Professor Kenneth George
Visual and material culture; ethnography of lifeworlds and everyday life; anthropology of ethics; cultural politics; religion; violence; art; language; narrative; folklore.
Pragmatism; phenomenology; social theory; art history.
Island Southeast Asia; South Asia
Ken joined the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific in 2013 as Professor of Anthropology and Director of the School of Culture, History and Language, having served previously at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard University and the University of Oregon. He is a specialist on Southeast Asia and a Past Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies (2005-2008). His ethnographic research in Indonesia has focused on the cultural politics of minority ancestral religions (1982-1992), and more recently (1994-2008), on a long-term collaboration with painter A. D. Pirous, exploring the aesthetic, ethical, and political ambitions shaping Islamic art and art publics in that country. Ken has been the recipient of major postdoctoral fieldwork fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. His fellowships for writing and study include awards from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His current research projects are two: The first looks at the production of “companionable objects and “companionable conscience” in an effort to link artworks to ethics, affect, language, and public culture. Another involves a comparative look at early postcolonial artists in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and India, and aims at theoretical and disciplinary issues surrounding public culture and the anthropology of art and visual culture.