Externe Kolloquien

Donnerstag 05. April 2018 — Samstag 07. April 2018 — Basel, Switzerland

Basel: International Conference on "Embedded Digitalities", 5-7 April 2018

 Embedded Digitalities

5-7 April 2018 in Basel, Switzerland

Conference on Digital Anthropology organized by the Section “Digitization in Everyday Life” of the German Association of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore Studies (dgv) together with the Swiss Association of Volkskunde (SGV)
Venue: Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, Basel University
Organisation: Ina Dietzsch, Sabine Eggmann

The working group “Digitization in Everyday Life” has held debates and organized several conferences on questions of digitization and digitality. Up until now discussions have been dominated by the exploration of a wide range of digital phenomena, emphasizing their specific dimensions and logics. However, given the fact that digital phenomena, processes and infrastructures play an important role in almost every aspect of everyday life, digitization is on its way to becoming a core issue in social and cultural anthropology. The conference “Embedded Digitalities” aims to consider this shift and therefore to focus on the digital” as a relational construction. It will draw its attention to the variety of ways in which digital media, technologies, ideologies and infrastructures are embedded in everyday life. It aims to encourage contributions that anthropologically reflection the embeddedness of the digital in social life in various ways. Focusing on the following questions, contributors are invited to discuss the social, economic, political, and cultural embeddedness of digital technologies and infrastructures based on different theoretical and methodological approaches. What is the relevance of the digital when entangled with specific situations during the research process? What kind of power structures are at play in specific research situations? What agency is provided or prevented? How is agency distributed or complicity generated?

Further Information: Visit the conference site

Frobenius-Institut: Call for Abstracts zum Sommersymposium

Das Frobenius-Institut lädt Master-Studierdende und NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen (Promotion; Habilitation) ein, am Sommersymposium (15. Juni 2018) ihre eigenen Forschungen zu präsentieren. Es werden Vorschläge angenommen für:
Vorträge, Poster-Präsentationen und ethnographische Filme
Bewerbungsschluss: 28. Februar 2018

Weitere Informationen hier.

Call for Papers: Panel “Promissory encounters? Exploring innovations at the intersection of reproduction and genetics from a feminist STS perspective”, EASST conference in Lancaster, 25-28 July 2018

We invite paper abstracts for our panel, “Promissory encounters? Exploring innovations at the intersection of reproduction and genetics from a feminist STS perspective” (F05), at this year's EASST conference in Lancaster, 25-28 July 2018. The panel is convened by Dr Nolwenn Bühler (University of Lausanne & Neuchâtel) and Dr Cathy Herbrand (De Montfort University).

To submit abstracts of up to 250 words please follow this link:https://nomadit.co.uk/easst/easst2018/conferencesuite.php/paperproposal/6243

Deadline is 14 February 2018.

For more information please visit the conference webpage: https://easst2018.easst.net/


Promissory encounters? Exploring innovations at the intersection of reproduction and genetics from a feminist STS perspective

  • Nolwenn Bühler (University of Lausanne)
  • Cathy Herbrand (De Montfort University)

Short abstract

This panel explores the practices and politics of 'innovation' at the intersection of reproduction and genetics through the lens of a feminist STS perspective. It asks how scientific breakthroughs in both fields (re)produce and/or subvert hierarchies of difference and associated inequalities.

Long abstract

Since the double helix was 'discovered' and the first IVF baby born, techno-scientific breakthroughs, such as genome editing, 'three-parent' IVF, non-invasive prenatal testing and epigenetics, have marked the fields of both reproductive medicine and genetics. While developing separately, these two fields frequently intersect and their encounters have significant implications in terms of gender identity, embodiment, reproductive and life choices. Genetics might be used to disentangle relationships in third-party conception, to naturalize gendered behaviours, to identify chromosomal abnormalities, or to select specific embryos considered worthy of a future. Reproduction in turn becomes crucial when epigenetic changes might be transmitted over generations, or when fertility or inheritance are affected by genetic disorders.

As innovations and their narratives of open-ended progress characterize the development of both fields, this panel will explore the practices and politics of 'innovation' at the intersection of reproduction and genetics through the lens of a feminist STS perspective. In particular, we would like to question how these innovations and related scientific knowledge contribute to (re)produce and/or subvert hierarchies of difference and associated inequalities. How do categories such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, kinship and species matter when genetic and reproductive innovations are made in and out of the lab? How do they frame promissory discourses at the intersection of these two fields and with what effects? How to critically account for the materiality of these new possibilities? What are the political implications of uncertainties in both fields and how do researchers, policy-makers, patients, and clinicians manage such uncertainty?

Call for Abstracts: No country for anthropologists? Contemporary ethnographic research in the Middle East

Call for Abstracts - Deadline 1 May 2018

University of Zurich
Institute of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies (ISEK)
2-3 November 2018

Mustafa Akcinar, Aymon Kreil, Shirin Naef, Emanuel Schaeublin

Many parts of the contemporary Middle East are confronted with war, sectarianism, transnational interferences, uprisings, and a comeback of authoritarian regimes. This brings about various difficulties for ethnographic research as a practice of knowledge production based on the immersion of researchers in given social contexts and the subsequent writing up and publishing of texts:

Restrictions of access limit the possibility to carry out fieldwork. Local and transnational researchers have troubles accessing communities in different places. The risks of living there for 12 to 18 months (which is required for ethnographic fieldwork) include political instability and different forms of state repression. They are not easy to assess and can have far-reaching consequences for personal lives.

Writing is equally affected by these developments. Many settings leave little place for non-partisan standpoints, as narratives on the situation become arenas for competing claims of legitimacy. State and non-state institutions are often suspicious of forms of discourse that evade their control and hegemony. At the same time, political protestors may expect researchers to act as their spokespersons. This creates subtle or more direct kinds of pressures to write about certain topics rather than others or to exercise self-censorship.

The 'destabilization' of countries in recent years was followed by an increase of military presence and the division of territory into securitized ('green') and less secure 'zones'. In such times, contextualized and nuanced accounts of the situation of different communities - which go beyond the narrow sphere of 'policy analysis' - are more important than ever. In theory, this is what ethnography at its best should provide.

The international conference No country for anthropologists? Contemporary ethnographic research in the Middle East explores the obstacles to do ethnography in the Middle East and take them as the starting point for reflection upon the role of anthropology with a view to the Middle East of today. To tackle the issue, the conference will revolve around four main axes, addressing the interrelated questions of:

  1. The possibility of ethnographic research for local and foreign researchers. This axis aims at discussing the impediments and incentives to research in the region, including discourses framing the perception of researchers ('information war', fears of transnational interferences, citizen activism, etc.); the institutional settings of research (conditions of funding, research grants, etc.); the threats to researchers and the attempts to co-opt them politically; the impossibility to access certain places and communities due to various forms of risks; and the relation between local and foreign researchers.
  1. The positionality of researchers and their interlocutors. This axis seeks first to reflect upon forms of guiding researchers' attention, different kinds of institutional pressure, and the role interlocutors in the context of inquiry ascribe to researchers. How do these aspects affect fieldwork practice? In parallel to this line of questioning, the aim is to critically consider the relation between researchers and their interlocutors, the agendas they possibly have when communicating with each other, and their different kinds of vulnerability.
  1. The shaping of alternative methods of inquiry. This axis explores possibilities to circumvent the impediments to ethnographic modes of inquiry. This involves interrogating the anthropological understanding of fieldwork as a site for long-term 'participant observation.' Possible alternative methods include the use of digital sources as ethnographic material, the reliance on micro-situations to make a fragmentary portrait of a situation, reckoning with the incompleteness of ethnographic accounts, or collaborative approaches blurring the roles of 'author' and 'interlocutor'. In this axis both the limits and potentialities of such alternative methods of inquiry will be discussed.
  1. The practice of ethnographic writing. The restrictions and concerns mentioned above directly affect the practice of ethnographic writing. In contexts of violence, it is often difficult to avoid taking sides, and hesitating to do so can appear as a sign of cowardice or betrayal. The need to advocate for oppressed groups has its flipside when research becomes part of discourses asserting moral truths or exclusively reproduces the narratives of certain interlocutors purporting to represent oppressed groups. Moreover, writing about certain themes can increase the vulnerability of local communities or entail legal consequences for people and institutions involved in transferring money to contested areas. This axis addresses issues related to writing ethnography, such as self-censorship, the nature of topics that researches do not mention in texts, techniques of anonymization in writing, and the afterlife of ethnographic texts. Based on these discussions, we seek to reconsider the critical power of ethnographic writing and the ethical challenges it gives rise to.

Participants are invited to discuss these issues on the basis of concrete case studies. We welcome contributions from all theoretical directions and regional areas of interest. Contributors should send an abstract of maximum 250 words and a short CV by 1 May 2018 to Emanuel Schaeublin (emanuel.schaeublin@uzh.ch). Applicants will be notified by 15 May 2018 of the decision. Subsequently, participants will be asked to provide their draft paper (max. 6000 words) by 15 September 2018. It will then be circulated among the participants.

The University of Zurich covers the travel costs of participants.

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