Public Ethnography: Connecting New Genres, New Media, New Audiences
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
June 1-2, 2012
Abstract submission deadline: (Past: November 15, 2011)
Registration deadline: April 15, 2012
Organizer: Phillip Vannini, (Communication & Culture, Royal Roads University)
Advisory committee: Claudio Aporta
(Sociology & Anthropology, Carleton University, Canada); Mike Evans
(Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University, Australia); Kip
Jones (Media, Bournemouth University, UK); Monica Prendergast
(Drama/Education Theatre, University of Victoria, Canada); David Redmon
(Sociology, Harvard University, USA); Alisse Waterston (Anthropology,
City University of New York, USA).
Keynote speakers: Paul Stoller
(Anthropology, West Chester University), Norman K. Denzin
(Communication, University of Illinois).
How can ethnographers make their
voices better heard? How can ethnographic research become more popular?
How can different ethnographic genres and new and traditional
communication media facilitate the popularization of ethnographic
research? As several commentators have outlined, ethnography is uniquely
positioned to appeal to the general public yet it is still distinctly
absent in popular media such as television, radio, and digital platforms
such as iTunes. When carried out with the information and entertainment
needs and wants of the public in mind, ethnographic research has the
potential to reach beyond the confines of academic discourse and can
position social scientific knowledge at the nexus of public debate,
current affairs, and popular culture. A fully public ethnography can
better engage multiple stakeholders and can play a key role in the
critical pedagogy of the general public. But how can this be achieved in
practice? And at what costs and risk?
Ethnography—understood broadly as the
qualitative, in-depth, emic study of people’s ways of life—is undergoing
a significant shift towards reflexive, embodied, sensuous,
performative, narrative, arts-informed, more-than-representational, and
multimodal characteristics. These trends are pushing ethnography away
from an exclusively academic and print-based domain into the public
sphere. Ethnographers now increasingly realize they can thrive in a
public domain craving documentary knowledge inspired and informed by
diverse popular media, genres, arts, and communication modes.
The conference is intended to be an
intimate gathering of ethnographers—both faculty and students—across all
social scientific fields and disciplines. The organizers welcome
presentation proposals (both individual submissions and panels) that show examples of public ethnography, or that reflect on the value and agenda of public ethnography. Examples of
public ethnographic research in progress or completed will draw from
fieldwork projects that have reached beyond academic audiences by
directly addressing members of the general public, or by drawing
significant attention from news media. Reflections on public
ethnography will instead focus on taking stock of the methodological,
epistemological, ethical, or practical challenges and opportunities
faced by public ethnographers.
A peer-reviewed journal special issue
on the theme of the conference will be developed. Presenters will also
be able to submit their work for consideration for publication in the
Routledge Innovative Ethnographies book series (www.innovativeethnographies.net).
To submit a presentation proposal
please email a 150 word abstract, title, five keywords, and short bio(s)
of the presenter(s) attending to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure to clearly identify the type of presentation proposed
(example or reflection) in a separate note, which should also contain
any information about special audio/visual and other technical equipment
needs you may have.
Registration fee: CAD$250 (faculty) CAD$150 (students). Includes two lunches, two breakfasts.
Conference site: The Inn at Laurel Point, Victoria BC (www.laurelpoint.com). Conference delegates’ rates starting from CAD$119 + taxes.