Lectures and small discussion groups

Here you can find readings, and descriptions for the lectures and small discussion groups:

Zorica Ivanovic, University of Belgrade

Discussion session:

Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, Discipline and Practice: "The Field" as Site, Method, and Location in Anthropology, In: Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson (eds.), Anthropological Locations. Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London 1997, 1-46.

Paul Willis, Mats Trondman, Manifesto for Ethnography, Ethnography, Vol. 1, N° 1, London 2000, 5-16.

Aaron Turner, Embodied ethnography. Doing Culture, Social Anthropology, Vol 8, Nº 1, 2000, 51-60

Martina Avanza, Comment faire de l'ethnographie quand on n'aime pas "ses indigènes"? Une enquête au sien d'un mouvement xénophobe, In: Didier Fassin et Alban Bensa (eds.), Les politiques de l'enquête. Épreuves ethnographiques, La Découverte, Paris, 2008, 41-58.

Antonella di Trani, Travailledans des lieux sensibles. Quand l'ethnographie devient suspect, In: In: Didier Fassin et Alban Bensa (eds.), Les politiques de l'enquête. Épreuves ethnographiques, La Découverte, Paris, 2008, 245-260.

Sarah Green, University of Manchester.

Lecture: Reasons to do Fieldwork, Part One: on anthropological methods and motivations

The title for this lecture is borrowed from a song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads: "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" (1979). The lyrics consist of a long list of things, activities, people, events, ideas and relations that Ian Dury likes; few of them appear to have much to do with each other (e.g.: "A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it; You're welcome, we can spare it, yellow socks"). There are equally disparate reasons to do ethnographic fieldwork, often apparently incongruously unrelated with one another.

That raises the question of whether there is any common thread that would imply a 'right' way to do ethnographic research in all situations. It also raises the question of whether the reasons to do ethnographic research might change over time, which would imply a need to change the methods as well. So, in answering any questions about what kind of fieldwork might be appropriate, and what the outcome of such fieldwork could be, the reasons the fieldwork is being done at all should be considered first.

This question not only concerns the motivations of a particular ethnographer; the more important issue is the underlying motivation for doing ethnographic research within anthropology in general. For whom is ethnographic research done? Why is it done? In what ways does that differ from other kinds of research? Understanding the difference between researchers immersing themselves in 'the field' for lengthy periods or coming and going for short periods will be approached through asking these questions first. And in order to do that, some key aspects of how anthropology has been imagined, as a practice, how that has been changing, and the articulation between the research methods and the kind of knowledge that anthropology is intended to generate, will be considered. There are certainly some elements that are often evoked as key characteristics of anthropology that are closely associated with its research methods: a core focus on everyday life; an holistic approach towards culture or society; a central concern with otherness or difference; a fundamentally comparative approach, which implies that anthropological knowledge is built on description and relative, rather than absolute, conditions; a tense interplay between epistemology and ontology; and a simultaneously complicated and shifting relationship with different regions of the world.

Exploring the implications of different research methods through considering the motivations for anthropology provides a means for considering the issue as an ongoing process that changes over time, and one that does not assume that the relationship between anthropology and the world the discipline tries to understand remains the same over time or across space.

2. Readings
These readings are intended to help think through some of the issues to be discussed in the lecture and in the discussion group. They are not intended to be guides to research methods, but provocations, texts that are good to think.

(a) Castaneda, Q.E. 2006. The Invisible Theatre of Ethnography: Performative Principles of Fieldwork. Anthropological Quarterly 79, 75-104.

(b) Fischer, M.M.J. 1999. Emergent forms of life: Anthropologies of late or postmodernities. Annual Review of Anthropology 28, 455-478.

(c) Green, S. 2005. "Marginal Margins" in Notes from the Balkans: locating marginality and ambiguity on the Greek-Albanian border. Princeton, NJ ; Oxford: Princeton University Press, pp. 1-39.

It would also be worth taking a look at the website of the new online journal, Hau (http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/about/editorialPolicies#focusAndScope and http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/pages/view/endorsements)

Discussion session:
The same readings as above should be used for the discussion group. Participants should prepare a set of questions and ideas that they would like to raise. Of particular interest might be:

(a) For whom is anthropology done, and has this changed with time?

(b) Are anthropological methods as good at dealing with similarity as they are in dealing with difference?

(c) What is the difference between ethnographic methods and other means of generating knowledge about social or cultural issues?

(d) Herzfeld has written that he thinks of ethnographic texts “as a construction resulting from the fusion of the ethnographer's conceptual framework with that of the local informants” (Herzfeld 1985: 46). What might that imply about fieldwork methods?

(e) Given that we have social media now (Internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc), what difference does it make if we are physically living with people or not?

(f) Do ethnographic methods depend on a particular understanding of the relationship between experience and knowledge?

Herzfeld, M. 1985. The poetics of manhood: contest and identity in a Cretan mountain village. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Margareta Kern (http://www.margaretakern.com)

Lecture: Thinking through/with Experimental Ethnography...

I will present three of my recent projects, Clothes for Death, Graduation Dresses and the current one GUESTures, to think-through some of the key questions I want to address with my artistic practice: ambiguity of documentary image (photography and film) and its relationship to knowledge, representation and anthropological 'truth’; doing field-work research as an artist, using documentary and archival photography and video, sound/interviews and performance to work with marginalized narratives (personal and historical, in relation to gender, labour, migration) and a brief reflection on how I used different strategies to present my art-work and the research material in an exhibition context.

I will refer to the work of experimental and documentary film-makers who are influencing and inspiring my practice, (please see the viewing/reading list provided), and whose works question the role of participation, performance and politics of representation. I would in particular like to think through the term ‘experimental ethnography’, referring to the writing by Catherine Russell - who sees it as ‘methodological incursion of aesthetics on cultural representation, a collision of social theory and formal experimentation...and a site of radical praxis...a means of re-visioning a long history of the intersection of the avant-grade and anthropology’ - to speak about contested relationship of documentary image and anthropological 'truth'.

I’m increasingly interested in exploring and addressing the relationship of representational practices to social movements and activism, and would briefly like to think through and open this aspect to further debate - what is the potential of experimental ethnography for practices of cultural representation, be they in the field of art or anthropology?

Please read Introduction to: Russell, Catherine (1999) ‘Experimental Ethnography: The Work of Film in the Age of Video’, Duke University Press Durham and London.

And please see The Exception and the Rule, Dir Karen Mirza, Brad Butler, 2009, 38min

The whole film is available on artists’ web-site: http://www.mirza-butler.net/index.php?/project/the-exception-and-the-rule/

Discussion session:
For the workshop I would like to examine the relationship of sound-image and text-image, in producing anthropological and/or artistic knowledge and representations, in particular reflecting on the questions raised in the lecture on the ambiguous relationship of documentary image to anthropological ‘truth’. I would also like to position anthropological practice next to artistic practice (mostly in film/photography) in thinking about possible meeting points and tensions in these two disciplines, as producers of cultural representations of ‘the other’. In this there is always inherent the question of the relationship between document and art, authenticity to imagination, fiction and real.

The participants will explore the various ways text, voice, sound and images can be used to create meaning by working in small groups, following a set of simple instructions such as recording sounds, creative writing, interviewing each other or making short video recordings in specific locations etc... The resulting works would serve as a bases for discussing what kind of meaning is created through creative acts of experimentation and its relevance for ethnographic research and the use of sensory media as a means of anthropological representation.

Please bring to the workshop any equipment that you usually use whilst doing field-work research: small digital camera, digital recorder, a mobile phone camera…
The workshop is inspired by the workshop ran by Brad Butler and no.w.here, that I attended at the British Film Institute in 2009.
I would like to ask if those attending could please see this film as it is available in full on internet:
The Exception and the Rule, Dir Karen Mirza, Brad Butler, 2009, 38min

Also, see any of the films on the viewing list, and if you require any essays from reading list please email me margareta [at] gmail [dot] com
/note: the entire file of the reading list essays is 11MB/

1) The Exception and the Rule, Dir Karen Mirza, Brad Butler, 2009, 38min

The whole film is available on artists’ web-site and I would like to ask those attending the workshop to see it: http://www.mirza-butler.net/index.php?/project/the-exception-and-the-rule/

2) Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer), Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, France, 1961, 85 min. http://youtu.be/nyceLxmSM4E  This is a seminal film so many may have seen it.

3) Chris Marker: – Sans Soleil http://youtu.be/nyceLxmSM4E and La Jetee http://youtu.be/1WXMp5BHZ_o (part 1) parts 2 & 3 on youtube when you view part 1.

4) Renzo Martens – Enjoy Poverty! Episode 3: http://youtu.be/yREqd8QYtsQ

5) Forest of Bliss. Robert Gardner, 1986, 90 min. http://youtu.be/5XxuAQMzJ8g This is a seminal film so many may have seen it.

6) Trinh T. Minh-ha Reassemblage, 1983 or any of her films: http://youtu.be/e_kxhMi3gAk

7) The Arbour (2010) – this is an amazing film by Clio Bernard:

8) Cardiff and Miller – their sound works are especially interesting, check http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/index.html

9) Harun Farocki - http://www.farocki-film.de/

Film: In Comparison

Arnd Schneider, ‘Uneasy Relationships: Contemporary Artists and Anthropology’ Journal of Material Culture, 1996; 1; 183

Pink, S. 2007. “Photography in Ethnographic Research”. In: Doing Visual Ethnography. London: SAGE.Pp. 65-95.

Foster, H. (1996). The Artist as Ethnographer. The return of the real: the avant-garde at the end of the century. Cambridge, Mass.; London, MIT Press: xix, 299p.

Downey, Anthony (2009) 'An Ethics of Engagement: Collaborative Art Practices and the Return of the Ethnographer', Third Text, 23: 5, 593 — 603

Wright, C. 1998. The Third Subject: Perspectives on Visual Anthropology. In Anthropology Today, 14(4):16-22. [E-journal]

Piault M. H. 2007. Real with Fiction. In: Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 23, Issue 1, pp. 16-25 [E- journal]

Kuhn, Annette (2007) 'Photography and cultural memory: a methodological exploration', Visual Studies, 22: 3, 283 — 292

Rouch, Jean: The Camera and Man, in Stud. In the Anthrop of Vis. Comm. vol 1 (1) 1974

Flaherty, Robert J. 1922 ‘How I Filmed 'Nanook of the North'’, World's Work, October: 632-640. http://www.cinemaweb.com/silentfilm/bookshelf/23_rf1_2.htm

Roelandt, Els. (2008) Interview with Renzo Martens, Episode 3: Analysis of a Film Process in Three Conversations, A Prior Magazine No.16, http://www.aprior.org/articles/34

Debord, G. 1967. Society of the Spectacle. Paragraph 1 to 34.

http://youtu.be/CV6k_SKkHKQ part 1, other parts on you tube

Russell, Catherine (1999) ‘Experimental Ethnography: The Work of Film in the Age of Video’, Duke University Press Durham and London.

Edwards, Elisabeth (2001), Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology and Museums, Oxford and New York: Berg

Barthes, R. (1981) Camera Lucida. Reflections on photography. London : Flamingo.

Ruby, J. (2000). Picturing culture: explorations of film & anthropology. Chicago; London, University of Chicago Press: xiii, 339 p.

Macdonald, S. and P. Basu (2007). Exhibition experiments. Oxford, Blackwell.

Schneider, A. and C. Wright (2006). Contemporary art and anthropology. Oxford, Berg.

Austin and de Jong (ed.), Rethinking Documentary: New Perspectives, New Practices (Glasgow: Bell and Bain, 2008);

MacDougall, D. 1997. Rethinking Visual Anthropology. Banks, M. and

Morphy, H. eds.. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press. pp. 276-295

Taylor, L. and Barbash, I. 1997 Cross-Cultural Filmmaking. Univ. of Calif Press.

MacDougal, David (1998) Transcultural Cinema. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Grimshaw, A. 2001. The Etnographer’s Eye. Cambridge Univ. Press.

Sontag, Susan (1979) On Photography, London: Penguin Books Ltd

Slobodan Naumović, University of Belgrade

Discussion Session:

Joel M. Halpern and E. A. Hammel. 1969. Observations on the Intellectual History of Ethnology and Other Social Sciences in Yugoslavia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 11(1), 17-26

Naumović, Slobodan. 1998. Romanticists or Double Insiders? An Essay on the Origins of Ideologised Discourses In Balkan Ethnology. Ethnologia Balkanica 2, 101-120.
Hann, Chris, Mihály Sárkány, Petr Skalník (eds.) 2005. Studying Peoples in the People's Democracies: Socialist Era Anthropology in South-East Europe. Lit Verlag,  pp. 159-364.

Ćulibrk, Svetozar 1971. Cvijić's sociological research into society in the Balkans. The British Journal of Sociology 22(4), 423-440.

Edited by Vintila Mihailescu, Vintila,  Ilia Iliev, Slobodan Naumovic (eds) 2009. Studying Peoples in the People’s Democracies II: Socialist Era Anthropology in South-East Europe. Lit Verlag.

Muraj, Aleksandra 1996. Talking with Dunja. Narodna  umjetnost 33(2): 31—46.

Marina Simic, University of Belgrade

Discussion session:
In this discussion group we will touch upon some of the main issues of the conference – the possibilities of doing ‘world anthropologies’ with and through anthropologies of post-socialism and post-socialist anthropologies, in an attempt to connect them with other anthropologies of the Balkans. 
Following Restrepo and Esobar’s (2005) concept of ‘world anthropologies’ we will try to rethink current issues concerning anthropologies of the region and the possibilities those anthropologies offer us in generating “a critical awareness of both the larger epistemic and political field in which anthropology emerged and continues to function, and of the micropractices and relations of power within and across different anthropological locations and traditions” (Restrepo and Esobar 2005: 99). We will point out key topics and issues in post-socialist and Balkan studies and try to rethink them through the ideas of field-work as a set of knowledge producing practices that do not allow for a clear distinction between “the field of observation (fieldwork proper) and the field of reflection and analysis (writing-up)” (Jimenez 2003: 1). In that sense we will try to pose some questions about different kinds of knowledge produced in the anthropology of post-socialism and post-socialist anthropology and anthropologies both of and from the Balkans. 
I ask you to consider your experiences of studying, teaching and researching the Balkans and/or post-socialism and think through the following questions that should help us to work through some of the issues raised above:

What is the connection between post-socialist and Balkan studies?

What is a difference between anthropology of post-socialism and post-socialist anthropology and what can we learn from it?

What can post-socialist anthropology contribute to anthropology of post-socialist and anthropology more broadly?

Is it a field of post-socialist studies an invention of Western scholarship, as Buchowski (2004) argues?

How can we think about ‘hierarchies of knowledge’ in the field of post-socialist anthropology?

Is there a possibility to turn post-socialist studies in some sort of post-colonial studies?

How can anthropologies of the region contribute to Restrepo’s and Escobar’s concept of ‘world anthropologies’ and ‘anthropology otherwise’?


Alberto Corsín Jiménez. 2003. Teaching the field: the order, ordering, and scale of knowledge. Anthropology Matters 1 http://www.anthropologymatters.com/index.php?journal=anth_matters&page=article&op=view&path[]=127

Eduardo Restrepo and Arturo Escobar. 2005. Other Anthropologies and Anthropology Otherwise. Steps to a World Anthropologies Framework. Critique of Anthropology 25(2), 99–129

Michał Buchowski. Hierarchies Of Knowledge In Central-Eastern European Anthropology http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/aeer/article/viewFile/296/372

Stef Jansen, University of Manchester

Lecture: 'How a very slow job may be worth it: on doing ethnography in the post-Yugoslav states today'

Three questions for discussion session 'doing ethnography in the post-Yugoslav states today':

1. In your experience/expectation, are there any unique contributions that ethnography—whether immersive or back-and-forth—can make to our understandings of lives in the post-Yugoslav states today and that no other approach can make to the same extent? If yes, which ones?

2. Traditional methods training and conceptual frameworks in anthropology steer the attention of the researcher to 'cultural difference'. In your experience/expectation, how does this help and how does this hinder a good ethnographic analysis of lives in the post-Yugoslav states today?

3. In your experience/expectation, are there any aspects of the current political situation in the post-Yugoslav states (both its more domestic and its more geopolitical dimensions) that have implications for how to do ethnographic research there? If yes, how can we best deal with them?


1) Herzfeld M. 1996. Cultural Intimacy: Social poetics in the nation-state. London: Routledge. [pp. 1-32]
Herzfeld M. 2004. Kulturna intimnost: socijalna poetika u nacionalnoj državi (prev. S. Glišić). Beograd: Biblioteka XX vek. [Uvod]

2) Jansen S. 2009. 'After the red passport: towards an anthropology of the everyday geopolitics of entrapment in the EU's immediate outside' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15:4, 815-832.

Jansen S. 2009. 'In memoriam: crveni pasoš. O svakodnevnoj geopolitici zatočenosti (prev. A Bajazetov)' In: Ðerić G. (ed.) Pamćenje i nostalgija: neki prostori, oblici, lica i naličja. Beograd: Filip Višnjić. 11-42.

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