Panel: Disconnections

Michael Fisch, University of Chicago

Junko Kitanaka, Keio University

Shiho Satsuka, University of Toronto

Shunsuke Nozawa, Dartmouth College

This panel will think through the contemporary logic(s) and meanings of disconnection  from an anthropological perspective. In an era marked not only by an increased capacity for but also valorization of connectivity, what meanings, conditions, politics, and desires become wrapped up with disconnections that are either real or imagined? The panel will foreground the notion of disconnection vis-à-vis technological mediation, but will also consider disconnection in relation to a broad set of conditions and possibilities. Disconnection, for example, can refer to a physical condition as well as conceptual moment that may bespeak either an ideal or problematic state – sometimes both at the same time. It can refer as well to actual states or conditions of disconnectedness from infrastructure (the grid), institutional structures, or affective detachments from ideological belongings and/or social relations.

Overall, the aim is to evoke the notion of disconnection in relation to the possibilities it presents for new beginnings free from the determination of patterns of practice or received frameworks of understanding. At the same time, it is important to maintain awareness of the manner in which disconnection can mark an absence of practices of reciprocity and accountability that are vital to social life.