Dear Fellow Humanistic Anthropologists, We are co-‐organizing a session for the AAA in Montreal and invite you to submit an abstract to us! ASAP, as we are trying to wrap up the lineup. Panel title: “Writing Ethnography: Experimenting on Paper, Experimenting Online.” Panel organizers and chairs: Sophia Balakian (U Illinois at Urbana-‐Champaign) and Alma Gottlieb (U Illinois at Urbana-‐Champaign) email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org What counts as “ethnographic writing”? Must it conform to the conventional guidelines for a scholarly article or monograph, or might it mix genres in unexpected ways? Can an anthropologist tell an anthropological story by braiding a narrative with a fiction writer, or following an informant across a landscape marked by a Google map? Following from anthropologists who have spent several decades reflecting on writing as a central part of their intellectual work, some anthropologists now look towards new possibilities (sometimes even radical ones) that challenge the notion of what anthropological writing might look like. In a moment marked by rapidly changing communications technologies, and urgent questions about the future of print publishing, the possibilities for the forms through which anthropologists can engage with their readers are undeniably, and excitingly, expanding. Our panel brings together anthropologists who are experimenting with new modes of writing—writing that shapes social theory and ethnography in new ways, and that extends anthropological work in new directions. These “papers” (though words need not be tied to paper) are inspired by the traces and legacies of innovative writers in anthropology’s past at the same time that they also interact with new technologies, blurred lines between academic disciplines and between literary genres, and continued interest in the fraught boundary between fiction and non-‐ fiction. If many anthropologists now think about their work more reflexively than did scholars of earlier generations, most anthropological texts nevertheless continue to follow scholarly conventions and guidelines (and for many excellent reasons). In this panel, we seek to explore new ways of “producing knowledge”-‐-‐through text and beyond. In producing experimental texts in anthropology, and reflecting on those products, the participants in this panel not only contribute to questions about writing, they also wrestle with the high stakes attached to the way we write, informing our identity as a discipline more generally. Attending to such experiments permits us to come to terms with the variety of new media now defining the quotidian experiences of increasing populations in the early 21st century; at the same time, it allows us to engage with the variety of options now
available to scholars as we endeavor to share our expertise with an expanding audience.
Published on Mar 13, 2011