Prof. Dr. Michi Knecht

Prof. Dr. Michi Knecht

As part of the team of spokespersons of the new Research Training Group, I would like to welcome you together with Ingo H. Warnke to our new homepage (still under development). I am Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology here at U Bremen, co-editor of the blog “DCNtR – Decolonizing Collections – Networking towards Relationality” (boasblogs.org/) and co-founder of the “Bremen NatureCultures Labs (BNCL)”: naturenkulturen.de). Together with Ingo H. Warnke I am also spokesperson of the interdisciplinary research platform “Worlds of Contradiction” (www.woc.uni-bremen.de/).

Methodologically and theoretically, my work is situated in the context of practice theories and of STS (Social Studies of Sciences and Technologies). I am a passionate ethnographer. The RTF could be a special place for joint research: a kind of incubator that constantly generates new ideas and formats (even contradictory ones!). A kind of bridge between the humanities, social sciences, and law, as well as into different public spheres. And an instance of critical translation and questioning of ways of thinking and concepts. In order to adequately reflect the possibilities, limits and futures of very different people and societies in an increasingly interconnected world, the knowledge histories of our disciplines need to be re-examined and further developed. For me, Contradiction Studies therefore form a starting point for the cosmopolitization and decolonization of the humanities, the social sciences and law.

My own research aims at the connections between knowledge practices and social and political forms. I have investigated such connections in the field of reproductive technologies and new kinship, in religious-political movements, in the context of poverty, and in relation to the transformation of regimes of anonymity. Currently, I am concerned with unrequited reciprocity and object-extractivism in the confrontation of Pacific gift societies with German colonialism.  I am looking forward to project proposals that ethnographically explore diverse constellations of contradiction, non-contradiction, and worlds full of contradictions in any of the problem zones of the contemporary. These can be, but do not have to be, projects in the fields of an anthropology of sciences and knowledge, projects on (postcolonial) naturecultres, on current museum debates, or projects that propose new methodologidal ways – ethnographically, collaboratively and experimentally.

limits

“Resistance is a democratic right, sometimes a duty. With literature we can find models for this right and think about its limits.”

Gisela Febel
idea of democratic critique

“If you think that acts of contradicting someone always need to point to better solutions, you haven’t really understood the idea of democratic critique.”

Martin Nonhoff
ideal of a contradiction-free world

“Science has long been animated by the ideal of a contradiction-free world in which logical orders could merge with society, politics, culture and language. In the GRC Contradiction Studies we are working on ways of describing the multiplicity and complexity, the danger and beauty of our worlds that clearly go beyond concepts of freedom from contradiction.”

Michi Knecht
space

“According to Niklas Luhmann, space is a ‘special facility to negate contradictions’”.

Julia Lossau
problem to be solved

“Contradiction is not primarily a problem to be solved but a motor we cannot do without.”

Martin Nonhoff