Events / Performance Ethnography / Updates

An Elephant in the Room: Tracking an Awkward Anthropology

Due to the elevator being out of service, this event has moved to room AP130, Anthropology Building 19 Russell St. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Friday, January 17,  2020 | 4:30 PM 6:00 PM
Speaker: Dr. Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston, Associate Professor  Department of Theatre, York University
Drawing on trail anthropology and the notion of the through line of action, this presentation tracks the feeling of awk­wardness I experienced in an imaginative ethnography project I conducted in collaboration with a Polish Romani woman, Ran­dia, in an attempt to re-envision anthropology as an engaged, collaborative and interventionist practice. I follow the trail, its offshoots and connections to arrive at what I call an awkward anthropology, which entails a radical and imaginative epis­temic politics. Reflecting on how working at the intersections of ethnography, performance, storytelling and fiction shifted reflexivity from the purview of the anthropologist to that of the interlocutor, I propose an imaginative and creative praxis as a starting point for reinventing anthropology.

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston is an anthropologist, performance theorist, theatre director and playwright. She is Associate Professor of Theatre and has graduate appointments in Theatre & Performance Studies and Social Anthropology at York University. Her book, Staging Strife (2010), was awarded the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Outstanding Qualitative Book Award and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize (2011). Her article, “quiet Theatre: The Radical Politics of Silence,” was awarded the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR) 2019 Richard Plant Prize, granted annually to the best English-language article on a Canadian theatre or performance topic. She is a co-founding member and co-curator of the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography (CIE)—winner of the 2019 American Anthropological Association General Anthropology Division New Directions Award, which recognizes work presenting anthropological perspectives to publics beyond the academy across diverse forms of media with methodological rigor and ethical engagement.

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