In 2015-16, the Division of Social Anthropology welcomed Dr Eduardo Dullo as a visiting Postdoc.
Before going to Cambridge, where I was planning to stay for one year, I did what any traveller should do: I asked those who had already been there what to expect. A former professor gave me some relevant advice: to be on time, as Brazilians have their own temporality, and to be careful to not fall into the trap of becoming an “academic tourist”. Initially I thought the former would be difficult, but the latter was the real challenge. What he meant – correctly – was that the amount of excellent daily events and activities in Cambridge are overwhelming and that any attempt to attend all, or most of them, could easily tempt a person down any number of research paths, so that they lose track of their own research goals. On the other hand, carefully deciding the ones to attend can transform this danger into a benefit. If I had to summarise my time at Cambridge, I would emphasize how much there is on offer as the CUSAS and Senior Seminars provided thought-provoking papers and debates in the Social Anthropology Division – to which I added a number of networks and reading groups.
Having studied previously in Brazil, the most significant impact this period in Cambridge had on my research and ideas was certainly this exposure to diverse discussions and high-level debates. Even if in National Museum in Rio, where I completed my Masters and PhD, we frequently receive international researchers and professors, Brazilians tend to keep a close focus on their own topics of research. Hence, when I arrived my concern was with the interplay of Christianity and secularism in Brazilian history (throughout 20th Century until the present); after a couple of months I was discovering new lines of arguments, including aspects that were understated in my previous analysis and I began to consider the possibility of a Latin American reverberation of what I believed, until then, to be nationally singular.
In Cambridge I was under the wing of Professor Joel Robbins, a most welcoming and generous host. In addition to the regular meetings with Professor Robbins and the friendly dialogue with PhD students, researchers and members of staff with whom I engaged, the creation of a comparative reading group with Dr. Anthony Pickles impacted my research and provided a stimulating, collegial atmosphere. During those months I had the opportunity not only to learn from a tradition that has a long interest in comparison, but also to take part in a new moment in which this tradition is rethinking itself and its methodology.
Being intellectually affected in unanticipated ways throughout my visiting period and broadening my subjects of interest to include the anthropology of ethics, performance and economy, I realised that this abundance of events is a great richness indeed and that a visit is never successful without transformation. Thus, to allow one’s scope of the research to be expanded by engagement with the Social Anthropology Division and what the whole University has to offer is the best focus a visitor can strive to maintain.
FAPESP postdoctoral Fellow at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Recently (2015) held a visiting position at the Social Anthropology Division of University of Cambridge and was selected as 2015 Fellow of the Institute of Critical Social Inquiry of the New School for Social Research (NY). Obtained his PhD (2013) in Social Anthropology at National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with CAPES and FAPERJ Scholarships. Will join the Social Anthropology Department, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) as a Lecturer next semester.