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Andreas Bandak

As It Were: Narrative Struggles, Historiopraxy, and the Stakes of the Future in the Documentation of the Syrian Uprising

Friday, April 26, 2024, 12:30–1:50pm

Foster 107

Join us for a workshop to discuss Andreas Bandak’s paper “As It Were: Narrative Struggles, Historiopraxy, and the Stakes of the Future in the Documentation of the Syrian Uprising.” Lunch will be served. A link to Bandak’s paper will be circulated to all registrants in their confirmation email.

In this paper, I consider the struggle over narrative, which now takes place as seen in relation to the bourgeoning production of Syrian documentaries but which also has been evident in the production of Syrian TV serials. My central concern is to unravel the changing registers of historical experience and the narrative efforts placed in keeping particular pasts alive in order to make way for the future. Inspired by Simon Coleman, I reflect on this as a particular form of historiopraxy (2011), which rearranges and reorders experiences as they oscillate between the singular and the collective, the particular and the generic in the wake of violence and atrocities on a massive scale. As a central trope, I consider the wording “as it were.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “as it were” sometimes is used after a figurative or unusual expression. “As it were” in this sense may not just point to how things actually were but also to how they potentially could be. This play between actuality, factuality and potentiality is critical for the work on the past both in the aftermath of severe crisis and tragedy but also in any ordinary sense.


Andreas Bandak is Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Comparative Culture Studies in the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He specializes in the themes of temporality and exemplarity and in anthropological studies of Syrian pasts and futures. He is the author of Exemplary Life: Modelling Sainthood in Christian Syria (Toronto, 2022) and has edited several volumes, including Ethnographies of Waiting: Doubt, Hope and Uncertainty (Bloomsbury, 2018), and most recently Porous Becomings: Anthropological Engagements with Michel Serres (Duke, 2024). He has conducted research in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

This event is free and open to the public, and registration is required. Please email us at  if you require any accommodations to enable your full participation.