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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/p67h-2n13


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Anthropology off the Shelf Redux: Multimodal Tools for 21st Century Social Action


critical anthropology



Anthropology off the Shelf Redux marks a return for the fifth in a series of AAA panels that began in 1999 and led to the volume of the same title, an anthology (2011) by 18 author-anthropologists reflecting on the art and the craft, the ethics and politics, the pains and promises of conveying ideas through narrative texts. Anthropologists have been telling stories to capture and interpret lived experience ever since ethnography as a writing genre emerged. Carole McGranahan calls this practice “theoretical storytelling,” a useful phrase that lends scholarly weight to material sometimes dismissed by critics as too descriptive and only tentatively anchored to research models that can be replicated and applied to confront glaring structural inequities. These include political catastrophes, moral disasters, and racialized, gendered and environmental violence. Yet interconnected debates about how to demonstrate the relevance of the discipline to real-world concerns, and speak truth to power have led to the current, wonderful moment where many anthropologists are engaged in praxis and the public sphere. Such engagement demands the use of multimodal techniques to amplify narrative voices in the dissemination of knowledge, and to facilitate interaction with increasingly diverse target audiences. In Anthropology off the Shelf Redux, participants on this roundtable offer reflections on their use of formats that are both riveting and critically grounded, including experimental writing, art, comix, visual ethnography, historical ethnography, performance and photography. We address core questions about what is gained and what is lost in the effort to stir a range of intellectual and sensory faculties, with the goal of enticing audiences to read, hear, view, reason, intuit, imagine and act on things anthropological.


Transcript English (automatic)

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