October 1: Designing Anthropological Methods

Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design

How might we incorporate design methods and sensibilities into anthropological practice — and why would we do such a thing? Let’s look anthropologically at these anthropologists themselves to consider: how do they conceive of design, how do they utilize it rhetorically, and how do they perform it in their own work? (And could it be that some of these folks are essentializing (and perhaps even fetishizing) design? 🙂

SKYPE GUEST (6:30-7:30): ANDREA BALLESTERO, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University; please check out the Ethnography Studio Dr. Ballestero leads at Rice! (She also recently published a fantastic book about water access as a human right; you can download it here.)

Urban Ethnography Lab


  • We also have to acknowledge decades’ worth of work in the Digital Humanities, “multimodal scholarship,” and “research-creation,” which has also sought to incorporate design, art practice, and computation into traditional scholarship.
  • Gretchen Bakke and Marina Peterson, Between Matter and Method: Encounters in Anthropology and Art (Bloomsbury, 2017).
  • *Anne Burdick, “Design Without Designers,” Conference on the Future of Art and Design Education, Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, 2009.
  • Luke Cantarella, Christine Hegel, and George E. Marcus, “A Week in Pasadena: Collaborations Toward a Design for Ethnographic Research,” Field: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism 1 (Spring 2015).
  • Andrew Causey, Drawn to See: Drawing as an Ethnographic Method (University of Toronto Press, 2016).
  • Elizabeth Chin, “On Multimodal Anthropologies from the Space of Design: Toward Participant Making,” American Anthropologist 119:3 (2017): 541-3.
  • Adolfo Estalella and Tomás Sánchez Criado, eds., Experimental Collaborations: Ethnography Through Fieldwork Collaborations (Berghahn Books, 2018).
  • Laura Forlano and Stephanie Smith, “Critique as Collaboration in Design Anthropology,” Journal of Business Anthropology 7:2 (2018): 279-300.
  • Christine Hegel, Luke Cantarella, and George E. Marcus, Ethnography by Design: Scenographic Experiments in Fieldwork (Bloomsbury, 2019).
  • Kim Fortun, Brian Callahan, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Brad Fidler, Alison Kenner, Aalok Khandekar, Alli Morgan, Lindsey, Poirier, and Mike Fortun, “Hosting the Platform for Experimental, Collaborative Ethnography,” [was to have published in HAU (March 4, 2018); instead, posted on the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography].
  • Elisa Giaccardi, Chris Speed, Nazli Cila, and Melissa L. Caldwell, “Things as Co-Ethnographers: Implications of a Thing Perspective for Design and Anthropology” in Rachel Charlotte Smith, Kasper Tang Vangkilde, Mette Gislev Kjaersgaard, Ton Otto, Joachim Halse, and Thomas Binder, eds., Design Anthropological Futures (Bloomsbury, 2016): 2235-48.
  • Christopher M. Kelty, ed., “Prototyping Prototyping” Special Issue of Limn 0 (2010).
  • Keith Murphy, “Visual Turn III: Anthropology of/by Design: A Conversation with Keith M. Murphy,” (July 21, 2015).
  • Paul Rabinow and George Marcus, with James D. Faubion and Tobias Rees, Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary (Duke University Press, 2008): 81-92, 113, 115-21.
  • Lucy Suchman, Randall Trigg, and Jeanette Blomberg, “Working Artefacts: Ethnomethods of the Prototype,” British Journal of Sociology 53:2 (2002): 163-79.

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