George E. Marcus: Prototyping and Contemporary Anthropological Experiments with Ethnographic Method

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr. Marcus’s lecture has been cancelled.

A public lecture with George Marcus

October 3, 2013
18:00 – 20:00
Hall Building H-1145
SGW Campus

Co-sponsored with Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, McGill University Department of Anthropology and McGill University Social Studies of Medicine.

This lecture uses two senses of the concept and practice of ‘prototype’ in its usual industry and design contexts to explore several experimental strategies in the pursuit and production of ethnographic research in its anthropological tradition. It is argued that the latter tradition of research requires new forms that impinge not so much on its established modes of scholarly communication—the article, the monograph—but on how it establishes the conditions of fieldwork in contemporary multi-sited spaces of complex assemblages and big projects through which ethnography operates and defines its objects of study.

These forms are conceived as ‘third spaces’, materialized as staged occasions, studios, labs, established alongside the traditional serendipitous path of fieldwork, and involving explicit intellectual partnerships with persons who might otherwise be viewed as facilitators or subjects of research. These third spaces produce prototypes as accessible alternative products of contemporary ethnographic experiments. The author’s recent experiments with collaborative research at the World Trade Organization are explored in these terms.

George E. Marcus is Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine, where he is director of the Center for Ethnography. He is co-editor of Fieldwork Is Not What It Used To Be (2009), and co-author of Designs For an Anthropology of the Contemporary (2008).

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