ON THE BRINK – Anthropology Lecture Series 2024

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Professor Rentetzi gives a talk on the Nuclear Bunker as an Archive of the Future: On the Brink of Time as part of the Anthropology Lecture Series at the Chair of Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie mit Fokus Afrika, Universität Bayreuth. 30.4.2024 at 18:00-20:00.

Download the abstract here.

“For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone…”       

– “A Litany for Survival,” Audre Lorde (1978)


The “brink” is invoked to express expectation and trepidation, sentiments of being on the verge of dramatic change or interruption. To be on the brink of war, or on the brink of discovery, is to describe the impending arrival of possible futures. The brink can also indicate a margin or a border: the edge of a cup, the precipice of a cliff, the beginning of a life stage. It describes, too, as Lorde’s poem illustrates, moments of transition and transformation. The brink, therefore, calls attention to possibilities, places, and practices that deal with liminality, marginality, potentiality, and rupture.


“On The Brink,” the theme of the Anthropology Lecture Series 2024, invites talks that feature cutting-edge research, theoretical intervention, or methodological innovation in anthropology and its allied disciplines on topics that places us “on the brink.” These talks speak to unsettled environmental and political times, where the world appears to be on the brink of dire ecological change. Ongoing wars, new Global South alliances, and far-right movements are reconfiguring the global order of power. They are accompanied by rapid transformations in technology and artificial intelligence, that in turn upend discussions about race, sex, gender, and class. Experiences of marginality amidst rising inequality, migration, and ageing augur uncertain ruptures in society. These talks invite you to join us in asking: “What are we on the brink of?”