AAA Student Faculty Workshops 2009

Society for Cultural Anthropology Student-Faculty Workshops AAA 2009 Philadelphia

Each year, the SCA sponsors five faculty-student workshop luncheons intended to provide an informal setting where students can discuss their work with scholars from other universities. A list of the workshops appears below.

The luncheon workshops are limited to six students each, and they take place in restaurants near the conference hotel. The workshops are free to all participants and are open to SCA student members at all levels of graduate training. Lunch is provided.

All workshops run from 12:15 to 1:30 to match the AAA's programmed lunch sessions.

To join one of these workshops, please submit a one-page description of no more than 250 words by November 4th about your research project. Participants are encouraged to include within the description specific questions about the project for the workshop leader or leaders and for the group as a whole to consider. In advance of the workshop, project descriptions will be shared among all participants.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis noting that:

1. the project descriptions are closely suited to the workshop themes;

2. students and workshop leaders are from different institutions; and

3. you are a member of the SCA. If you are not yet a member of the SCA, but would like to join at the modest student rate of $21 a year, which includes a full print subscription to the journal, Cultural Anthropology, you can do so easily on our website:

Please send your request to SCA's Student Representative, Mary Murrell (UC Berkeley) at Include your name, your university affiliation, the workshop you want to attend, and your one page-description. Please bear in mind that project descriptions longer than 250 words will not be considered.

Formal notice of participation will be sent out on November 11th.

Friday, December 4th

#1: Design and Fieldwork

Leader: George Marcus (UC Irvine) and Keith Murphy (UC Irvine)

Description: This workshop is interested in the expanding appeal of design thinking and processes as resources for rethinking long-established cultures of  inquiry in the human sciences. Specifically, we would like to explore the  various ways that ethnography and design interrelate. Most particularly, we are interested in the experiment of overlaying the terms of design techniques and practices—such as the studio, the crit, the cultural probe, and so forth—onto the conventions of ethnographic research,  in multi-sited terrains and in dissertation pedagogy.

#2: Anthropological Approaches to Mind and Brain Sciences

Leader: Emily Martin (New York U)

Description: I am interested in discussing projects that involve an anthropological approach to the mind and brain sciences. Topics could include the varied lives of psychiatric diagnoses in different cultural and   historical settings; neuroreductionisttendencies in research, their   media coverage, and their effects on concepts of the person; or the   historical stabilization of the human subject in the experimental   research practices of psychology and psychiatry. Methodological issues   could include how to find research sites; how to handle relationships   with interlocutors, whether patients, researchers, or physicians; how to include historical research in an ethnographic project.

Saturday, December 5th

#3: The State of Media: Revisiting Media and the State in the Digital Age

Co-leaders: Faye Ginsburg (New York U) and Brian Larkin (Barnard C)

Description: The place of the state has had an ambivalent position in the  anthropology of media, but is difficult to avoid  whether we focus  on Bollywood, or study practices that are under the radar of  mainstream media. How do we theorize the place of the state in the emergence of digital technologies, its capacity to  regulate media infrastructures, and the capacity of communities to control the circulation of their own imagery? From the  war on terror and the surveillance this demands, to the emergence of  activist groups, NGOs and religious movements outside of the state,  to the efforts  of governments to control the digital media these  groups use, to the efforts of people in remote areas to have  equality of access in the digitial age,  the place of the state  has  returned as an analytic focus for anthropologists. In this session  we will assess this focus, opening up questions about the state and  media in anthropological theory.

#4: Formations and Transformations of the State  

Leader: Fernando Coronil (CUNY)

Description: What is the state? What forms does it take indifferent places and   times? How to study its formation and transformation? What's the relationship between the modern state and capitalism? How to approach struggles to change the state?  How to think of the relationship between between emancipatory social change and state transformation? This workshop will discuss projects that in one way or another  approach these or related questions concerning the state.

#5: The Corporate Encounter   

Co-leaders:  Melissa Cefkin (IBM Research--Alameden) and  Melissa Fisher (Georgetown U).  

Description: An increasingly active intersection is occurring between ethnographic and anthropological work and the business sector, whether in strategic or organizational advising, product and technology design, marketing or the production of ethnographies on corporations and finance. What kind of effects does the study of the corporate world writ large have on anthropology – and the discipline’s interest in questions of culture, capitalism and power? What kinds of effects do such ethnographic inquires have on corporate enterprises?  What potential—disruptive, productive, reflective—does the injection of ethnographic imaginaries have for the efforts of business enterprises? And, what are the differences and similarities between conducting ethnographic work in collaboration with corporate enterprise, and producing ethnographies intended for a more academic / anthropological audience?