News

Karen Waltorp will be a discussant for ‘feeling digital and reimagining fieldwork during COVID time’ - an online workshop to be conducted on 11 May, 2021 as part of "Reimagining fieldwork in the interconnected world: Ethnography-inspired digital strategies under the COVID-19 challenges," an international collaborative project funded by Universitas21 (U21) and hosted at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

"This experimental initiative is not another call for fieldworkers to simply “go online”, produce distant fieldwork, and overcome the “obstacles.” We start by questioning the promise of “digital” in human connection and understanding the implications of forced digital inclusions accelerated by COVID-19. From there, we reconstruct the imaginary of the fieldwork by opening up our body to feel digital, making our everyday engagement with digital technology a critical theatre of experimental performance. The workshop participants will conduct experimental fieldworks of “body theatres” through mediations of digital devices at the experiential level. These “body theatres” will be designed and coordinated by our coach Ms. Anna Cruz Benavidez (Anthropologist and Theater Director at the OTRO CUERPO, a Theater and Research company, Mexico)."

The deadline for application is Feb. 28, 2021 - apply for participation here!

May 2021

Savyasachi Anju Prabir's MA Visual Anthropology thesis 'MY ROOM AS A COSMOPOLIS – SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL THIRD SPACES' has been temporarily published with Cultureels Ethnographic Film Festival and is available online until the 25th of April.

The thesis is a textual and visual exploration of identity and belonging rooted in India and growing beyond South Asia. The thesis attempts to demystify concepts of post-coloniality – specifically looking at Homi Bhabha’s ‘third space’ theory – through a reflexive and auto-ethnographic lens. The thesis comments on topics of identity, belonging, kinship, culture and country as a means to merge the personal with the social and the political. The project will deconstruct everyday objects and interactions to emphasize the underlying socio-political dynamics. Through these dynamic and contrasting processes, the room in which the publication is drafted and edited becomes a portal to the world outside.

Apr 2021

Carla Rice, Eliza Chandler, Rana El Kadi, Margaret Lam, and Chelsea Jones will be co-presenting papers on a panel entitled "Living Online Through the Pandemic: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life" at the Society for Disability Studies conference on April 18, 2021. Register here.

The panel highlights several interdisciplinary projects supported through “Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life (BIT),” a 7-year long research grant that brings together 70+ community and academic organizations to cultivate disabled, d/Deaf, Mad, fat and aging art through a decolonizing and cripped lens. Our projects aim to foster, fortify, and study the effects/affects of the online community spaces that we co-create where disabled artists and audiences come together to make, experience and share disability arts and culture. Recognizing that our work takes place on Turtle Island or the land mass currently known as North America, we attend to digital divides as we extend our ongoing political commitment to decolonizing disability. This panel takes up intersectional experiences of access through technology, discussing disability community members’ struggles and emerging activist possibilities identified by some for the COVID-19 era and beyond. Across four presentations, we report on emerging virtual research, technologies, and digital platforms that have brought us together online. We explore ways that technologies are being mobilized by disability communities towards creative, emancipatory ends, while critically considering the limitations of these uses and locating them within structures of systemic, intersectional oppression. These papers root their understandings of access in disability studies concepts of  ‘critical access’ (Hamraie, 2017), ‘crip technoscience’ (Hamraie & Fritsch, 2018), and ‘techno-ableism’ (Shew, 2018), and present our new concept of ‘TechnoAccess’.

Apr 2021

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston's co-edited volume, 'In Search of Lost Futures Anthropological Explorations in Multimodality, Deep Interdisciplinarity, and Autoethnography' with Mark Auslander has recently been published with Palgrave Macmillan.

In Search of Lost Futures asks how imaginations might be activated through practices of autoethnography, multimodality, and deep interdisciplinarity—each of which has the power to break down methodological silos, cultivate novel research sensibilities, and inspire researchers to question what is known about ethnographic process, representation, reflexivity, audience, and intervention within and beyond the academy. By blurring the boundaries between the past, present, and future; between absence and presence; between the possible and the impossible; and between fantasy and reality, In Search of Lost Futures pushes the boundaries of ethnographic engagement. It reveals how researchers on the cutting edge of the discipline are studying absence and grief and employing street performance, museum exhibit, anticipation, or simulated reality to research and intervene in the possible, the impossible, and the uncertain.

Apr 2021

Rajat Nayyar has recently published his chapter entitled 'Staging Care: Dying, Death, and Possible Futures' in the volume In Search of Lost Futures: Anthropological Explorations in Multimodality, Deep Interdisciplinarity, and Autoethnography.

"This chapter is based on four years of fieldwork at Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan, a salvation home in Kashi (India’s holy city) that offers a devotional atmosphere to families seeking Moksha for their terminally ill and dying relatives. It explores the manner in which Hindu pilgrims and their families stage a distinctive politics-of-care, while they anticipate and create the possibility of Moksha for their dying relative. I examine collaborative audiovisual ethnography as it facilitates a performative space that allowed me and my interlocutor Shiv to try out different possibilities in anticipation of his mother’s Moksha. I argue that my collaborative audiovisual ethnography, as an embodied and intersubjective research practice, facilitated an activism that is grounded in care and staged as performances of the possible."

Apr 2021

Sarah Pink, Katalin Osz, Vaike Fors and Débora Lanzeni have recently co-published their chapter entitled 'Simulating and Trusting in Automated Futures: Anthropology and the Wizard of Oz' in the volume In Search of Lost FuturesAnthropological Explorations in Multimodality, Deep Interdisciplinarity, and Autoethnography.

"In this chapter, we present an experimental design anthropology that involves practical engagements with possible futures. We demonstrate this through the example of our interdisciplinary collaborative research into Wizard of Oz (WOz) simulation testing in the automotive industry, undertaken with designers, test leaders, and participants in Sweden. This experiment, in which participants are invited to drive a simulated autonomous driving car, therefore simulates a technological possibility that emerges as an experiential reality during the test. Thus, enabling our ethnographies of impossible experiences made possible through simulation. By productively contesting conventional anthropological temporalities and ethnographic modes, the test reveals new layers of the complexity of how (im)possible worlds might be constituted as interventional and experiential layers of design anthropological practice."

Apr 2021

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston has recently published her chapter entitled 'Absence, Magic, and Impossible Futures' in the volume In Search of Lost FuturesAnthropological Explorations in Multimodality, Deep Interdisciplinarity, and Autoethnography.

"This chapter, situated at the intersection of anthropology and performance studies, explores the role of absence in imaginings of the impossible future. A brief ethnographic memoir, it is based on the author’s experiences of grief following the death of her absent father. Weaving threads of the author’s diaries, field notes, and poetic prose with theoretical analysis, it discusses how the author’s search for her deceased father constituted a magical performance of absence, one that found a past that never was and sought a future that could not be. The author treats the ephemerality of absence as a lived affective materiality with the power to challenge our ways of knowing and call into question what we hold as presence and absence, memory and confabulation, reality and magic."


Apr 2021

Virginie Magnat has recently published her chapter entitled 'Impossible Ethnography: Tracking Colonial Encounters, Listening to Raised Voices, and Hearing Indigenous Sovereignty in the “New World”' in the volume In Search of Lost Futures: Anthropological Explorations in Multimodality, Deep Interdisciplinarity, and Autoethnography.

"My imaginary ethnography begins with a discussion of musicologist Gary Tomlinson’s investigation of the impact of Indigenous vocality on the experience of European explorers engaged in the “discovery” of what they considered to be the “New World.” I then place historical accounts, namely testimonies by European colonizers about their perception of Indigenous voices, in dialogue with theoretical texts by European philosophers whose work has significantly informed Western ways of thinking about language, speech, song, and music. Investigating past vocality hence provides an opportunity to radically reimagine ethnography and fieldwork beyond their discursive and spatio-temporal boundaries, which can be traced to the colonial legacy of anthropology."

Apr 2021

Karen Waltorp recently published her chapter entitled Isomorphic Articulations: Notes from collaborative film-work in an Afghan-Danish Film Collective in the volume Peripheral Methodologies: Unlearning, Not-knowing and Ethnographic Limits edited by Francisco Martínez, Lili Di Puppo and Martin Demant Frederiksen.

This chapter takes its point of departure in the ongoing research project 'ARTlife: Articulations of Life among Afghans in Denmark' and its experiments with co-generating spaces of articulation beyond the verbal and that which can be grasped within discourse. Working towards an interventional futures anthropology, Karen works with 'research-through-filmmaking', akin to 'research-though-design' approaches that acknowledge the interventional, and the researcher's entwinement with that which is researched. Karen unpacks the notions of 'collaboration' and 'workshop', pivotal in this project, and discusses how the circulation of images in social media concretely was part of the knowledge emerging between the members of collective. Karen argues that this allows for articulations of futures - different and beyond that which is delineated and foreclosed by the current political discourse - and engaging with debates about different possible futures and/or ideas for imagining better societies or socialities.

Apr 2021

Kayla Chambers will be doing a presentation-performance-project at the Forum of Original Theatre / Theory / Thought (FOOT) 2021 Conference on Thursday, Feb 25th. Registration is free, click here to attend. The FOOT is the annual graduate conference held by the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.

"I remember when our cells danced together

As a dancer—a social dancer—I am among those who have spent thousands of hours attuning to others— negotiating sound and space within the embodied dialogue of moving bodies. Through moment-by-moment connections with diverse others, social dancing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic contained scenes for relational negotiation of boundaries and radical world-making. In each dance, borders were blurred through sensing bodies—the intimate contact and coalescence of skin, breath, mirror neurons, and affect (Manning 2007).

In this presentation, as (social) dancer and frontline worker, I move and speak through questions of felt presence during COVID-19 physical distancing. As a researcher- artist-practitioner who understands bodies as key sites for meaning-making and transmission, what does it mean to reach across screens in digital time-space to dance with others? What happens in the spaces between sensing skin, sanitized and hypervigilant, under layers of PPE?"

Feb 2021

Alize Arican has published an article entitled '1237, or Dying Elsewhere' in the recent issue of Current Anthropology.

"A young Ghanaian man suffering from AIDS passes away in Istanbul, Turkey. Throughout his death and his funeral arrangements, we see the coming together and coming apart of communities, solidarities, and care. The events surrounding his passing reveal the stigmatization of migrant black bodies with AIDS in a country that denies racism as an issue within its boundaries. Discrimination and racism become entangled around non-Muslim and nonaffluent death. As an activist and anthropologist born and raised in Istanbul, I forge a posthumous intimacy with the young man as I help organize, participate in, and witness his burial. I write an essay addressing him, attempting to convey the effects his death invokes—an attempt by which I hope to animate others to think through and act on racialized death and migration."

Jan 2021

Shivani Karmarkar has published an article entitled "The Captivating Spiral of Time" reflecting on the fallacies and possibilities of time as a priceless commodity. Shivani reached out to people on the internet with a future-oriented survey to understand how they were adapting amidst the pandemic and economic uncertainty. She asks: What would the near future look like? How would we get there? And what would we do once we arrive? Read the article on Inter-Actions - a quarterly by Lila Foundation.

Dec 2020

Sanchit Toor has published an article entitled "Shangshar Bideshe: Navigating the Spiritual and Material Baazars" about his conversation with Parvathy Baul, a practitioner, performer, and teacher of the Baul tradition from Bengal, India. Sanchit asks about a Sadhika’s praxis of exchange amidst an increasingly capitalistic society. Parvathy Baul reflects on walking the path of Sadhana (spiritual practice) as a practitioner and teacher in today’s transient times. Read the article on Inter-Actions - a quarterly by Lila Foundation.

Dec 2020

Virginie Magnat invites you all to an online book launch and virtual gathering her monograph 'The Performative Power of Vocality' on Thursday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST.

Event hosted by the Centre For Mindful Engagement, University of British Columbia and Dr. Magnat will be joined by two special guests, Indigenous scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly and French scholar Dr. Nathalie Gauthard, who are members of the “Culture, Creativity, Health and Well-Being” Research Cluster co-led by Dr. Karen Raggonaden and Dr. Magnat.

Click here for more info and registration.

Dec 2020

Mary Bunch will be giving a talk entitled 'Extending Reality (XR) with Disability Worldmaking' at the Toronto Film and Media Seminar at 16:30 on October 23, 2020.

The question of who should or should not inhabit the world is a central problem in disability studies. In this paper I bring a new spin to this problem by asking how disability can extend reality through the creation of worlds in immersive storytelling. If the virtual is a force of existence, the question of who has access to platforms like virtual and augmented reality, and whose experiences, ontologies and epistemologies have currency in XR matters profoundly. In this paper I explore transformative worldmaking in “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness,”(Middleton and Spinney 2016)  a VR work based on the audio recordings of blind scholar John Hull. I examine the capacity of VR to exceed the hype of the ‘empathy machine,’  disrupting normative reality to create new possible worlds.

This event will be held on Zoom with ASL interpretation available. Please RSVP  to torontofilmandmediaseminar@gmail.com  with your name and institutional affiliation for the link and passcode.

Oct 2020

Alize Arican will be presenting a paper entitled "Figuring It Out in Tarlabasi, Istanbul" as part of the panel, "Politics and Anti-Politics of Care in Turkey" at the Middle East Studies Asssociation conference which will be held virtually on October 6, 2020.

In 2006, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party-led government designated Istanbul’s Tarlabasi neighborhood—popularly known and stigmatized as a hub of informality, illicit activity, immigrants, and minorities—as an urban transformation zone. Expropriations of property, evictions, demolitions, and the construction of Taksim 360, a luxury business and residential complex, followed soon after. Scholars and activists have often interpreted the beginnings of Taksim 360 as marking the failure of urban resistance in Tarlabasi. Accompanying the interlocutors to on streets, in living rooms, Ottoman archives, hospitals, and informal clinics, Alize shows that residents temporalize care by “figuring it out.” Instead of caring to get by in the present, they orchestrate multiple temporalities of pasts and presents to work towards an urban future, shaping the outcomes of urban transformation. And approaching practices of care through a temporal lens, Alize contends, elucidates new understandings of care, somewhere between altruism and pragmatism, with the potential to reconfigure urban politics.

Oct 2020

Maruša Levstek, the editor of Excursions Journal, is currently promoting a call for papers for their 2020/21 issue with a theme (Re)Connect. The upcoming issue invites researchers from all disciplines to (re)connect to the complex relationships between society, nature, things, science, and being human.

To connect is an integral part of the human experience. We are social, connected, beings. The unparalleled events of 2020 have made this even more evident --- they have forced us to disconnect from life as we knew it and to (re)connect to history, nature, people, ourselves, and forgotten practices. Submissions will also be considered for presentation at the Excursions Online Symposium with a goal to communicate published research to a wider audience through the use of creative arts, which is an incredible opportunity for social engagement. Please submit your extended abstract (or full manuscript) by 1st October 2020 here.

Oct 2020

Aadita Chaudhury will be participating in UNIDEE and Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto Residency on the theme: "Embedded Arts Practice in a Post-pandemic Future" (Sept - Nov 2020).

The global Coronavirus pandemic is an event that had created new conditions for arts and culture. Those who wish to effect social change through their practice are left with questions: "What can we do from here?" and "What future can we help to build?”. The residency aims to collectively and collaboratively address key questions, challenges and themes in the area of embedded and socially engaged art practice. Through the lens of a "post pandemic" future, participants will gain practical and theoretical knowledge that they can then apply in both the postindustrial context of Biella and their own locale. Over ten weeks from September to November 2020, the residency will provide time and space for practitioners and thinkers from a range of backgrounds to collectively and collaboratively address key questions and challenges for embedded and socially engaged art practice in the unfolding context of a post-virus world.

Sep 2020

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston has recently published a chapter Pedagogies of the Imagination: Toward a New Performative Politics in the volume Experiential and Performative Anthropology in the Classroom: Engaging the Legacy of Edith and Victor Turner edited by Pamela R. Frese and Susan Brownell.

The chapter examines performance ethnography as an approach to a critical pedagogy concerned with social justice, and one that meshes well with a reliance on embodied improvisation. This is a research practice that uses performance not only to represent and communicate research findings but also to conduct research, by approaching performance itself as an ethnographic process.

Aug 2020

Celeste Pang took up a collaborative project Speculating Pandemic, with 14 people from across academic disciplines to explore ways in which speculative fiction might become not only a resource for imagining alternative worlds, but also a medium for remaking our presence in this world.

The collaborative project, an international media monitoring of COVID-19 events and responses through May-July 2020, took up this orientation of speculation to think critically about the intersections of pandemic and radical social transformations occurring now, and what future(s) we may hold and imagine. Each group member monitored a distinct media source to capture together COVID-19 related events and responses, and to enable us to think through how the pandemic resonates with the particular geo-histories we explore in our regular academic work.

Aug 2020

Debashis Sinha will be participating in the upcoming European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference and will present at the Lab10 "Rubbish, noise, experimentations: new afterlives of field recordings". The lab proposes to work on and think about new afterlives for anthropologists' sound recordings. By focussing on the figural excesses, technological deficiencies, or analytical uselessness of these objects, the lab participants collaboratively envision and bring about novel purposes for them. In an approach that is sensitive to the media-technical material conditions of our recordings, this lab proposes to listen to and tinker with field recordings, paying particular attention to the kind of "figural excess" (Pinney 2005) contained in fieldwork recordings.

Register for the conference here: easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/

Jul 2020

Johannes Sjöberg will be convening the panel (121) 'Filming Futures: ethnographic film and future-making in critical contexts' [FAN and VANEASA] at the upcoming 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) biennial conference on Friday 24 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45.

This joint FAN and VANEASA panel will bring together scholars interested in ethnographic film methods engaging with research on futures and future-making. We invite participants to show ethnographic film clips of their own and others' as part of their papers, to spark critical discussion.

Register for the conference here: easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/

Jul 2020

Alize Arican will be presenting her research paper “Behind the Scaffolding in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul: Manipulations of Time, Delays, and Power” in the roundtable “Contested times of urban expertise” at the upcoming 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) biennial conference on Friday 24 July, 14:00-15:45.

In Taksim 360, Istanbul's first and imminently ongoing urban transformation project, delays are the crucial means through which power works among construction experts and politicians. Alize argues that delays are the modus operandi of urban expertise rather than signs of its failures.

Register for the conference here: easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/

Jul 2020

Savyasachi Anju Prabir will be presenting his research “Breaking the Reflexive Glass to Shards of Knowledge and Truth” in the panel 082 “New Horizons for Anthropological Authorship: Co-creation and the Production of Knowledge in Times of Global Change” at the upcoming 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) biennial conference on Tuesday 21 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45. This panel will consider co-creation as a possible ethical framework for producing knowledge capable of reckoning the politics of visual representation and historical narration in times of global crisis.

Savyasachi's work-in-progress film will also be screened in the "Field/Works. Kaleidoscopic activities between anthropology and art" - AntArt Exhibition Project on Monday  20 July, 19:00 onwards.

Register for the conference here: easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/

Jul 2020

Shannon Hughes will be facilitating a virtual puppet camp for youth July 13th to 18th, 2020 as an artistically motivated social intervention. For the Love of Georgian Bay is a drama camp for the environmentally concerned. It uses puppet making and storytelling to both educate and protest the proposed construction of an enormous Hydro-electric plant on the shores of Georgian Bay.

Through storytelling, puppet making, and theatre training, the camp brings together theatre and environmental activism to say NO to TCE. Following a week of Puppet making, puppets will be led around town in a celebration of the Bay and as a theatrical protest against the proposed plant. The ‘sidewalk’ parade will adhere to all COVID19 related social distancing protocols and the route/logistics will be determined with health and safety as the primary concern. This parade will take place on Saturday July 18th, 2020 (tentative 11 am – 12 pm) in Meaford, Ontario (the planned location of the plant).

For more information or to volunteer to help with puppet designs or musical additions please email shaneh79@yorku.ca or click here.

Jul 2020

Rajat Nayyar will be presenting his research paper entitled “Women’s Vocality, Radical Sociality & Audiovisual Ethnography in Rural India” at the upcoming 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference online from July 21-24, 2020. The presentation will be part of the Futures Anthropology Network (FAN) panel “Futures Anthropology as Interventional Theory and Practice.” 

Rajat will analyze the theory and practice of an audio-visual ethnography that constituted new futures through women’s radically imagined vocalities and socialities. Such possibilities for interaction, place-making, filmmaking/digital archiving, and future-making directly complicate the restrictions that colonial, patriarchal, social reform, and Hindu nationalist movements have placed on the public performances of women and lower-caste people in India.

Register for the conference here: easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/


Jul 2020

Justine Conte will be presenting her research paper entitled “Performing Collective Imagination through Confessional Storytelling” at the upcoming 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference online from July 21-24, 2020. The presentation will be part of the PechaKucha panel “Collaborative Futures in Practice: Methods and Pedagogies for Imagining and Doing Anthropology Together.”

This paper examines the act of sharing personal histories through a lens of felt experience. It considers how memories of the past can shape futures, and how making this a collective practice facilitates an empathetic consideration of others and the possibility of imagining collective futures.

Register for the conference here: easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/


Jul 2020

Sanita Fejzić recently published a children’s story called “(M)other.”

The Embassy of France in Canada hosted an online reading of the French translation, “Mère(s) et monde,” over Facebook Live at 1 pm E.S.T. on June 18, 2020. The French translation was done by twice Governor General nominated poet and translator, Sylvie Nicolas.

From the delivery room to the classroom, a woman whose motherhood is questioned explains: her son doesn’t have a father, but he’s got two moms. She is the other mother. A (m)other, but there was only room for one on the birth certificate. In the minds of some adults and kids, however, a father figure must be found. Adapted from a 2018 CBC Poetry Prize shortlisted poem, this book tells, with tenderness and accuracy, the difficulties that homoparental families face in being accepted for who they are: loving families.

Jun 2020

Debashis Sinha is offering an online masterclass in sound design called  “The Hidden Considerations of Sound in Theatre” through the National Theatre School of Canada. All 13 videos in this online series are available here for free until June 30, 2020.

"As sound designers, we listen. We parse and understand our environment with an attention that is hidden but fierce. We take apart the layers of sound present in the most mundane of moments, find in them small quietudes that tell a larger story. We can take the space of the story, take the smallest quiet rustle and make it a roar, or place it forward, or back, or behind a wall. We can take it and slow it down, speed it up, raise or lower it in pitch, and make the story something else, something more."

This masterclass looks at the totality of the sound designer’s world, the ephemeral elements of the design process that often are overlooked or elided in the visceral rush of executing a sound design for a stage production.

https://ent-nts.ca/en/art-apart-class-periphery-of-the-sound-designer-world

Jun 2020

Rana El Kadi has published a chapter entitled “Free Improvised Music in Postwar Beirut: Differential Sounds, Intersectarian Collaborations, and Critical Collective Memory” in an edited volume called “Playing for Keeps: Improvisation in the Aftermath of Crisis.”

Based on an ethnographic study of free improvised music in Beirut, Lebanon, this chapter discusses the emergence of a differential improvisatory practice that is deeply rooted in a struggle with three layers of “crisis”: colonialism, sectarianism, and civil war. The chapter argues that free improvised music allows three key Lebanese musicians to transcend the violence of sectarian identity by providing a neutral ground for the sonic encounter of difference. The co-creative and generative nature of free improvisation further enables these musicians to interrogate local histories of inter-sectarian violence, deconstruct collective memory of civil war, and critically engage with contemporary socio-political realities. The chapter concludes that improvisation in this context emerges as a powerful tool for surviving crisis and imagining a functional post-sectarian society.


Apr 2020