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Person fishing in Suye in Japan.
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Ethnographic Returns Conference 2020

The conference Ethnographic Returns: The role of the anthropologist and ethnography in memory and heritage work invites participants to explore the many forms of – and lack of – returns of ethnography and anthropological knowledge in processes related to memory and heritage production.

>>> New plans due to the covid-19 outbreak

About the conference

The conference Ethnographic Returns: The role of the anthropologist and ethnography in memory and heritage work invites participants to explore the many forms of – and lack of – returns of ethnography and anthropological knowledge in processes related to memory and heritage production. How is ethnographic knowledge reoccurring and reappearing, repeating itself in new iterations, as tradition, as legacy, as heritage? Playing on economic notions of return as yield, how does the value of ethnographic knowledge shift with the passing of time, and for whom? Last, to what extent has awareness of these dynamics, e.g. through collaboration and activism, resulted in a transformation of ethnography as a research method?

The focus of the conference serves as a starting point to disentangle the complex and contingent ways that people, communities and worlds, through ethnographic practice, become entangled and implicated in one another over time. Of special interest are exchanges and returns involving ethnographic practice and knowledge as memory, history and heritage, including their physical manifestation in museum artefacts and exhibitions.

The conference is a collaboration between The Centre for Critical Heritage Studies and the School of Global Studies, both at the University of Gothenburg, and the Museum of World Culture.

Call for papers

We welcome contributions that in one way or another explore how active ethnographic engagement, in the past or present, intersects with memory or heritage processes. Potential themes include but are not limited to case studies and/or theoretical contributions on the following topics:

  • How past or present ethnographic work activates, conditions and informs memory and heritage processes inside and outside the traditional institutions dedicated to heritage making. This can include initiatives which actively engage and return to the past for explicit heritage purposes as well as cases in which the past appears and surfaces in the present unannounced.
  • The history of ethnography and its authorizing role in heritage making processes in dialogue with present perspectives, interpretations and critiques expressed by e.g. migrants, intellectuals and activists, who identify themselves with communities and people historically observed and “ethnographized” by the discipline.
  • Ethnographic returns as yield: who benefits and how in terms of political economy, recognition, rights.
  • The return of (and refusal to return) ethnographic objects and visual material as a contemporary form of engagement with anthropological practices of the past (e.g. the colonial era) and its legacies in the present.
  • Time, memory and the individual anthropologist: returns to and of “the field”.
  • Ethnography as a research method in the 21s century and the extent to which has been transformed through its intersections with activism, reflexivity, collaboration and problem solving.
  • The time dimension of anthropological knowledge production – conditions, contexts, consequences.

Please submit a presentation title, short abstract (200 words), as well as your name and affiliation to reheritage@globalstudies.gu.se before March 13, 2020 (new extended deadline).

Date and venue

15-17 June 2020 at the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Contact

reheritage@globalstudies.gu.se

Date and venue

15-17 June 2020

Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden

New plans due to covid-19 outbreak

Given the current situation of coronavirus outbreak, the restrictions to travel that it entails presently, and the unpredictability of its development in the future, we unfortunately have to reconsider the viability of the physical conference in Gothenburg in June. The organisers are pondering ways of converting it (partially or completely) into a digital format.

The conference organising committee will be in touch with all who have submitted abstracts. When the final decisions on alternatives for the conference are made, information will be posted on the conference website.

Registration

Register by emailing your presentation title, short abstract (200 words), name and affiliation to reheritage@globalstudies.gu.se by March 13, 2020 (new extended deadline).