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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/aara-0430


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Critical Research Spaces: Lab, Studios, Centers and the production dynamic anthropologies


research/research methods



Critical research spaces on university campuses range from laboratories, centers, institutes, studios, and bureaus. As many know, occupying a physical space on campuses for qualitative research is often in short supply. However, when such spaces do exist, there is little knowledge shared concerning how they thrive, grow, and adapt. These built research environments range from small rooms that have been renovated to centers intentionally built from the ground up. Knowing how the space, and those who direct them, foster collaborative and creative ethnographies are often overlooked in how we come to think about the infrastructure that supports multimodal ethnographic research. This roundtable takes as its starting point the dynamic role critical research spaces play as essential instruments in anthropological research. In order to do this, this panel will be virtually facilitated from each participants’ own research space (or with those present at the convention center). This discussion will engage with ideas around what informs designing, leading, managing, and maintaining these spaces in the ever-shifting landscape of ethnographic research, community-based research, digital publishing, and the morphing goals outlined in institutional strategic plans. Questions such as how does the site-specificity of a research space inform the types of work it supports, and vice versa. Additionally, this discussion is a space to think through the imagined and physical spaces themselves, their policies, protocols, and politics that all too often become invisible. In order to foster an exchange of ideas, the goal of this roundtable is to bring together active researchers who lead critical research spaces to discuss ethics, inclusivity, technologies, infrastructure, and politics. Directors from the following critical research spaces will lead this roundtable discussion: Center for Experimental Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania (Deborah Thomas) Laboratory of Speculative Ethnology, Center College of Design in Pasadena (Elizabeth Chin) Ethnography Studio, Rice University (Andrea Ballestero) Bureau of Ethnography, University of Texas, Austin (Craig Campbell) Collaborative and Experimental Ethnography Lab, University of British Columbia, Okanagan (Fiona McDonald, Susan Frohlick, and Garth Evans) Berkely Ethnography Lab, University of California, Berkeley (Daniel Fisher and Jason Price)


Transcript English (automatic)

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