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AAA2019 Roundtable: Multimodal Methods in Changing Climates

  • Vancouver Convention Centre (map)


Multimodal Methods in Changing Climates: Do the Traditional Methods Still Apply?

American Anthropological Association 2019 Meetings

Abstract: Anthropologists find themselves in a variety of rapidly changing climates with shifting political, social, and environmental realities. However, the standard anthropological methods toolkit of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and open-ended surveys we equip our students with has not changed much in almost 150 years. How useful is it as a strategy, then, in modern shifting and transnational realities? Anthropologists must grapple with a host of complex aspects of modernity including transnational and diasporic populations, the influence of emergent information and communication technologies, and a general sense of global precarity which has permeated many people’s lives. What is clear is that we must prepare new anthropologists in ethically and methodologically sound ways.

This roundtable starts with the basic question: Do the same cultural anthropological methodologies still meet the needs of anthropologists and the communities they work with? From there, we will explore how multimodal and community-based approaches to data collection and analysis could supplement and deepen traditional strategies. These strategies include such varied methods as digital storytelling, sensory ethnography, fictional ethnography, theater and improvisation, community-based research, graffiti walls, and many others. Drawing on their experience in filmmaking, community organizing, and ethnography, panelists and audience members will discuss ways in which innovative approaches to methodologies can aid in anthropological data collection and analysis regardless of the context. Come prepared to actively engage and share ideas with others on how anthropological methods can adapt to our changing climates.

Chair: Jason Miller – Assistant Professor, Washburn University

Chair: Carylanna Taylor – Anthropologist & Filmmaker, First Encounter Productions

Roundtable Presenter: Jennifer Syvertsen – Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside

Roundtable Presenter: Dave Paulson – PhD Candidate, Temple University, Department of Anthropology

Roundtable Presenter: Jerome W. Crowder – Associate Director, Associate Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch

Roundtable Presenter: Rachel George – Whitman College

Roundtable Presenter: Matthew Durington – Professor, Director of Community Engagement, Towson University

Earlier Event: November 8
Dystopia Sci-Fi Con