Framing, Compiling, Sampling: Sensory Practices in Cultural Analysis

Країна: Швейцарія

Місто: Basel

Тези до: 10.10.2014

Дати: 23.04.15 — 25.04.15

Область наук: Культурологія;

Е-мейл Оргкомітету: silvy.chakkalakal@unibas.ch

Організатори: Swiss Society for Folklore Studies and Swiss Society for Ethnology In cooperation with the Department for Anthropology and European Ethnology, Basel

 

Given the enduring debate about materiality within the Social Sciences, it is clear that ma- terial objects fundamentally influence the lives of people. The cultural-analytical engagement with these ‘socio-material networks’ involves both an aesthetic and a sensory dimension, which arise out of the objects themselves and their perceptible presence. This also originates from our understanding of the very practice of  anthropological  research:  Our  academic  concepts and practices, our choices of topics and material, its arrangements and representation create certain aesthetics. ‘Material’ – the German term ‘Stoff’ (substance, matter, narrative material, fabric, topic) makes this even clearer – has a polysemantic meaning especially in relation to practices of research and their different forms of medialisation: Be it in ethnographic or archival work, we are dealing with fabric and material understood both as something physical as well as aesthetic concentrations. How can we make these differentiations of the ‘material’ fruitful for cultural  analysis?

The aim of the conference is to instigate a theoretically and methodologically informed debate about the consequences of such a dual understanding of material and materiality. We are interested in an exchange about practices of working with the miscellaneous fabrics and materials, which scholars produce and select as part of their daily practice. Alongside research notes, interview recordings or film sequences, we also want to take a look at lesser-discussed, more individually-manufactured media. Margaret Mead serves as an iconic example here: During her fieldwork, she collected histories, stories and myths, typed these narrations on tiny index cards and put these into small boxes or bound them together to self-made notebooks. Precisely such processes of collecting stories, images, sounds and other material, their storage in specific containers and their (re)arranging for the ethnographic text reveal a lot about the research as well as its researchers. The fabric of cultural analysis is made and influenced by its motives, materials and themes in thickened and concentrated form. Thus, what qualifies as cultural-anthropological material and how do we deal with it during the research process? What are the effects of certain material when it comes to their epistemic authority, their mediality and aesthetic? What role does our sensation of the fabric play? How is ‘material’ produced and designed  by  researchers?

Studying the texture and property of cultural-anthropological material is very much connected with challenging researchers’ engagement with objects, images and narratives. The terms ‘Framing’, ‘Compiling’, ‘Sampling’ characterize not only practices of representation of cultural-analytical knowledge but, moreover, they hint at the very practices of its constitution. How do researchers deal with the sensory, narrative and poetic aspects of cultural material? How do we transfer expression and the semantic surplus into academic media (image, film, sound, display, text, exhibition) and what happens during these transmissions? How does the field’s sensory-aesthetic logics interact and interfere with the anthropological research processes?

We invite proposals for 20-minute talks (in German or English). Prospective contributions may address one of the following aspects, but are not limited to:

  • Framing, Compiling, Sampling as research approaches within your own field of study and/or
  • practices or forms of Framing, Compiling, Sampling in contemporary or historical ethnographic contexts and/or
  • specific collections of fabrics, narratives, media and material.

In addition to the talks, there will be an opportunity for several shorter presentations as part of a roundtable discussion. Participants who would like to apply for these slots should prepare presentations for approx. 10 minutes. This may be a more suitable slot for ‘work in progress’ submissions. Additionally, you can apply with other media formats (film-, exhibition-, sound-, photographic projects, display, blog, novel, etc.). There will be the possibility to exhibit works of participants.

For the proposal of your talk or roundtable presentation, please include the paper title, a short bio, and a brief abstract of no more than 300 words. Send your proposal to Sabine Eggmann (sabine.eggmann@unibas.ch) until October 10, 2014. Participants will be informed by the end of November 2014 about the results. Costs for accommodation for the duration of the conference and travel expenses of invited speakers will be covered by the organising institutions.

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