Ethnographic theory Digest 2019 vol. 5

Dear NET members,

Here is this month’s digest with readings that we hope catch your interest!

This time, we have more news! For this year’s NET event, we will be convening a (partly unconventional) panel on the topic of “Anthropologies, Futures and Prediction” at the Biennial Conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society (in Helsinki, Finland on August 29-30, 2019)! We hope that this will be the occasion to meet some of you in person! Please check out the CfP at the bottom of the digest. Click here for more information on the conference.


The first issue of the new journal Public Anthropologist is out featuring a collection of articles on silencing and structures of power within academia.

A fascinating article on data centers in Iceland, and the unsettled and in-betweens of tech infrastructures, by Alix Johnson

From inbetweeness to improvisation in an article by Nur Amali Ibrahim in Anthropological Quarterly last summer.

Cigarettes and marketing in Indonesia, by Marina Welker in the current issue of JRAI.

/Monographs & books

Nomi Stone’s ethnographically inspired poetry on fictive Middle Eastern villages in US Military trainings.

In her monograph published last year, Radhika Govindrajan writes about how human and animal worlds interweave.


Caroline Gatt and Joss Allen imagine an educational institution that embraces an onto/epistemology of correspondence: or (text based).

Eric Plemons’ reflections about Trump administration’s ban of transgender people from the US military.

Allegra’s Hypertext Thematic week which offers insights into the exiting world of digital ethnographies curated by Andrea Pia. Curious about playing a digital ethnography? Try out playing Peng.

Somatosphere’s “Diability from the South” Series arranged by Michele Friedner and Tyler Zoanni.

Malini Sur writes about shape-shifting and fieldwork related trauma cures across national medical systems.

How to decanonize anthropology with teaching its history from the margins? Check out this syllabus.


“Anthropologies, Futures and Prediction”

“The future is not what it once was. Technological, political, and infrastructural changes have all effected new ways, not only of imagining, but of predicting and realizing the future(s). This workshop seeks to locate itself at the intersection of the multiple ways in which the future is known and imagined, taking into account the dialectics between the researcher and the field. What exactly is the future? Do we distinguish, like Derrida, between a “predictable, programmed, scheduled, foreseeable” future, and l’avenir—the unexpected and unanticipated? How do the temporalities of our fieldwork and our professional experience of uncertainty inform the way we produce knowledge about conceptions of future and prediction? And what of the contexts and extra-contexts in which the ethnographic emerges? Ranging from the online aggregation of predictive data to financial instruments and algorithms, state projects of governance based on prediction, to dreaming, death, and afterlives, to urban infrastructural planning, this panel, sponsored by EASA’s Network of Ethnographic Theory, asks how the future is part and parcel of what constitutes the social in all its utopic and dystopic forms. As part of EASA’s Network of Ethnographic Theory’s sponsorship, papers of this panel will be submitted as a special issue to Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale.

In addition to the usual panel format, as described above, we will have an additional session in which panelists are invited to engage the thematic of their own and their own ethnographic and theoretical interventions through alternative media forms, and amidst a more broader and inclusive discussion of “Anthropologies, Futures and Predictions.” Thus, we are interested in having panelists present papers in the first panel, and have opportunities to show ethnographic film, audio, installation forms, and so forth, in the second. 

If you are interested in participating, please contact us. Abstracts for papers will be due March 31st. There will be some funding available for EASA members!