Tag Archives: multi-sited

Multi-sited Ethnographies: A Conversation Across the Social Sciences

multi-sited ethnographies SED event_finalMONDAY, May 18th
12:00 – 1:30 PM

Join SED for a discussion on multi-sited ethnographic research design co-hosted with the New Directions in Culture, Power, and History Group in Anthropology. More and more, ethnographers carry out their research in many sites, often across borders, in radically different spaces and environments. What are the challenges and benefits of doing this sort of research? We have gathered three UCSD scholars to discuss their experiences carrying out such research, focusing on the ways they theorize their own methods. This informal lunch time discussion will enact a conversation about ethnography, the challenges and possibilities of multi-sited research across the social sciences. Graduate students considering how to frame their own multi-sited research projects are encouraged to attend.

Abigail Andrews is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies and Planning at UCSD. She studies the intersection of development, migration, and gender, with a focus on the relationships between Mexico and the United States. Most of her research is based on a cross-border ethnography of Mexican sending communities and their migrants in the United States. Her current book manuscript explores how practices of state power in local sites on each side of the border influence migrants’ paths into and out of the United States. It then considers how migrant communities respond to exclusion and exploitation, sparking new forms of cross-border political advocacy. In this work — and following the interactions across transnational migrants communities — Professor Andrews grapples with the question of how power and politics operate across place.

David Pederson is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at UCSD. He is the author of American Value: Migrants, Money and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States, published in the University of Chicago Press series, ‘Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning’ in 2014. He is writing a new book, entitled Lethal Haven, about the role of warfare in the establishment of the US dollar as a world currency. In his research, Pedersen has developed a semiotic approach for studying the relationship between immediately perceivable phenomena and larger geohistorical tendencies, predicated on conducting ethnographic research across multiple locales and according to varied foci and scales of analysis.

Elana Zilberg is an Associate Professor in the Communication Department at UCSD and the co-founder and director of the Studio for Ethnographic Design at UCSD. Her book Space of Detention: The Making of a Transnational Gang Crisis between Los Angeles and San Salvador (Duke University Press 2011) is a multi-sited ethnographic account and spatial analysis of how transnational gangs became an issue of central concern for national and regional security between the U.S. and Central America. Her new project on river revitalization in the Southwestern United States and U.S. – Mexico border regions extends her interest in the urban built environment and the geography and spatial expression of race, into the domains of urban nature, infrastructure, and environmental justice.

Suggested Reading(s):

Upcoming Events: Elaine Gan and Anna Tsing – A Fungal Clock: Experiments in Representing Time

tsing gan new

Tuesday, April 22nd
Lunch and Reading Discussion of Matsutake Worlds and Experiments in Collaboration and Time Noon at the Center for the Humanities (Literature 310). RSVP Here.

Join SED at the Center for the Humanities for lunch and an informal discussion in preparation for Anna Tsing and Elaine Gan’s talk the following day. Matsutake Worlds is a global collaboration documenting multispecies cultures and ecologies where life continues in the midst of great disturbances. We promise talk of fungal clocks, mycorrhizal life, and the chance to stuff the conversation with your best mushroom-y metaphors.

Wednesday, April 23rd
Anna Tsing and Elaine Gan, UCSC
“A Fungal Clock: Experiments in Representing Time”
Structural and Materials Engineering 304

Since the bleak appreciation that we may have to do without narratives of progress, questions of how to understand time have reentered social theory. Most importantly, the realization that progress may not produce technologies to clean up our environmental messes requires that scholars appreciate the rhythms of other organisms with which we make and remake the earth.

“A Fungal Clock” is a series of collaborations between anthropologist Anna Tsing and artist Elaine Gan. As visual essay, web project, and game, different experiments offer tools to imagine history and temporality that take into account multispecies coordinations. Progress conflates trajectory, or movement, and time, or sequence; without progress, the two are quite different. Progress focuses our attention on the unilinear trajectories of plans; without progress, we must look at landscape-making effects, that is, unintended design. Multiple historical trajectories, human and not human, interrupt, interfere with, and change each other. They trigger new conjunctions. Our fungal clock attempts to show interweaving temporalities as different kinds of coordination. It draws attention to more-than-human social relations that scaffold human histories as the planning modules of progress dissolve into unplanned ruins.