Abou Farman @ USL

Abou Farman | Associate Professor of Anthropology, The New School
Wednesday, February 2, 4:30-6:00pm CST
(Note: This session will be held remotely)
To receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper or for the zoom link, please email zarrington@uchicago.edu

*This convening is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Talia Gordon @ USL

On ‘doing’: Discourses and Enactments of 
Civic Participation in Flint, MI
 
Talia Gordon | PhD Candidate, Comparative Human Development
 
Discussant: Ali Feser | Harper Schmidt Fellow and Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences
 
Wednesday, January 19th, 4:30-6:00pm (Zoom)
To receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper or for the zoom link, please email zarrington@uchicago.edu
Paper Abstract: This chapter describes discourses and enactments of civic participation in Flint, MI, a community perpetually tasked with recovering from crisis. While crisis has been theorized as a context within which social and political formations are reconfigured, my dissertation focuses instead on recovery from crisis as an analytic frame through which to understand how people organize themselves in relation to one another, to place, to the state, and to other sites of institutional power. Drawing on 2 years of fieldwork in Flint from 2018-2020, this chapter theorizes “doing” as an expression of a cultural politics of civic participation shaped by the legacies and ongoing effects of government retrenchment, deindustrialization, and racial and political disenfranchisement.

*This convening is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Paula Martin @ USL

“FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE: Risk, Regret, and Responsibility”

 
Paula Martin | PhD Candidate, Comparative Human Development
 

Discussant: Jade Wong | PhD Candidate, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Wednesday, December 1st, 4:30-6:00pm
Location: Haskell Hall 101 & on Zoom
 

To receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper & for the Zoom link, please email: zarrington@uchicago.edu

Paper Abstract: This dissertation chapter investigates the framing of THE REST OF YOUR LIFE in order to explore the logics of risk, regret, and responsibility that structure how gender care is provided to youth after puberty. I argue that much of gender care is oriented around two major risks to be prevented: the risk of regret, and the risk of suicide. In the work of providing care that manages those risks, I show how parents, youth, providers, and the state distribute responsibility for the perpetually uncertain outcomes of interventions. Drawing attention to how youth are cultivated as in need of protection (from themselves and from others), as well as to the embedded privileging of cisgender embodiment, the chapter illustrates inherent instabilities within discourses of regret, and highlights the importance of care which attends to potential as well as prevention.

*This convening is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Hannah Burnett @ USL

“Stabilizing State Waters’”
 
Hannah Eisler Burnett | PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
 
Discussant: Rachel Howard | PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
 
Wednesday, November 17th, 4:30-6:00pm
Location: Haskell Hall 101 & on Zoom
Hybrid Event: To receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper please email zarrington@uchicago.edu
Paper Abstract: In this early draft of the first chapter of my dissertation, I chart the history and stakes of distinguishing between land and water in Louisiana. To do so, I analyze recent historical moments in the state’s conceptualization of its coastline, from a series of Supreme Court cases—often referred to as the “Tidelands controversy”—to present day legislative efforts to adjudicate claims over newly submerged waterways by both the state and private landowners. Throughout the Tidelands controversy, Louisiana sought to maintain and extend its jurisdiction into federal waters at the height of anti-integration efforts in a gambit to secure revenues from offshore oil and gas production. Access to these revenues would have not only increased the state budget, it would have also helped to ensure the state’s relative independence from federal funds. I argue that contemporary innovations in the legal definition of Louisiana’s coastline have resulted in property claims that continue to reproduce patterns of inclusion and exclusion along lines of race and class in the region. By historicizing efforts to restore, map, and model Louisiana’s coast, this chapter elucidates the legacy of segregationist politics in contemporary coastal planning and property regimes.

*This convening is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Jason Pine @ USL With Medicine and Its Objects

Special Session​​ with Prof. Jason A. Pine, author of  The Alchemy of Meth: A Decomposition
Jason A. Pine | Professor of Media Studies & Anthropology at SUNY Purchase College
Wednesday, November 3, 4:30-6:00pm
Location: Zoom & Haskell Hall 101
(Professor Pine will join us remotely, and we will gather in-person and on Zoom)
To get the zoom link, email zarrington@uchicago.edu.

Feng Ye @ USL

“Making a Free Speech Crisis and Legitimating White Supremacy: A Case Study of the University of Chicago”

Feng Ye | PhD Student, Anthropology

Discussant: Molly Cunningham | Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 4:30-6pm CT

Haskell Hall 101

*Hybrid Event: for zoom info and paper email zarrington@uchicago.edu

Paper Abstract: In recent years, “free speech” has re-emerged as a battleground for the new “culture wars” at public as well as private American colleges. In response to “offenses” to “free speech” such as disruptions or disinvitations of conservative speakers, “speech codes” that prohibit “hate speech,” and “safe spaces” that protect historically marginalized groups (American Association of University Professors 2018), numerous colleges have declared a commitment to an ideal of “campus free speech” analogized from 20th century interpretations of the First Amendment. Focusing on the case of the University of Chicago, whose “Chicago Principles” declare that the University will not restrict or prohibit any debate simply because the ideas presented therein are thought to be offensive or wrong-headed, this essay examines the University of Chicago’s official discourse and policies as a case study, and follows some of the broader connections around First Amendment “free speech” that the case of the University of Chicago is embedded in. In other words, I want to think about “campus free speech” as a node in the larger conceptual and material network formed around “free speech.” I try to show that “free speech” has become a justification for the tolerance and promotion of white supremacist rhetoric and a vehicle for political inaction that preserves existing institutions against structural change. I also propose that there is a particular obsession over “free speech” in the US that speaks to broader understandings of what constitutes political participation, who is capable of such participation, and how ideals of transparent political participation share a (perhaps counter-intuitive) intimacy with forms of secrecy such that these polar opposites perpetuate each other.


* This convening is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Jade Wong @USL *Special Time*

“Risk. And the Moral Necessity of Maintaining Standards”

Jade Wong | Phd Candidate, Crown  Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Discussant: Megan MacGregor | PhD Student, Anthropology and CHSS

*Friday, May 14th, 2:00-3:20pm*

 for zoom information and paper email pask@uchicago.edu

Paper Abstract: In this chapter, I elaborate on one task that standards are lauded to accomplish in America’s health care system — the minimization of risk in the name of patient safety. I will argue that standards do not simply mitigate risk in American health care organizations; they also create risk. Professionals are trained to look for, see, and orient themselves to risk as the ever-present, existential condition in a complex health care system that holds the potential to lead to patient harm, morally binding them to anticipatory action before those risks come to be. In many cases, risk emerges the moment the professional spots deviations from standards, often mediated by documents such as checklists and logs, which then gets carried by a safety discourse and system that gives even the smallest of difference the meaning of risk which can subsequently escalate to disaster. Meanwhile, the same standard employed to minimize risk ends up serving other ends. It can protect professional projects and power while transforming itself into a key tool through which the safe, as well as the efficient, accountable, and even moral organization is pursued. To develop these arguments, we will enter a presentation to appreciate a stylized way of viewing the relationship between risk and standards, then go on a walk to explicate a specific professional vision that identifies and searches for risk.

Solidarity & Betrayal: An Ethnographic Writing Workshop

 

Solidarity & Betrayal: A practice-based workshop on ethnographic writing 

Hosted by Hannah Burnett | PhD Candidate, Anthropology

Friday, April 30th, 12:00-1:20pm
Pre-registration by April 23 required. See details below.

Workshop description: How do we navigate fieldwork relationships throughout the writing process? What choices do we make about representing these relationships, critiquing them, or reproducing harm? What effect do these choices have on our interlocutors and our audiences? This session grapples with the difficulties that come up when writing about people, places, and institutions with whom we feel in solidarity or in political contradiction. Examples might include: publishing an analysis of environmental racism carried out through projects in which the researcher was embedded; reproducing an interaction among relatives that could reveal a family secret to someone never meant to know; reporting racist/sexist/xenophobic/transphobic dialogue spoken by someone you developed a close field relationship with; analyzing the racist structures reproduced by staff at a seemingly progressive public school that supported your research (Shange 2019); repeating particular and/or violent language used to describe historical events and places; confronting the ways your work has been mobilized towards ends you dis/agree with.

In order to join, participants must register in advance by emailing organizers with a ~500 word piece of writing they would like to workshop. This can be a piece of framing writing, an ethnographic vignette, or even reported speech. During the meeting, we will do some formal experimentation, editing, reflecting, and writing in real time together. Please include a cover page on your writing that includes your name/pronouns, department, and one sentence identifying the difficulty at the root of the piece (your conundrum, ethical question, insecurity, etc).

Drafts should be sent to hburnett@uchicago.edu by 9am on Friday, April 23. Participants will be contacted by Monday, April 26 with zoom information and readings

Savannah Shange @US Locations & the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture

“Antiracists Gone Wild: Allyship, Antiblackness & the Afterlives of Ethnography” 

Savannah Shange | Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, principal faculty in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

– no pre-circulated paper –

Friday, April 23th, 12:00-1:20pm

register here

 Even when our ethnographic work is explicitly aligned with projects of justice and liberation, our texts can develop lives of their own—appropriated for ends we cannot predict. Taking up Fassin’s (2015) call to attend to the “public afterlife of ethnography,” this talk engages the various ways Professor Shange’s recent book Progressive Dystopiahas has been taken up by research participants before and after its publication. Given both the disappointing and edifying ways the research has been used, Professor Shange underscores the limits of ethnography as a form and speak to the possibility of abolition as a practical stance of engaging in quotidian worlds

Molly Cunningham @ US Locations

“Character Witnesses for the New Detroit: The Confident Restructurer and the Re-Education of the White Market”

Molly Cunningham | Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences

Discussant: Kaya Williams | Post-Doctoral College Fellow, Harvard University

Friday, April 9th, 12:00-1:20pm

 for zoom information and paper email pask@uchicago.edu

Paper Abstract: This paper illustrates logics of financial crisis through ethnographic engagement with one of the architects of the takeover of the City of Detroit by a state-appointed emergency manager and subsequent execution of a municipal bankruptcy that stripped retired city workers of healthcare benefits and reduced their pensions while settling predatory loans made to the City during the subprime bubble. In other words, it examines the process that both rewrote and rebranded the city’s story to credit markets to which it must turn to fund vital infrastructures when neither state nor federal government would suffer the political fallout of a bailout of the majority-Black city’s financial crisis. This crisis reflects not only structural disinvestment that has been politically contested in the region over decades (and highly sensationalized in the last) but also the precipitous fallout of the subprime crash (that would go quiet on the record without activist intervention). This particular episode in the court hearings (or, trial, as translated to the public by the media) stars a “world class” expert in the restructuring of distressed entities such as the city. Spoiler alert: confidence is key!