Everyone has a story to tell. For anthropologists, these stories are accounts of everyday life politics and socio-cultural processes that inform larger politics and governance. The process of collecting stories in the field and retelling them in the academic arena is most challenging during the fieldwork. How can we truly tell a story without personal prejudices and biases? How can we tell stories through the eyes of the people who shared the stories? How do we construct a culturally sensitive narrative whilst maintaining scientific validity? Finally, a more difficult question, how do we tell the stories of the objects that shape people’s lives?
This course focuses on hands-on anthropology with a strong orientation towards visual storytelling and construction of ethnographic stories through imaginative and speculative thinking. Our hands-on training emphasizes the embodiment of the method and theory in order to extend the theoretical knowledge of students through practical skills such interviewing, visual narration, and use of sound and sensory data in ethnographic stories. Hands-on anthropology brings together reflexivity and academic training to show how students can turn their field-notes and observations into coherent narratives that are scientifically valid.
Students who conduct fieldwork and collect narratives as well as interviews for their researches are well familiar with the troublesome task of turning the collected data into academically appealing stories. This course guides students to learn how to tell stories and form scientific inquiries in collaboration with interlocutors, informants, and civil society activists. Students of social sciences, cultural studies, social work, law, and business administration with an interest in fieldwork, ethnography, and interviews learn how to utilize accessible tools for sharing their research and stories from the field. This course concentrates on using ‘low-tech,' easily accessible mediums both in the form of digital-visual presentation as well as creative writing and storytelling.
The VU Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology in collaboration with NGOs, Social Activists, and Musicians brings together hands-on anthropology which turns scientific endeavors into a collaborative process that empowers both the research and the researchers. The course offers interaction with creative writers, experienced ethnographers, and anthropologists as well as refugees and practitioners.
|Course level||Advanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals|
||20 July to 3 August 2019|
|Recommended course combination
||Session 1: Hands-on Anthropology: Role of the Ethnographer
|Co-ordinating lecturer||Dr. Younes Saramifar|
|Other lecturers||Prof. Matijs Van de Port, P Prof. Pal Nyiri, Dr Ellen Bal, Dr Ton Salman, Dr Marina de Regt, Ola Plonska, Jochem Kootstra|
|Form(s) of tuition||Interactive seminars, Work groups, lectures|
|Form(s) of assessment||Visual presentation or ethnographic photo essay|
This course focuses on hands-on anthropology with strong orientation toward visual storytelling and an anthropological world view is constructed. The hands-on training emphasizes on embodying the method and theory in order to extend the theoretical perception of students along their practical skills such interviewing, visual narration, use of sound and sensory data in ethnographic stories. Hand-on anthropology brings together reflexivity and academic trainings to show how students can turn their field-notes and observations into coherent narrative that are scientifically valid.
The course begins in continuation of Hands-on anthropology Session One however, the first session is not the pre-requisite to the course. They are interdependent of each other and students can participate and enroll in the second block regardless of the first part:
The Second Session concentrates on the role of anthropology as scientific discipline and theoretical orientation in construction the world that is studied. Students learn how to weave narratives and anthropological perspective by way of ethnographic storytelling without reducing the world into construct of their imaginations. This part highlights the political importance narrative and storytelling by encouraging students to remain culturally sensitive toward the stories that are entrusted by their interviewees and correspondence. Hands-on anthropology guides you through the process of gathering stories as the basis for a scientific inquiry, using simple but effective fieldwork tools (such as mobile phones, Voice Recorder, Social Media), and presenting them through creative writing, photo essay and oral storytelling.
There can be few better places to practise this method than Amsterdam. As one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, home to people of 180 nationalities, fascinating personal stories abound here. At the heart of DAY are interactive conversational workshops at which you learn intriguing stories from practitioners and people from various walks of life. Students hear and listen stories from invited speakers and get the chance to practice and ask from them how their stories should be conveyed in a culturally and ethically sensitive manner. Working with experienced ethnographers and creative writers, you learn to construct narratives in collaboration with your interlocutors. In other words, how to turn lived experiences into creative stories with an academic appeal.
Along the way, we guide you through the process of gathering stories as the basis for a scientific inquiry, using simple but effective fieldwork tools (such as mobile phones), and presenting them through “low-tech” media like creative writing and oral storytelling.
Obviously, this is a highly practical course requiring your active participation throughout. It is organized by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at VU Amsterdam in collaboration with social research studio Pollinize and youth theatre project Studio 52nd.
And the end of this course you:
Students are asked to familiarize themselves with, ‘Storytelling as Social Process’ by Harness Goodwin, ‘Looking at People: Observations and Images in Being Ethnographic’ by Raymond Madden and ‘On Narrative’ by W.J.T. Mitchell. Further readings will be provided during the course.