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2005-2006 Events


May 11, 2006




12-1:30pm, 777 SST
Refunctioning Ethnography Redux
Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies

Bill Maurer and George Marcus reflect on the workshop series and discuss possibilities for charting new approaches to ethnography through collaborations between CGPACS and the Center for Ethnography at UC Irvine.

February 10-11, 2006

Ethnographic Experiments in the Anthropology of Biosecurity. Stephen Collier (New School), Andrew Lakoff (UCSD), and Paul Rabinow (UC Berkeley). James Faubion (Rice), discussant.

This workshop is intended to engage in conversation the three principal investigators of an ambitious, innovative enterprise in collaborative ethnographic research. The forms of ethnographic research are changing within the designs and ambitions of such collective projects. Our interest will be primarily to reflect upon and clarify changes in standard practices and techniques of ethnographic inquiry that this research group is improvizing as it launches its projects within the contemporary trend by government and private agencies of sponsoring research on biosecurity. This group is primarily interested what becomes of basic knowledge when research is sponsored under these auspices.

What is distinctive about this Laboratory is the attempt to conduct ethnography within a radically conceived notion of temporality where "the contemporary" defines a condition of dynamism in which structures and norms within familiar institutions and arrangements are in such flux that ethnography can no longer depend on the usual historical precedents and social theoretical framing concepts to launch it. What is required is a more radical derivation of the analytic apparatus of ethnography from working collaborations with subjects whose understandings of events and processes in which they are involved guide the adoption of an analytic apparatus of ethnography itself. Such an operation requires new ways of thinking about designing ethnography which is the challenge that this research group takes up in pursuing subjects through an understanding of contemporaneity that resists easy conceptual manipulation.

As a recurrent feature of this Center, this workshop will be the first of a planned series that engages and follows the course of initiatives which attempt to revive collective and collaborative contexts for projects of ethnography that still remain highly individualistic in execution.

  January 27-28, 2006

Refunctioning Ethnography: A Workshop on Qualitative Methodologies, Interdisciplinarity and the Professions

This workshop will explore the new functions ethnography has taken on in the study of contemporary cultural, social and technological transformations. Where ethnography previously referred solely to the in-depth participant-observation and description of a social or cultural formation in situ, ethnography more recently has involved multi-sited research on social and cultural milieux that transcend particular places and involve networks of expertise and knowledge linked through new communications technologies and flows of goods, people and ideas. Ethnographers often find the milieux they would study already analyzed, as it were, by experts within the fields under investigation. Ethnographic research on such fields – generally auto-analytical or auto-documentary arenas like bureaucracy, finance, science and the like – thus takes on the character of collaboration with one's subjects rather than empathetic rapport. Second, and implicit in the preceding observation, ethnography has become a tool in policy and professional fields, particularly those fields that seek to account for themselves through various qualitative forms of auto-documentation and audit.

Invited participants include Douglas Holmes (SUNY Binghamton), Christopher Kelty (Rice University), Hiro Miyazaki (Cornell University), and Annelise Riles (Cornell University)

Sponsored by the School of Social Sciences, the School of Social Ecology, the Paul Merage School of Business, the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies, the Center in Law, Society and Culture, and the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology

  October 23-24, 2005

Lively Capital 2.0: Ethnographic Method and Techno-Corporate Critique

This workshop will investigate methodological issues relating to the intersection of the life sciences and capital. “Lively Capital” refers to the ways in which the life sciences are literally incorporated into market regimes, as well as to the lively affects – the emotions and desires – at play when technologies and research impinge upon experiences of embodiment, kinship, identity, disability or citizenship. As a follow up to the first Lively Capital workshop, in which presenters explored how new legal, social, cultural and institutional mechanisms are regulating the global emergence of biotechnologies, this year’s workshop will focus on the relationship between the objects that constitute “Lively Capital” and ethnography as a method that can be used to trace and investigate these objects.

Sponsored by: the National Science Foundation, the Newkirk Center for Science and Society at UCI, the UC Humanities Research Institute, the UC Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and the Department of Anthropology, UC Irvine