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Ethnography in Canada

Ethnography in Canada
Centre for Social Innovation, 720 Bathurst St.
Time: Jan 15th, 5:00 pm End: Jan 15th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Linguistics (FAS), Language Studies (UTM), Indigenous, French and Linguistics (UTSC), French (FAS), Ethnography, Education, Canada, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS)
Call for papers for a conference to be held in Toronto, 15 April 2016


Ethnography in Canada 2016

April 15, 2016

The inaugural Ethnography in Canada conference aims to showcase ethnographic work being conducted in Canada and foster a critical discussion of what ethnography in and of Canada is today. What forms is ethnographic work currently taking, within and outside academia? How do ethnographers conceptualize “Canada,” and what are the key questions informing ethnographic endeavours in this space? While ethnography has long been associated with the discipline of anthropology, the purpose of this conference is to enrich learning and collaborative understandings across disciplines and amongst academic and nonacademic parties alike as to the transformation of ethnographic practice today.

The conference day will consist of three traditional panels and roundtables, followed by an afternoon of breakout sessions amongst all participants (presenters and attendees alike) and an evening for further networking and discussion. It will be held at the Centre for Social Innovation in downtown Toronto. This is the first conference of its kind to foster critical interdisciplinary discussion about ethnography in Canada.

We invite 15-minute papers and expressions of interest in roundtable participation around the following themes:

  • Barriers to ethnography in Canada: Institutions, gatekeepers, communities, and personal limits: Barriers to acquiring funding, institutional support, ethical approval, and access, characterize many Canadian fieldwork experiences. Studying or advocating for powerful, vulnerable, or politically aspirant social groups – combined with the politics of home and belonging – also figure into this set of challenges. This theme aims to broach these topics in an open and collaborative setting.
  • Querying “Canada” as an object, field, and space of study: Ethnographers encounter Canada on several levels, be it as a nation-state studied from a number of standpoints, as a disciplinary niche with its own politics, or as a more ambient territory and social milieu of study. This theme addresses what it means to be a "Canadianist" in the context of ongoing settler colonialism, the centrality of indigeneity in ethnography's history and present, and the complex status which Canadian nationality, identity, and territoriality hold for settlers, Indigenous people, visitors, and migrants.
  • Ethnographic methods as shaped by Canadian contexts: Ethnographic methods are continually changing, variously involving design thinking, business contexts, performance studies, applied work, and sensory or experimental methods. This theme addresses how the particular contextual challenges of ethnography in Canada afford new modes and topics of ethnographic inquiry.

Confirmed Keynote
Monica Heller is professor at OISE and the Dept. of Anthropology, University of Toronto. She served as President of the American Anthropological Association from 2013-2015, and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Her work in linguistic anthropology focusses on the role of language in the construction of social difference and social inequality, and in particular on the changing ideologies and practices of language, nation, state and identity in francophone Canada. She has published in such journals as Recherches sociographiques, Anthropologie et société, Language in Society, Journal of Sociolinguistics and Langage et société. Among her recent book publications: Sustaining the Nation: The Making and Moving of Language and Nation (with L. Bell, M. Daveluy, M. McLaughlin and H. Noël, to appear November 2015, Oxford University Press); Paths to Postnationalism: A Critical Ethnography of Language and Identity (2011, OUP); Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and Profit (ed. with A. Duchêne. 2012, Routledge).

Monica Heller est professeure titulaire à l'Institut d'études poédagogiques de l'Ontario (OISE) et au Département d'anthropologie de l'Université de Toronto. Elle était présidente de l'American Anthropological Association de 2013 à 2015. Elle est également membre de la Société royale du Canada. Ses recherches dans le domaine de l'anthropologie linguistique concernent le rôle du langage et de la langue dans la construction des différences et des inégalités sociales, avec un accent sur les changements dans les pratiques et les idéologies de la langue, de la nation, de l'État et de l'identité au Canada francophone. Elle a publié des articles dans diverses revues, dont Recherches sociographiques, Anthropologie et société, Language in Society, Journal of Sociolinguistics et Langage et société. Ses publications récentes comprennent trois livres d'intérêt pour ce colloque: Sustaining the Nation: The Making and Moving of Language and Nation (avec L. Bell, M. Daveluy, M. McLaughlin et H. Noël, à paraître en novembre 2015 chez Oxford University Press); Paths to Postnationalism: A Critical Ethnography of Language and Identity (2011, OUP); et Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and Profit (ed. avec A. Duchêne. 2012, Routledge).

Abstracts and inquiries should be sent to ethnographyincanada@gmail.com by January 15, 2016.
Individual presentation abstracts should be no more than 250 words. For expressions of interest in roundtable participation, please indicate the topics of interest to you from the above list and your expertise in the area. We ask that each abstract or expression of interest for roundtable participation be accompanied by a short description of your background (150 words).

Conference Organizers
Ethnography in Canada 2016 is organized by graduate students and faculty of the Ethnography in Canada Hub of the Ethnography Lab in the Anthropology Department of the University of Toronto. Seed funding has been provided by the Ethnography Lab and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.

Download Call for Papers [pdf]

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