Issues related to the idea of regeneration have for long been discussed in anthropology, albeit under a variety of different headings and theories: myth of eternal return, entropy, purification rituals, generational class systems, crisis of presence, millenarianism, nativistic and revitalisation movements, apocalyptic narratives, eschatology and prophecy…. The idea of regeneration projects society towards a more desirable state, a transformation that is anyway rooted in the past. This feature is well exemplified by Next Generation EU — the crucial initiative that may determine the future existence of the European Union — or by the gadaa, the generation class system of the Oromo (Ethiopia) that is currently in full revival. Recurrence of the idea of regeneration and its resurgence at this covid 19 time lead to consider it as a universal rhetoric device, crucial for the cultural construction of the future at times of social crisis. Discourse and perceptions pre-figure values-based action, but the space between collective representations and social transformation is wide and tricky. We accordingly invite researchers to present ethnographic explorations from the XXI centuries, developed along either theoretical or applied perspectives:

1 – Regeneration as trope: building on rhetoric culture theory (Strecker and Tyler 2009), we invite to explore ways ‘regeneration’ is rhetorically constructed or used. Can it be considered a basic feature — capable to catalyse thinking and cultural processes along specific patterns — or is it a derived concept, itself constructed through other symbolic, rhetoric or oratory devises?

2 – Theories of time: regeneration can only be conceived in temporal framework. How does it link to circular or spiral conceptions of time (Megerssa and Kassam 2020), to anticipation or to other theories of the future (Poli 2017; Appadurai 2013)?

3 – Social transformation: what potential or capacity does ‘regeneration’ has to rearticulate/transform society, values, social relations? As engaged or committed anthropologists, what elements should we consider?

Appadurai, Arjun. 2013. The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition. London, New York: Verso books.

Gemetchu Megerssa and Aneesa Kassam. 2020 (2019). Sacred Knowledge Traditions of the Oromo of the Horn of Africa. Ethiopian edition. Finfinne and Durham: Fifth World Publications. ISBN 978-1-9161352-1-5.

Poli, Roberto. 2017. Introduction to anticipation studies. Dordrecht: Springer.

Strecker, Ivo and Stephen Tyler (eds.). 2009. Culture and Rhetoric. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.

The organisers are unable to provide travel funding. We are uncertain about covid-19 travel restrictions at the time of the conference. In order to facilitate international participation we will establish a remote zoom connection during the session.

To submit a paper proposal please send an email with a Word attachment including: maximum 400 words abstract, brief biographical sketch, institutional affiliation and contacts. Deadline: September 25th, 2021. Send the email by clicking on the dedicated field below (‘cliccando qui’), or use the following three email addresses:;;

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