Category Archives: Conference CFP’s

After the field: unboxing digital methods and producing data in digital anthropology

Roundtable Call for Discussants

American Anthropological Association 2016
November 16-20
Minneapolis, MN

Please contact Nadia Elmrabet at elmrabet.nadia@gmail.com about participating in this roundtable.

Deadline April 12, 2016

After the field: unboxing digital methods and producing data in digital anthropology

Organizer: Nadia Elmrabet (University College London)

This “debriefing” roundtable session sets out to give a platform to share and discuss ethnographic methods, strategies, tactics, ways of studying digital practices and the question of data.

Whether it is through the prism of “big”, “thick”, “small”, “composite”, “rough”, “elusive”, “incomplete” data, the various ways in which we engage with the study of the digital is a buoyant arena where innovation is key. We invite people returning from the field – whether from academia or elsewhere – to come and debrief on “field-proofed” applied methods. From the identification, unearthing,  labeling, manipulation, production, re-use of users’ data to “guerilla”, ad hoc assemblage, “low tech”, automatized, computerized, algorithmic methods, how do we gather, produce, curate, make sense of one’s reality?

Are we witnessing a switch from “cyber”, “virtual” studies generating ethnographies in the screen to a more “embedded, embodied and everyday” (Hine, 2015) approach of digital phenomena? As the pervasive production and relation of people to an algorithmic, data-intensive environment continues to produce new objects and practices to study, how can we and how do we go about a process of “depunctualisation” (Latour) to understand what these data represent and how do people relate to them?

Do we need with urgency a more technical and specialized competence in the study of digital data? Is there a place for discovery, serendipity and “bricolage” in user research in the age of big data?

Other questions participants may address is the messiness of a “predictably unpredictable world” (this year’s AAA theme) in use of data in ethnography, the various rapports with truth and representativity at the core of concepts of data, or how we bridge gaps in knowledge and with informants through innovative use of technology before, during and after fieldwork.

Another point of interest in this debriefing discussion would be the ethics of data methods: the ethics procedure (diverse and sometimes institution-specific), the ethical assumptions and implications of ways in which we define data (for example, data as part of an individual’s body in the case of automatized medical data or using using public media productions on social media or forums)…

We invite abstracts of contributors having returned from the field or proposing a fresh outlook on digital methods, studying digital life, digital anthropology, and ethnography in diverse settings to join us. Please submit an abstract (250 words max.) to the panel organizers by April 12th to Nadia Elmrabet at elmrabet.nadia@gmail.com

Call for Proposals: Celebrating Communities of Practice in Digital Humanities

Call for Proposals:

Celebrating Communities of Practice in Digital Humanities

Digital Frontiers 2016

In celebration of its Fifth Anniversary, Digital Frontiers invites members of the digital humanities community to submit proposals sharing their passions as they engage in digital endeavors.  Proposals that discuss how digital researchers situate themselves within this community of practice will be especially welcomed.

We encourage contributions from anyone who creates or uses digital collections or tools for humanities work, including scholars, educators, genealogists, archivists, technologists, librarians, and students. We welcome submissions from local and regional historical and genealogical societies, and anyone working in the public humanities to help us serve the  community of practice with which Digital Frontiers identifies.

Digital Frontiers 2016 is September 22-24, 2016 at Rice University in Houston, hosted by Rice University’s Fondren Library and the Humanities Research Center, with sponsorship from the Association for Computers and the Humanities.

For complete submission guidelines, view the Call for Proposals.

Deadline: April 15, 2016

Submit proposals online via our Open Conference Systems site.

Digital Anthropology at 14th EASA Conference

In this post I am going to provide an overview about those panels at the 14th EASA Biennial Conference entitled “Anthropological legacies and human futures” (Milan, Italy, 20-23 July 2016) which deal with digital media technologies and related issues. This also offers some insight into digital anthropology related research in the European context which in many cases is closely connected with visual and media anthropology.
If you are interested to participate to one of those panels, please keep in mind that the deadline for paper abstract submissions is 15 February and that you have to be member of EASA.

Panels are listed in order of appearance on the conference website.

Producing and transmitting knowledge audio- and/or visually [VANEASA]

Beate Engelbrecht (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
Felicia Hughes-Freeland (SOAS)

Visual anthropologists explore economic, religious and other kinds of social processes audio-visually. They produce audio-visual documents, they analyse subject-generated ones and engage in collaborative projects. What do they contribute to the creation and transmission of anthropological knowledge?

Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns [Media Anthropology Network]

Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
John Postill (RMIT University)
Elisenda Ardèvol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

The EASA Media Anthropology Network panel seeks to put fundamental concerns of media anthropology, such as the mediation of power, media related forms of production and consumption, the relationship between media and religion, and the mediation of knowledge, back into the centre of attention.

Technologies, bodies and identities on the move: Migration in the modern electronic technoscape

Karen Fog Olwig (University of Copenhagen)
Heather Horst (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

Since Appadurai coined the term “technoscape” electronic technologies of communication and information have developed at a rapid pace. The panel examines how this complex technoscape of cell phones, social media, GPS-systems and biometric technologies shapes and is shaped by human movement.

Impact and localization of international knowledge regimes

Birgit Bräuchler (Monash University)
Sabine Mannitz (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt)

The panel looks at international knowledge regimes as they evolved around issues such as human rights, citizenship, indigeneity, peacebuilding, security or new media technologies. It puts a special focus on their national and local adoption and emerging hierarchies of knowledge and power.

Digital Media Cultures and Extreme Speech

Sahana Udupa (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
Matti Pohjonen (Dublin City University (DCU))

The panel examines the significance of “extreme speech” in digital cultures across the world and its cultural, social and political implications.

Kinship – taking stock in the light of social media

Elisabetta Costa (British Institute at Ankara (BIAA))
Razvan Nicolescu (University College London)

The panel discusses the place of kinship in the light of the ways people create and maintain personal relationships and networks using social media. It explores kinship in direct juxtaposition with other networks such as ‘traditional’ friendship and ‘online’ only friendship.

Reassembling the visual: from visual legacies to digital futures [VANEASA]

Catarina Alves Costa (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Roger Canals (University of Barcelona)

Since its beginnings, Anthropology has taken an interest in visuality. Still, this has not produced any unified field of research but rather a multiplicity of areas seen as disconnected. This panel welcomes researches aiming to integrate different aspects of the visual in anthropology.

The art of slowing down

Giulia Battaglia (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3)
Jasmin Kashanipour (University of Vienna)

Slowness needs protection” (Eriksen 2001). Yet, does anthropology encourage ‘slowness’ in its own practice? We encourage reflections around the neoliberal politics of speed and the notion of ‘slowing down’ as a useful practice to re-vitalise anthropological legacies towards a more engaging future.

The impact of images: knowledge, circulation and contested ways of seeing [VANEASA]

Helena Wulff (Stockholm University)
Thomas Fillitz (University of Vienna)

Building on the legacy of visual research in anthropology, this panel explores the explosion of images in social life from photographs to selfies, posters, the arts and hypermedia in relation to knowledge production, circulation and contestation including methods, the market, aesthetics and ethics.

Skilled Engagements [VANEASA]

Cristina Grasseni (Utrecht University)
Rupert Cox (Manchester University)

We explore the notion of ‘engagement’ in terms of the skilled application of the senses and of media, building on the ethnographic study of apprenticeship as a primary mode of ‘enskilment’. Papers should critically investigate technology and the evidential power of media making.

Public and Private Redrawn: Geosocial Sex and the Offline [ENQA]

Matthew McGuire (Cambridge)
Michael Connors Jackman (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

This panel will explore in a global context the reconstitution by geosocial cruising technologies of two sets of oppositions-online/offline and public/private- to deal with the co-constitution of sexual lifeworlds at the interface of geosociality and physicality.

Breaking Futures: Imaginative (Re)visions of Time

We are issuing a Call for Proposals for scholarly and creative submissions for an international, interdisciplinary graduate student conference entitled “Breaking Futures: Imaginative (Re)visions of Time,” to be held at Indiana University, Bloomington on March 26-28, 2015. Join us for the 13th annual conference hosted by the graduate students of the IU Department of English.

Conceptualizations of the future can simultaneously direct and disrupt the way we live, work, and plan for what’s next. “Breaking Futures” invites scholars from the humanities, sciences,education, law, and public health to explore the diverse meanings of the future across texts, methodologies, and time periods. How do some futures “break” by intruding on the present? How are others “broken:” interrupted, reformed, or altogether destroyed? Why do some futures disappear while others become ubiquitous? What generates our expectations, fears, and hopes about the future, and how do these affects change over time? How do genre, discipline, and methodology impact representations of, expectations for, and prescience regarding the future?What do local, national, and global futures look like from the vantage point of higher education’s shifting landscape?

We invite proposals for individual papers as well as panels organized by topic. We also welcome the interaction of scholarly and creative work within papers or panels.

Please submit (both as an attachment AND in the body of the email) an abstract of no more than 250 words along with a few personal details (name, institutional affiliation, degree level, email, and phone number) by December 15th, 2014, to iugradconference@gmail.com. Below are some suggestions for possible topics affiliated with our conference theme. This list is by no means exhaustive, and we welcome submissions engaged with other subject matters.

  • Futurescapes
  • Biological & environmental futurism
  • Deep time
  • The longue durée
  • The anthropocene
  • Periodization and periodic/epistemic breaks
  • Post-raciality/black pessimism
  • Afrofuturism
  • Queer futurity
  • Disabled futurity & crip time
  • Reproductive futurity
  • Techno-futurism
  • Transhumanism
  • Post-feminism/structuralism/colonialism/modernism/humanism/gender
  • Science fiction & cyberpunk
  • Retrofuturism
  • Memory & dreams
  • Eschatology
  • Premeditation
  • Political revolution & reform
  • Monumentalization
  • Social-scientific projection & mathematical modeling
  • The future of the university
  • STEM to STEAM

Studying With: Relation and method in the technoscientific field

Studying With: Relation and method in the technoscientific field

Since Laura Nader (1972) suggested that anthropologists turn their attention “up,” using the ethnographic gaze to bring powerful informants down to size, the anthropology of expertise has been entwined with concerns about the politics of method. The anthropology of scientists, engineers and other experts raises new forms of classic methodological questions: How should we understand the relationship between explanations offered by anthropologists and those offered by their interlocutors? How should ethnographers respond to the practical, political, and epistemic problems raised by the idea that our role is to explain what is “really” going on? Anthropologists have proposed a variety of concepts to address these questions, from “polymorphous engagement” (Gusterson 1997), to “lateral reason” (Maurer 2005) and “collateral knowledge” (Riles 2011), to the “found para-ethnographic” (Holmes and Marcus 2005).

Following this year’s call to “examine the truths we encounter, produce and communicate through anthropological theories and methods,” this panel brings together a set of researchers engaged with the practical and conceptual difficulty of studying technoscientific knowledge practices ethnographically. When engineers claim anthropological objects like “culture” as their own, when fieldwork may involve traveling just across campus, or when access hinges on convincing interlocutors of the commercial merit of ethnography, anthropology’s trademark reflexivity and charitable interpretations face new challenges. Drawing on recent and ongoing fieldwork experiences, these papers propose and explore novel modes of relation between the knowledge practices of anthropologists and those they study, building on work in the anthropology of expertise and science and technology studies.

We are looking for one or two papers to round out the panel. If you are interested in joining us, please reply to nseaver@uci.edu expressing your interest by this Friday, April 11th.

Producing Design: Ethnographies of Inequality and Difference in Digital Technologies

Producing Design: Ethnographies of Inequality and Difference in Digital Technologies
Organizers: Jordan Kraemer (UC Irvine/UC Berkeley) and Angela VandenBroek (Binghamton University, SUNY)

Please contact us if you’re interested in participating, and send proposed abstracts of 250 words to Jordan (jordan@jordankraemer.com) on or by April 7.

Technology companies have long been attentive to interface and interaction design, and are increasingly focused on “user experience,” that is, how humans interact with computing devices, products, and other humans. Although ethnographic and other qualitative research methods are now commonplace in corporate and design settings, fewer anthropological studies examine technology design (broadly conceived) in constructing inequality and cultural difference. With the current 2010s tech boom, startups and established companies alike are generating a profusion of new applications, hardware, architectures, and systems. Many of these will be implemented in diverse settings around the globe, albeit in uneven ways. This panel brings together anthropological studies of this unevenness, to address cultural inequalities in user interface and technology design. Recent commentators in the media, for example, have pointed out that tech innovators in places like Silicon Valley design platforms and services mainly for urban elites, like themselves often young, white, male, and technically savvy. Scholarly critics, moreover, seek to trouble utopian visions of technology diffusion by calling attention to the complexity of relations between tech companies, developers and designers, users, states, institutions, and material infrastructures (e.g., Morozov 2011; also Star 1999)—even as these actors often overlap.

Anthropologists and scholars in related fields have studied design and designers for some time, and have contributed to the development of design practices (e.g., Drazin 2012; Suchman 2011). Others focus on emerging forms of digital labor (Ross et al. 2010), especially in relation to value. In this panel, we investigate different ways emerging technologies and their design depend on culturally and geographically specific norms that inform interaction design, to contribute to an ongoing anthropology of design in digital contexts. How does design, especially user interface design, shape experiences of sociality, mobility, personhood, affect, value, or labor? How do designers and users (often the same people) contend with affordances and accommodations of interfaces conceived for elite or dominant subjects? From digital media to Internet-enabled household objects and “wearables,” technologies designed in particular places (whether California, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Shanghai, or Brazil) circulate transnationally and become integrated into daily practices in diverse locales. We follow Lucy Suchman’s call to locate technologies and their design in particular places, while attending to new forms of placemaking they entail.

Topics of particular interest include the anthropology of computing and user interfaces, interaction design, communications infrastructure, online “content creation” and social media, digital forms of labor, surveillance and privacy, crowdsourcing and microwork, big data and algorithms, and issues of space, place, and scale.

Digital technology, transparency, and everyday forms of political engagement

Digital technology, transparency, and everyday forms of political engagement. CFP for 2014 AAA.

Do digital media enable us to see more clearly or accurately than other forms of media? What forms of knowledge, meaning, and/or matter do they make more transparent, and for whom? In which cases do they increase trust and intimacy and in which do they obscure the dynamics of social relationships? What do digital media obscure and how?

These are some of the questions we hope to ponder in this panel on digital technology, transparency, and everyday forms of political engagement. In the global South, in particular, government administrations and civic and community organizations have formed to promote the idea that “going digital” will lead to greater political clarity – i.e., transparency – and eliminate both graft and mundane human error. Capitalizing on the post-Cold War global euphoria for greater openness, and governance built on sharing “information,” digital technology and “transparency” have become indelibly linked, as the former is expected to bring about the latter, itself described as both a desired end of and means to achieve “good governance.”

In this panel we hope to consider the “thingness” or materiality of digital technology in concert with its dialectical opposite: the “seen through.” What are the social, cultural, and technical operations and arguments through which digital technology, on purpose or by oversight, enables us to see…or not? What are the effects of this (non)seeing? Possible topics for discussion include: – the production and circulation of new visual media and the creation of new digital publics – citizen engagement with open data projects – the social production, circulation, and use of crowdsourcing software (esp open source) – the construction, management, and operation of data holding structures – the labor of laying fibre optic cables or transporting lithium, etc.

We call on panelists to consider how the representational and the material, the transparent and the opaque, the seen and the unseen are entangled in historically specific moments and culturally specific locales. At the same time, we urge panelists to consider how particular digital transparency claims and/or projects resonate with those formed in other times and places, and collectively contribute to broad transnational political visions, projects, and movements. We thus welcome proposals from all geographical areas. If you are interested in being on our panel please send an abstract of 250 words or less with your name and institutional affiliation by April 5 to poggiali@stanford.edu and dmahoney1@usf.edu.

Thanks, Dillon Mahoney, University of South Florida, and Lisa Poggiali, Stanford University