violence remains the hidden, repressed ground of sovereign power in Sri Lanka;

- The Evolution of Australian Native Title in Its Historical Relation is a co-authored book (with Jonathan Fulcher and Courtney Smith, both practising lawyers in Brisbane and specialists in Native Title in Australia) that situates the evolution of Native Title in Australia in its colonial historical context.

further details 

Ying Li, Professor of Fine Arts at Haverford College - summer 2013
'Foreign terrain'

'In her recent paintings, completed during a residency at Centro Incontri Umani Ascona in Switzerland, Li painted for the first time at high altitude, a plein-air extreme well suited to her strengths as a painter. The high vantage points offered by the mountain village alter the spatial organization of the landscape. Rather than seeing through space, Li engaged with a dynamic top-down space that plunges even as it recedes creating a natural, vertiginous abstraction. At altitude Li was also closer to the light, closer to the weather, closer to the environmental changes that have informed her work for many years.' (Painters Table, 2 May 2014)


'Old man with dog in winter' (courtesy of the artist)



Valle Onsernone #6 (Puffy Clouds), 2013, oil on linen, 10 x 20 inches (courtesy of the artist)

See also thumbnail images to the right.

further details of Ying Li's project 


Bruce Kapferer, Professor, Dept of Social Anthropology, Bergen - summer 2013
2001 and Counting: Kubrick, Nietzsche, and Anthropology

'In 2001 and Counting, renowned anthropologist Bruce Kapferer revisits 2001: A Space Odyssey, making a compelling case for its continued cultural relevance. While the film's earliest audiences considered it to be a critical examination of European and American realities at the height of the Cold War, Kapferer shows that Kubrick s masterwork speaks equally well to concerns of the contemporary world, including the Iraq War, the 2008 financial crisis, and the material and political effects of neoliberalism. Kapferer explores Kubrick's central theme - the ever-changing relationship between humanity and technology - both with regard to current events and through the lens of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the mythical concept of the eternal return.'


Published by Prickly Paradigm Press


Tony Crook, Director, Centre for Pacific Studies, University of St Andrews - summer 2013
Terms of Engagement: Anthropology, Indigenous Lifeworlds and Resource Extraction in Papua New Guinea

The period of my CIU Fellowship ran between 1 May and 5 September 2013, and was extraordinarily rewarding and productive. The beautiful setting and intellectual context amongst the other Fellows and visitors, made it possible to concentrate and explore my research project in a manner that has proven to be as fruitful as it is rare. Aside from the research work itself, I gave two seminars during the Fellowship. I experienced and enjoyed the direct effect between the generosity of the invitation and the generosity, so to speak, that this gave to one's thinking and writing as the materials could be seen anew, and fresh insights and possibilities pursued. The very generosity of the social and intellectual relations that enabled my Fellowship led to a series of effects that reflected this causality; and in doing so, it would be nice to think that the research conducted over the summer months has in return furthered the Centre's own cause.

My CIU Fellowship was held under the title 'Terms of Engagement: Anthropology, Indigenous Lifeworlds and Resource Extraction in Papua New Guinea'. The Fellowship enabled me to fully immerse myself in a large, complex and multi-faceted project that has been developed as the story of encounters with the Ok Tedi mine have unfolded over the last decade. The project is also difficult in respect to the position it stakes in heated and polarized debates over academic ethics, environmental destruction and corporate hegemony. The Fellowship allowed me the space and time required to properly engage with my data, these debates and contexts, wider materials and the regional literature; whilst this kind of concentrated engagement is exactly what the project required, such an opportunity to freely dedicate oneself in this way is increasingly impossible in my wider commitments to projects and students.




Hideko Mitsui, University of Cambridge and University of Tokyo - 2010

While at the Centro, shortly after completing her doctoral studies, Hideko Mitsui worked on the idea of traitorhood and how it contributes to the formation of cosmopolitanism in Japan. This eventuated in an article in Social Anthropology 18(4)- "Longing for the Other: Traitors Cosmopolitanism"

Further details of Hideko Mitsui's project 

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