Ethnographic Aesthetics: Image, Sound, Word

Year of Funding: 
2015/2016
Birds flying above ocean

Ethnographic Aesthetics is a speaker series featuring innovators whose work in poetry, sound, and film expands the practice of ethnography through humanistic, sensory forms of knowing. Ethnography as a research method involves immersive, long-term participant observation within a particular community or form of sociality. Its practitioners typically record field notes that then serve as the basis for written accounts integrating description and analysis. What forms of knowledge, experience, and emotion are not adequately understood or conveyed through this model? Is the full range of social phenomena, including non-verbal, sensory interactions, effectively translated in a single-authored text? How can the craft of ethnography reflect the cultural aesthetics of the social worlds it aims to represent? 

The speakers in this series address these questions through longstanding commitments to alternative modes of creative and scholarly production. Their practice of antropoesía, acoustemology, and sensory ethnography provoke us to witness, remember, hear, see, and feel multiple dimensions of the human and natural world. Through formal presentations, paired with readings, sound installations, and film screenings, Ethnographic Aesthetics considers the rich, if often marginalized, history of ethnographic experimentation and offers possibilities for future fields of practice.

Sasha Welland (Anthropology and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies) will offer a one-credit microseminar during Winter Quarter 2016 in conjunction with the speaker series. It allows participants to delve more deeply into the works of the speakers through advance readings, screenings, listening sessions, and discussions. The speaker series and microseminar also prepare advanced undergraduate and graduate students for a new three-credit Ethnographic Studio course to be offered by Welland in spring 2016.

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Primary Contact

Sasha Welland (Anthropology and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies)

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