2019 African Critical Inquiry Workshop: African Ethnographies


The African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) is pleased to announce that the
2019 ACIP workshop will be African Ethnographies. The project was proposed and will
be organized by colleagues at the University of the Western Cape, Jung Ran
Annachiara Forte (Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Sociology) and Sakhumzi
Mfecane (Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology and Sociology).
Activities will take place in Cape Town, South Africa.

African Ethnographies

While the practice of ethnography has a long history in Africa, insufficient debate
has emerged around it recently on the African continent. Far from being specific only to
anthropology, ethnography has become a widespread mode of knowing inside and
outside academic spaces. We would like to prompt reflection around this concept and
practice, which is slippery, changing, dense, polysemic, and composed of a plurality of
voices. The African Ethnographies workshop will raise questions about ethnography
across disciplines, its contemporary forms – not exclusively written, and its publics.
Ethnography enables conceptual work that transcends simple divides between the
empirical, the methodological, and the theoretical. The workshop is particularly
interested in understanding how ethnography and its conceptual work can allow us to
grasp the complexities of contemporary African worlds, their precariousness, and their
becomings. We are interested in exploring: (1) the work of theorization that
ethnography makes possible; (2) understandings of public ethnography today; and
finally (3) ways to re-rethink ethnography from the African continent. The workshop
seeks to open a space of dialogue by bringing together emerging scholars across
different disciplines and from institutions across Africa. By engaging in discussions
around theory, methods, public engagements, and ethnographic sensibilities and
modes of expression, we hope to better understand the challenges of doing
ethnography in Africa’s contemporary worlds. The workshop will include a performance/
lecture that explores the performative potential of ethnographic work and will result in
both an edited book and a film about ethnography based on the workshop and
interviews with participants.

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Founded in 2012, the African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) is a partnership
between the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape in
Cape Town and the Laney Graduate School of Emory University in Atlanta. Supported
by donations to the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund, the ACIP fosters thinking and
working across public cultural institutions, across disciplines and fields, and across
generations. It seeks to advance inquiry and debate about the roles and practice of
public culture, public cultural institutions and public scholarship in shaping identities and
society in Africa through an annual ACIP workshop and through the Ivan Karp Doctoral
Research Awards, which support African doctoral students in the humanities and
humanistic social sciences enrolled at South African universities.
Information about applying to organize the 2020 ACIP workshop and for the
2019 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards will be available in November 2018. The
deadline for both workshop applications and student applications is 1 May 2019.
For further information, see http://www.gs.emory.edu/about/special/acip.html and

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