A mindful and emotive AAS 2022

Join me at AAS 2022 to consider how we can make anthropological practice more mindful and emotive.

At the request of the team at The Australian Network of Student Anthropologists, I will be running my popular workshop on “The Mindful Writer”. Combining techniques from meditation, somatic psychology, and creative writing, we’ll discuss how to overcome procrastination in writing through mindfulness. I love teaching this workshop and it will be a joy to share it with AAS folk!

Panel: Ethnography with tears

With great excitement I will convening a panel with Diana Romano about emotion and affect in anthropology. We’ve brought together a fantastic variety of papers responding to the theme, with Professor Anna Hickey Moody as discussant.

Abstract: Ethnography with tears

Researchers’ bodies and emotions have long been regarded as central to the construction of ethnographic knowledge. And yet, long after the reflexive turn, ideals of ‘ethnography without tears’ (Roth 1989) persist, with many ethnographic accounts omitting the emotional experiences of the ethnographer. In many cases, ethnography continues to be imbued with a colonial and patriarchal rationality that rejects the researchers’ emotional experiences or demands a ‘sink or swim’ and ‘grin and bear it’ approach to difficulties during fieldwork.

This has implications for well-being, recruitment and retention in the profession. Moreover, it overlooks the fundamental role of emotion in anthropological practice. Ethnographic attention to researcher emotions, mistakes, traumas, and vulnerabilities can be crucial in building rapport, illuminating and overcoming prejudices in the researcher’s interpretations, and understanding complex social relations, sometimes enabling researchers to explore aspects of social life they would not have otherwise understood.

In this panel we ask, what does it mean to think with emotion in anthropological practice–that is, to do ethnography with tears? What knowledge does this thinking with construct?

We explore how the discipline can better address trauma in fieldwork, respect empathy as central to ethnographic practice, and represent emotion in ethnography. We invite contributions from anthropologists working in applied, academic, and creative research. Our aim is to initiate discussion and reflection on the role of emotion in anthropological work and what this means for anthropologists as subjects, scholars, and activists, as well as for a community of practice and the anthropological project at large.