The Society for Cultural Anthropology is pleased to announce its thirteenth annual series of student-faculty workshops. These hands-on, small group workshops are a wonderful opportunity for current students to meet other students and work directly with leading scholars on a particular topic or theme. This year’s five sessions will proceed virtually from December 1–17, in parallel with the American Anthropological Association’s Raising Our Voices virtual workshops.
To generate lively and intimate conversations, each session is limited to six students. The workshops are free and open to all students studying anthropology—whether located in an anthropology department or not. However, some preference will be given to SCA members. (Graduate students who are already AAA members can join SCA, a section of AAA, for $20.) See below for the 2020 lineup and application details.
Decolonial Approaches to Speculative Genres
Facilitator: Priya Chandrasekaran (Hamilton College) and Dorinne Kondo (University of Southern California)
Date: Thursday, December 3, 7–9pm US Eastern (December 4, 9–11am JST)
This session builds from the previous SCA Fieldsites series Speculative Anthropologies to ask the place of decolonial worldbuilding, worldmaking practices, and speculative storytelling in responding and defining the present moment from various geohistorical positions. In particular, this workshop works to recenter BIPOC storytellers and artists for emerging speculative anthropologies. This workshop will be co-hosted by the SCA Contributing Editors Program and the Fragmentary Institute for Comparative Timelines (FICT), an initiative based at Osaka University. It will include a Q&A session and a collaborative “reading" list exercise to carry with us into 2021. We welcome graduate student participants who are interested in developing or are working to feature decolonial and speculative storytelling and practice in their work. We invite participants to reflect on how their recommended speculative works (genres which could include but are not limited to design, fiction, film, and performance), which will be added to a collaborative “reading” list, can help imagine and build anti-racist, anti-ableist, and decolonial possibilities, futures, and worlds. Faculty mentors will help participants discuss and cultivate this list and provide insights and guidance to graduate students on their own efforts and experiences addressing and engaging spaces of speculative storytelling and creativity in a Q&A session.
Facilitators: Anne-Maria Makhulu (Duke University) and Brendane Tynes (Columbia University)
Date: Wednesday, December 9, 12–2pm US Eastern
Citations are a key mechanism in the production of scholarly knowledge. Yet more than four decades of research led by Black feminist thinkers has reinforced that citation processes are inherently political; consistently marginalize voices deemed outside social sciences’ traditionally white, male majority canons; and therefore need concrete, ethical responses from scholars. This workshop asks: in an era of renewed movements struggling toward racial, gender, indigenous, and immigration justice, can anthropologists integrate calls for equity and inclusion into their everyday academic work? As one response, our hands-on session will develop a critical pedagogy then explore ways early career scholars can build and sustain critical citational practices in their anthropological research, writing, teaching, and action.
Facilitators: Todd Meyers (McGill University ) and Lisa Stevenson (McGill University)
Date: Thursday, December 10, 12–2pm US Eastern
The conversations in this workshop aim to explore the labors and conceptualizations of “repair” in anthropology. Whether the action of repair is directed at the human body or the folds of social relations or moves action onto molecular or planetary scales, we consider how repair might be conceived as something other than a return to a previous norm. The workshop will allow repair to churn kindred concepts—the wound, the rupture, the separation, and the whole—and will move between different topics and sites, from surgery and pharmacotherapy to representation, memory, and the archive. One point of departure will be the work of French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, whose sculptures and photographs return to repair (its promises and failings) again and again. The workshop will offer a chance to map the uneasy paths upon which new forms of living travel. Participants will be encouraged to send a 500-word prompt in advance to work through these issues and receive mentorship.
Anthropology and Its Publics
Facilitators: Jason Pine (SUNY Purchase) and Brian Goldstone (Duke University)
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 3–4:45pm US Eastern
In this workshop, we are interested in re-orienting our scholarship towards broader audiences, to create new alliances with the general public. We also journey into developing writing practices that could help us retrieve our singular perspectives and voices. Through these discussions, we aim to reassess what counts as a “theoretical” and anthropological contribution, and for whom. We set out to think through different writing approaches that could further question the genre distinctions between anthropology, creative nonfiction, and long-form journalism. The workshop format will be a low-stakes discussion with the faculty facilitators to discuss the aesthetics of writing, the authorial voice, the personal and political, and relevant projects graduate students are interested in undertaking as public scholarship.
Facilitators: Daniella Gandolfo (Wesleyan University) and Todd Ramón Ochoa (UNC Chapel Hill)
Date: Thursday, December 17, 1–3pm US Eastern
This workshop is particularly interested in exploring questions of craft and form by contemplating on the relationship between stories, writing, and what Daniella Gandolfo and Todd Ramón Ochoa describe as “ethnographic excess”—the work that is necessary for writing and yet “stands outside” the writing, or is incommensurate with the writing itself. Stories seem to overwhelm the ethnographic project, as much as make up its very core. As Gandolfo and Ochoa (2017, 187) ask, “do we know of a genre of writing that is so at odds with its lifeblood?” The crafting of stories is often at odds with formal ethnographic conventions in their capacity to host contradiction, wonder, opacity, and other features that defy the realist aesthetics of the social sciences and its inherent logics of instrumental reason and empirical verification. Through this workshop, we aim to work through these paradoxes surrounding the excess of stories, our ethnographic material, and writing.
Gandolfo, Daniella, and Todd Ramón Ochoa. 2017. "Ethnographic Excess." In Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing, edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean, 185–88. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
To be considered for a workshop, please fill out the brief application form by Wednesday, November 25:
You will be asked to supply a brief description (<2,000 characters) of your research project and its relation to the workshop theme. In addition, you are encouraged to articulate your specific interest in the workshop (<1,000 characters). Accepted participants will be notified by the end of November. We will solicit accessibility requests from accepted participants for all five sessions. Please note that participants may be asked to read one short text or complete similar preparation in advance of their workshop.
If you have any questions about the workshops, please email Paul Christians, SCA Student Representative, at [email protected].