Category Archives: Events

Thursday, February 19th: Christina Dunbar-Hester “Low Power to the People”

Christina Dunbar-Hester

THURSDAY, February 19th
11:00 AM

Christina Dunbar-Hester will discuss her work on the politics of DIY (do-it-yourself) practice and FM radio activism in her recently-published book, Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism (2014). Following the practices of activist technical communities, Dunbar-Hester traces the activities of a small activist organization focused on low-power FM (LPFM) during the early period of the institutionalization of LPFM, beginning in the early 2000s, with an eye toward the intersection of technical practice and political engagement.

Suggested Reading:

Dunbar-Hester, C. (2014). Producing “Participation”? The Pleasures and Perils of Technical Engagement in Radio Activism. Public Culture, 26(1), 25-50.

TIM INGOLD Ways of Walking and Working Oct 1st and 4th

SED Ingold Poster Final

Suggested Readings:

Ingold, Temporality of the Landscape (1993) in World Archaeology, Volume 25 No. 2, 152-174.

Ingold, Footprints through the Weather World (2010) “Footprints through the weather-world: walking, breathing, knowing,” in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.), S121-S139.

Ingold, That’s enough about ethnography (2014)  in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4 (1), 383-395.

Ingold, Ways of Walking Introduction (2008) in Ways of Walking: Ethnography and Practice on Foot, Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 1-19.




Thursday May 1st: Petra Kuppers “Decolonizing Disability, Indigeneity and Poetic Methods”


4:00 PM

Petra Kuppers will discuss her and Neil Marcus’s work in Australia that forms the basis of her article, “Decolonizing Disability, Indigeneity, and Poetic Methods: Hanging Out in Australia.” The essay considers what arts-based research methods can offer to intercultural contact. It offers a meditation on decolonizing methodologies and the use of literary forms by a white Western subject in disability culture. The argument focuses on productive unknowability, on finding machines that respectfully align research methods and cultural production at the site of encounter. It is suggested that participant read the essay in advance of our discussion: Kuppers_Decolonizing Disability, Indigeneity, and Poetic Methods- Hanging Out in Australia

Petra Kuppers is a professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she teaches performance studies and disability studies, and she is on the faculty of Vermont’s Goddard College MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts. Kuppers is a performance maker and community artist, a witnessing critic and theorist, as well as an educator and a disability culture activist. She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an artists’ collective that creates collaborative, research-focused environments open to people with physical, emotional, sensory and cognitive differences and their allies. Her book about The Olimpias arts-based research practices, Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape, won the biennial Sally Banes Award from the American Association for Theatre Research.

Neil Marcus writes, “Disability is an art – an ingenious way to live.” This award-winning playwright, actor, poet, and performance artist earned national acclaim when he crafted his experiences as a man living with dystonia, a severe neurological disorder, into a powerful staged work. Storm Reading, first produced in the late eighties, challenged audiences to reevaluate conventional ideas about disability and set a standard for performing artists with disabilities. Voted one of Los Angeles’ top ten plays of 1993, it enjoyed a nearly decade-long run. Since then, Marcus’ passionate stance toward life has infused his artistic choices. Believing that “life is a performance,” he has cast his creative net wide, participating in a range of diverse projects.

Upcoming Events: Elaine Gan and Anna Tsing – A Fungal Clock: Experiments in Representing Time

tsing gan new

Tuesday, April 22nd
Lunch and Reading Discussion of Matsutake Worlds and Experiments in Collaboration and Time Noon at the Center for the Humanities (Literature 310). RSVP Here.

Join SED at the Center for the Humanities for lunch and an informal discussion in preparation for Anna Tsing and Elaine Gan’s talk the following day. Matsutake Worlds is a global collaboration documenting multispecies cultures and ecologies where life continues in the midst of great disturbances. We promise talk of fungal clocks, mycorrhizal life, and the chance to stuff the conversation with your best mushroom-y metaphors.

Wednesday, April 23rd
Anna Tsing and Elaine Gan, UCSC
“A Fungal Clock: Experiments in Representing Time”
Structural and Materials Engineering 304

Since the bleak appreciation that we may have to do without narratives of progress, questions of how to understand time have reentered social theory. Most importantly, the realization that progress may not produce technologies to clean up our environmental messes requires that scholars appreciate the rhythms of other organisms with which we make and remake the earth.

“A Fungal Clock” is a series of collaborations between anthropologist Anna Tsing and artist Elaine Gan. As visual essay, web project, and game, different experiments offer tools to imagine history and temporality that take into account multispecies coordinations. Progress conflates trajectory, or movement, and time, or sequence; without progress, the two are quite different. Progress focuses our attention on the unilinear trajectories of plans; without progress, we must look at landscape-making effects, that is, unintended design. Multiple historical trajectories, human and not human, interrupt, interfere with, and change each other. They trigger new conjunctions. Our fungal clock attempts to show interweaving temporalities as different kinds of coordination. It draws attention to more-than-human social relations that scaffold human histories as the planning modules of progress dissolve into unplanned ruins.

Upcoming Event: Sonic Ethnography Studio February 4th – Suggested Readings Below

Sonic Ethnography Studio


Schafer “The Soundscape” 

Feld & Brenneis “Doing Ethnography in Sound”

Kheshti “Touching Listening”

Ingold “Four objections to the concept of soundscape”

MARINA PETERSON “Everyday Aurality”

I draw on an audio recording of the Moonshine Festival parade in New Straitsville, Ohio to explore the use and limits of field recordings for a project of sonic ethnography. In asking “what do we hear?,” I move from a consideration of “What is the sound of…” toward a project of sonic ethnography that asks not only what do we hear, but how do we listen such that we might understand the ways in which others hear. Listening is a way of paying attention and being present, both by people in the world and in conducting research. Sonic ethnography begins with listening, and listening to how people listen. It requires paying attention to social and environmental sounds, ways in which people orient via the aural, how expertise is enacted through listening, and how attachments of kinship and friendship cohere around an attunement to sounds.

Marina Peterson is Associate Professor of Performance Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University. An anthropologist, her work focuses on practices and processes of city making. Her research has explored multi-scalar dimensions of urban space through the study of sensory, sonic and embodied processes ranging from musical performance to planning and labor. She is the author of Sound, Space and the City: Civic Performance in Downtown Los Angeles (UPenn Press 2010) and co-editor of Global Downtowns (UPenn Press 2012). Her work has appeared in Anthropological Quarterly, O-Zone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies, Space and Culture, Journal of Popular Music Studies and Urban Anthropology. A cellist, she primarily plays experimental improvised music.  

ROSHANAK KHESHTI “Learning from Zora Neale Hurston’s sonic ethnography”

Author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston participated in numerous audio recording expeditions in the 1930s. Rather than record only local research subjects in Florida and Georgia, Hurston can be heard participating in the performances she set out to record, often recording only herself singing. What can we learn from what I have come to call Hurston’s phonographic refusal? Focusing on the question of fidelity–the faithfulness of recorded sound to source in ethnographic and ethnomusicological field recordings–I examine Hurston’s “sonic infidelity” or how her choices have effected what sounds are contained on record in the archive and how her interventions have disrupted the mythical production of an authentic African American folk.

Roshanak Kheshti is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and affiliate faculty in Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her forthcoming book Modernity’s Ear: The Race, Gender and Sexuality of Listening in the World Music Culture Industry focuses on the world music industry’s production of racialized and gendered sounds and a deracinated American world music listener. Her research broadly centers on the consumption of race, gender and sexuality through sound and film. She has published in the journals Feminist Studies, American Quarterly, Hypatia, Anthropology News, Parallax and Theater Survey. She has also published numerous musical recordings both as a former member of bay area-based experimental rock band The Ebb and Flow and independently as composer and performer for film.


Upcoming Event: Putting it on the Wall, A Design Workshop with Elizabeth Chin

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 11.24.28 AM

THE PLAN: Participants will use the designerly technique of “putting it on the wall” to visualize, organize, and work through complex material. Bring a project you are working on, preferably one in the relatively early stages with which you are struggling. We will be working on 32×40 foam core (provided by SED), so when you print out images and etc keep the overall size in mind (don’t make them huge).

Please RSVP to Elana Zilberg or to Kim De Wolff


  • A printed version of any relevant writing
  • 10 or more printed images related to what you are working on (fieldwork photos, something culled from the internet; a film still, etc.)
  • Relevant citations/bibliography, printed
  • 5-15 key quotes, printed out
  • Other materials that you think would be useful and that can survive a thumbtacking (letters/pamphlets/trinkets/scraps…)

ELIZABETH CHIN is an anthropologist whose practice includes performative scholarship, collaborative research engagement, and experimental ethnography. Primarily concerned with questions of social justice and inequality, her work features examinations of race, class, and gender in the urban United States and in Haiti. Her book Purchasing Power: Black Kids and American Consumer Culture (Minnesota 2001) was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award.  Her course “The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie” was identified as one of the so-called “dirty dozen” by the Young America’s Foundation which listed the “most bizarre and disturbing examples of liberal activism in the classroom.”  She joined Art Center in 2011 to become a founding member of the Media Design Practices/Field program.


Putting it on the Wall Design Poster