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Engaging Engaged Anthropology: Rethinking and Challenging the Multiples Practices of Engaged Anthropology


June 22-23, 2023


Larissa Da Silva Araujo, IHEID

Clara Guardado, UZH

Urpi Saco Chung, IHEID


Prof. Xochitl Leyva Solano, CIESAS-Sureste, Chiapas (MX)



It is not new that our discipline and anthropologists have engaged with their interlocutors and contexts in multiple ways since the beginning of its days. The practices related to such engagements are also numerous and respond to various needs, political will, historical demands, and intellectual commitments. As a result, there is extensive literature on the topic from multiple approaches (i.e., Kirsch, 2018; Leyva & Speed, 2015; Low & Merry, 2010). The workshop will discuss the variety of ways we engage with the people we work with during (and after) our doctoral studies. These conversations will raise awareness of how we can better analytically address and understand our intellectual and bodily practices beyond the theory. In addition, it is an opportunity to discuss in-depth collaborative research as a practice of engaged anthropology. What is or can be collaborative research? How do we collaborate? To whom do we collaborate? Who collaborates with whom? One way of going about collaborations, for instance, has been the application of participatory action research (PAR) (Fals Borda 1979). Starting as a pedagogical methodology, PAR has evolved over the past decades, enriching the possibilities of doing ethnography and anthropology. However, PAR also entails practical challenges for those willing to promote equality between research subjects. In this workshop, we would like to discuss methodologies such as PAR and others and address the following: What does participation mean? Does it mean developing the research proposal and research questions? or only contributing to collective discussions during the fieldwork? Does it imply doing analysis and writing together? Moving away from the extractive forms of knowledge production, another possibility for engaging the interlocutors has been co-authorship. However, again, this possibility opens new practical and ethical challenges regarding translation, interpretative encounters, open access to knowledge, and collective property rights. These are some of the questions we would like to further debate to raise awareness of our research challenges. We believe in collaborative work and commitment to improving the narratives and practices of our discipline. This workshop seeks to create a safe space for scholars to share analytical thinking about engaged anthropology and its everyday challenges. Therefore, the participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the existing concepts, tools, techniques, methods, and behaviors for engaging in ethnographic fieldwork and other anthropological work. Indeed, it will also enable learning from other scholars' experiences about concrete implemented practices of engaged anthropology at different stages of their academic careers. Furthermore, the workshop will be a meaningful space/moment to think collaboratively on how to address engagement and commitment at different moments of our doctoral research. We acknowledge that this topic is discussed constantly in multiple CUSO Workshops, but we deem it is relevant to have a workshop centered on this thematic. We also recognize the ongoing work of other colleagues addressing this topic. Therefore this initiative will enrich and open up a space for students and scholars interested in the thematic. Furthermore, this exchange will enhance the engaged analytical community of students and scholars based in Switzerland, working with these approaches and will strengthen the network.




Participation fee: CHF 60 

For students of the CUSO universities (Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel and Fribourg) and from the universities of Bern, Zürich, Luzern and Basel, accommodation and meals are organised and covered by the CUSO doctoral program in anthropology. Travel expenses will be reimbursed based on half-fare train ticket (2nd class) from the student's university to the place of the activity.



Deadline for registration 01.06.2023
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