Applied / Events / Public

Collaborative Ethnography and Community Activism: Where Publics and Politics Meet

Collaborative ethnography, as defined by Luke Eric Lassiter, is “a very
specific kind of ethnography that builds on the cooperative relationships
already present in the ethnographic research process… and endeavors to
engender texts that are more readable, relevant, and applicable to local
communities of ethnographic collaborators (i.e. local publics).” Over the last
10 years, collaborative ethnography has emerged as one increasingly popular
strategy for partnering in meaningful ways with local organizations,
agencies and populations and for enacting new expectations for carrying out
what many now refer to as “public anthropology.”

Working with what Lassiter calls “local publics” involves not only making
anthropological methods and insights “user-friendly”; it also involves
developing interdisciplinary strategies, including archival work, mapping
and various uses of technology, in order to provide communities with
products that are accessible and useful to them, in addition to utilizing those
“traditional” methodologies that are the hallmark of cultural anthropology.
In addition, the products we produce with our students now need no longer
be strictly defined as “texts.” In this talk, Dr. Hyatt will discuss how ethnographic
collaborations with students and community members can lead us to new
insights about public anthropology and can provide new avenues for us to
contribute to local-level activism.

Dr. Susan Hyatt is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue
University Indianapolis (IUPUI). During the 1980s, prior to returning to the University of
Massachusetts Amherst to complete her PhD, she spent 8 years working as a community
organizer in Southwest Chicago. As a result of this experience, she became committed
to incorporating community collaborative projects into her teaching. After 8 1⁄2 years
teaching at Temple University in Philadelphia, in 2005, she moved to the Indianapolis
branch of Indiana University, where she founded the state’s first MA program in Applied
Anthropology. In 2010, the Indiana Campus Compact awarded her with the Brian
Hiltunen Award for the Outstanding Scholarship of Civic Engagement and in 2012, she
received the Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement.

Join us!
Thursday, February 26th
Department of Anthropology
19 Russell Street, Toronto
Room 246

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