We focus on stories not to entertain but to convey textures of the lives that we encounter during our fieldworks. Our stories would allow data, observations, interviews and all that are experienced by us during the research to be told with humane care and scientific diligence.
Storytelling is an act of portraying the world-making practices and experimentation with realities. We teach this act within the framework of social and cultural anthropology. Therefore, we bring scientific thinking and storytelling as the oldest form of knowledge sharing together to explain how a researcher experiences the world of others.
We recommend these readings to learn more about storytelling:
1- Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman
2- How our lives become stories by Paul John Eakin
3- The Storyteller by Walter Benjamin
4- The Politics of Storytelling by Micheal Jackson
Our interest in stories and storytelling is anthropological. We tell stories to reveal the logics of certain cultural codes and complexities of social interactions. Anthropological storytelling is not limited into the discipline of anthropology but it is a trans/interdisciplinary approach based in ethnography and fieldworking. Our act of storytelling is theoretically driven, methodologically conscious and structurally clear. We ask our students to narrate stories not through opinions, sensationalism and empty poetry. They learn how to frame arguments into the stories by considering two elements: (1) Theory (2) Positionality.
We recommend this reading to understand the power of storytelling:
Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, 2016.
The fundamental component of our hands-on anthropology is ethnography and fieldworking. We add imagination and imaginative thinking to fieldwork-encounters by asking how silences matter and how can scientific research explain inconsistencies and paradoxes. We advise to see imaginative ethnography as follow:
1) Imaginative ethnography finds itself always in-between and refuses to accept binaries and dualities as given. Imaginative ethnography traces the progress of how fragmented social factors and cultural elements relate to each other without truly knowing each other.
2) Imaginative ethnography does not make-up connection and relations but it speculatively finds how everything, seen or unseen, produce social complexities, cultural variation and perplexities.
3) Imaginative ethnography investigates arts of existence by following everything and everyone within a network of relationships. It asks how objects become evocative? How humans can stand in solidarity with nonhumans? How individuals shape groups?
we recommend this reading:
1) Kazubowski-Houston, Magdalena, and Virginie Magnat. "Introduction to Special Issue: The Transdisciplinary Travels of Ethnography." Cultural Studies↔ Critical Methodologies(2017): 1532708617737100.
Positionality & Reflexivity
The act of anthropological storytelling offers an inventory of the (in)visible world. In words of John Berger, metaphor after metaphor was given to portray a world of others. Therefore, our hands-on anthropology encourages to probe the position of the storyteller who unpacks the metaphors. We point at the offered metaphors and inquire how the storyteller reached at them and how certain metaphors were chosen. This is why our hands-on anthropology is de-constructive and informed of its positionality.
Finally after positionality, we step further and ask what a story does to the storyteller? How an anthropologist changes because of stories that she narrates or encounters? We believe this question is the step toward engaged and socially relevant scholarship. Our hands-anthropology is reflexive and it demands students to think about their positions during the knowledge making process.
we recommend these readings:
1) Kohl, Ellen, and Priscilla McCutcheon. "Kitchen table reflexivity: negotiating positionality through everyday talk." Gender, Place & Culture 22, no. 6 (2015): 747-763.
3) Haraway, D. "Situated knowledges and the persistence of vision." Intersectionality: A Foundations and Frontiers Reader(2014): 41-48.
Hands-on anthropology require hands-on teaching. We practice constantly what we teach. Everyday during the summer school our guest lecturers present their long time projects and explain the stories that they have narrated during their academic trajectories. Then, the students under supervision of the course instructor analyse and critically reflect on those stories. They learn what are the forms of storytelling and how stories become scientifically valid through group work and P2P conversations.
After three guest lectures, the students experiment with sensory ethnography. They listen to music and try to imagine stories for the selected music. They learn to articulate the unfamiliar sound through speculative theories and fictions.
Finally, the students are taken to an excursion. Sometimes they attend festivals and conduct ethnography of the cultural festivals or sometimes they end up in an antique shop then they write stories of unfamiliar objects.
Hands-on anthropology teaches through experimentation with sensory observation of materials, materiality and sound. During 14 days summer school hands-on anthropology takes students’ hands and persuades them to come out of their skin and see, feel and sense differently. Hands-on anthropology is a crush course on participant-observation, photo-elicitation, sensory-ethnography and creative non-fiction writing.
we recommend you just join us and no need to read anything in advance!