Eva-Maria Hardtmann, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Exploring Our Outer Boundaries of Anthropological Writing

Writing is a central part of social anthropology. During this seminar I hope we could have a more general discussion based on our own experiences. How do we as anthropologists relate to forms of writing other than the social scientific, outside of the academic world? To open the discussion I will take my own experiences of writing and editing as examples, to reveal how I have explored my own outer limits for social scientific writing. Having specialized in social movements I have had many reasons to reflect on my own role in relation to the field and activist writings, but also in relation to popular science, poetry, fiction and journalistic writings. Where does ethnography meet fiction and where does it merge with poetry to become ethnographic poetry?

Anthropological writing is a subject that has been thoroughly discussed throughout the years in the context of “collaborative ethnography”, “performative ethnography”, “para-ethnography” and “dialogical writings”, to list a few examples (Lassiter 2005, Holmes and Marcus 2005). Scholars have written auto-ethnography (Khosravi 2010), reflected on the borders between ethnography and fiction (Narayan 1999), and put the anthropologist as writer in the context of the 21st century (Wulff, ed. 2016). What about border crossings and the pros and cons of trying to maintain recognizable borders between social scientific writing and other genres of writing?

Eva-Maria Hardtmann is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. Her current project focuses on the prison abolition movement in the U.S., which is partly run by formerly incarcerated women. She is the author of The Dalit Movement in India: Local Practices, Global Connections (2009) and South Asian Activists in the Global Justice Movement (2017). She has also co-edited Berättelsen på min rygg (2006), a volume with Dalit short-stories; co-edited a volume with Dalit poetry and art, Detta land som aldrig var vår moder (2006); and co-authored the fiction story Vårpall (2016).

All seminars in the series.