New books by CoLED Ethnographers!

Book cover for Christo Sims' Disruptive FixationBook cover for de la Cadena's EARTH BEINGSAnnouncing this season’s recent monographs!

CoLED member and this year’s director of UC San Diego’s Studio for Ethnographic Design Christo Sims has a new book out with Princeton University Press, Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism. The book takes ethnography as a critical mode of approach to the problem of design as a platform for innovation. Drawing on research in a “public school for the digital age,” Sims traces the hubristic impulse of design and technology’s commitment to innovation that constantly remakes the world, dubbing this modality techno-idealism.

Book cover for THE INDIGENOUS STATECoLED member and noted anthropologist of human rights and politics Nancy Postero (UC San Diego Anthropology) has a new book out with UC Press. The book, The Indigenous State: Race, Politics, and Performance in Plurinational Bolivia, is available on the open access platform, and can be read online for free. The Indigenous State follows ten years of politics and the practices of decolonization following the election of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president.

CoLED Member Marisol de la Cadena‘s (UC Davis Anthropology) new book, Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds (Duke University Press), received warm reception at the 2016 AAA meeting. The book offers a sustained ethnographic engagement with the political worlds of a Quechua father and son, as a means to grapple with the incommensurability of ontological worlds.

For a full list of recent books by CoLED members, click here.

Moments, Movements, Scores: Yelena Gluzman Reflects on a CoLED workshop

What goes on at a CoLED workshop?

Yelena Gluzman (UC San Diego) reflects on the March workshop at UC Davis in a post on the Society for Social Studies of Science website’s Backchannels blog. Recalling a segment of the workshop led by Joe Dumit, she writes:

In one exercise, each of us was instructed to secretly select two people in the group. Without revealing who they were, we had to keep the first person to our right, and the second person to our left. Following these rules instantly put the entire group into movement, first at a walk, and then accelerating (despite ourselves) to a run, with group members veering as they tried to maintain their position in relation to their chosen two.

In another exercise, the groups received a different score. Small groups were sent outside with the instruction to find an object and bring it back to present to everyone. Upon returning, workshop organizers prompted participants to write down everything we recalled about the expedition other than the object we chose.

In both cases, the scores were ways to attune to the process of observation without separating ourselves as observers from the emergent action in which we were embedded. Instead of bracketing the embodied and situated condition of participant-observation, these scores highlighted ways in which embodied experience could be available as part of a research object.

Read more – and see photos – here.

March Workshop: Ethnography Post-Writing

Congratulations to the Davis team on putting this together.

This flyer shows an image of two people walking away on a path along the northern california marine coast - green and teal vegetation is on the right, and a grey-blue sky above; the title of the workshop and the workshop schedule are superimposed over the image.

Schedule for Ethnography Post-Writing: A CoLED Workshop

FRIDAY, March 11th (Putah Creek Lodge; Parking Instructions)

10:00 am – 1:00 pm

I. “Theatrical devising”

(Cristiana Giordano, Department of Anthropology, UCD and Alvaro Hernández & Regina Gutiérrez, Department of Performance Studies, UCD)

This workshop is an exploration of and a cross pollination between research and narrative practices in theater and anthropology. By creating a dialogue between these disciplines in a laboratory format, we hope to pose questions and engage techniques in ways that will enrich our engagement with anthropological questions and performative productions. We will practice embodiment as a practice to slow down thinking and to create a space for new encounters with our ethnographic material. Or, rather, we will practice thinking with the body, and embodying with and through words. (more…)

Recent Publications by CoLED Members

Our CoLED network is unique in drawing together scholars with very different research practices and topics, all of whom are concerned in various ways with the processes of knowledge production, the hows of ethnography, and the heuristic of design as a way to think about what is possible in the world.

One of the exciting things about the network is a chance to come to know other scholars working on campuses in other parts of California, or colleagues doing ethnography in other departments just across the quad.

With this in mind, CoLED sends out semi-regular email dispatches of news from our network to our listserv. Here are some recent announcements from our network that have appeared in the our email news round-ups.

Article Publications

Marisol de la Cadena’s (UC Davis) article “Uncommoning Nature” is online in recent issue of the journal e-flux.

de la Cadena also co-edited a special feature in HAU with Marianne E. Lien. The multi-authored essay is titled “Anthropology and STS: Generative interfaces, multiple locations.”

Fernando Dominguez-Rubio (UC San Diego) has an article titled “On the discrepancy between objects and things: An ecological approach” in the Journal of Material Culture.


Absence, Commitment, and Critique: Reflections on the Ethics of Ethnographic Design

By Katie Cox, Connie McGuire, Michael Montoya

** This is the second post in a series in which scholars and practitioners reflect on ethnography and innovation, with a particular focus on the University of California System.**

This blog post springs from a collective at UC-Irvine called the Community Knowledge Project (CKP), an initiative in the CoLED network.  CKP seeks to create collaborative spaces to reimagine the world, how to know it, and how to heal it. This post is a reflection on the CoLED workshop held at UC-Irvine in October of 2015.

As part of CoLED’s fall workshop at UC Irvine, CKP proposed an encounter between workshop participants and the UCI Farm. UCI Social Sciences founded the short-lived Farm project in 1968 as an experimental enterprise in ethnographic knowledge-making. Using a reading practice called Feminist Theory Theatre (FTT), developed by graduate students at UC San Diego, CoLEDers staged improvised performances based on texts and archival media about the Farm.