The Paragenealogical Method in the Anthropology of Rationalities

When and Where

Friday, October 21, 2022 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Ethnography Lab, AP 330
Anthropology Building
19 Ursula Franklin St.



"The Paragenealogical Method in the Anthropology of Rationalities                                                       
Since the Cold War, the concept of rationality has become increasingly
associated with certain formal models of logic and computation. This
talk offers a critical examination of computational rationality,
challenging the supposed universality of the formal models that have
come to define it. Instead of tracing the emergence of computational
rationality through a conventional Foucauldian genealogy, I propose a
“paragenealogical” method for doing so. Rather than following the
central actors who appear to have originated the currently predominant
models of rationality, a paragenealogy focuses on peripheral actors who
have imagined and developed unorthodox models that may have been
ignored, suppressed, or marginalized. To illustrate, I briefly discuss a
few historical and ethnographic case studies: nonclassical systems of
logic developed by Brazilian mathematicians, nonbinary models of
computation by Indian scientists, socialist frameworks of informatics by
Cuban librarians and scientists, and efforts to formalize poetic 

language and translation by Czech linguists and engineers."   


19 Ursula Franklin St.