Symposium and Workshop: Global Ethnography 100 Years After the Argonauts

Time

2.6.2022 at 10.30 - 3.6.2022 at 17.00
For over a century, ethnographic fieldwork has been anthropology’s key method. Ideally, it has entailed long-term living and participating in the community under study far from the anthropologist’s home. In 1922, Bronislaw Malinowski’s Argonauts of the Western Pacific, a seminal ethnographywas published, inspiring many in the discipline with its holistic analysis of Trobriand Islanders in the Pacific, establishing an ideal for immersive anthropological research in the 20th century.

In recent decades, the ideals of ethnography have fluctuated. Malinowski’s methods and problematic positionality have been criticized, as have ethnographic fieldwork, anthropology, and study of cultures in general. Problems of subjectivity and fictionality as well as colonial attitudes and imbalanced power dynamics have been discussed and debated. Moreover, the requirement for long-term fieldwork has posed a significant practical and resource challenge for researchers. The hegemonic position of Anglo-American anthropology has also raised worries about the homogeneity of the anthropological scope.

Malinowski’s Argonauts celebrates its 100th anniversary, making it an apt milestone to examine anthropology’s traditional fieldwork ideals and inspect current ways of doing ethnography. The symposium asks which elements of Malinowskian fieldwork are still useful to scholars, and in which ways have the diversification and globalization of the study of cultures as well as the ethnographic gaze questioned and altered the canon of fieldwork? In the symposium, contemporary ethnographic topics and settings, methodological initiatives and questions of decolonization dealt with by contemporary ethnographic research – or those that it should deal with – are discussed.

The symposium (on Day 1) presents a keynote lecture, three invited talks, and a round table discussion. The workshop (on Day 2) provides 6–12 early-career scholars (PhD researchers & early-career researchers) an opportunity to reflect on their research in light of the symposium themes (see below for CFP).

The symposium is open for public and free of charge, but registration is required by 18.5. for coffee, refreshments and an optional dinner which is at the participants’ own cost at https://link.webropolsurveys.com/S/E0A3D3F0B618A53A. The symposium will be streamed live, and the video recording will be made public after the event on the SAS website. The workshop is not open to the public.

Additional information

Jukka Jouhki