In the service of our larger goal of curating conversations around ethnography, we are proud to partner with New Books Network to bring to you the Ethnographic Marginalia podcast. Each episode features an ethnographer. We discuss not the theoretical and conceptual innovation their ethnographic research made possible but the messy pleasures and tricky feelings of ethnographic practice in and of itself.



March 25 2022

In Conversation with Dr. Jason de Leon

episode 17

How can you integrate archaeology and photography with ethnographic research to understand the experiences of clandestine migrants? Today we talk with Jason de Leon, professor of Anthropology and Chicano/a Studies at UCLA, Director of the Undocumented Migration Project. Jason talks about how he drew on a mixture of ethnography, interviews, forensics, and archaeology of the objects left behind by migrants to write The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (U California Press, 2015). He then explains how he shifted to studying Honduran human smugglers for Soldiers and Kings, his current project. Finally, he talks about how he integrated photography into this more recent research, reflecting on the potential for integrating still images into ethnographic work.

Click here to listen (redirects to the New Books Network page)

January 14 2022

Ethnography in Rural Indonesia: in Conversation with Dr. Tania Li

episode 16

What can years of ethnographic engagement with rural Indonesia teach us about capitalism, development, and resistance? On this episode of Ethnographic Marginalia, our guest is Dr. Tania Li, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Tania tells us about three decades of research on development programs, local activism, and class formation in rural Indonesia. She talks about her own frustrations as a development practitioner led her to study development programs for the book The Will to Improve. She then describes how research over 20 years on how families’ lives changed with the introduction of capitalist relations in rural Indonesian highlands led to her next book, Land’s End. Finally, she explains the collaborative methodology behind her new book Plantation Life: Corporate Occupation in Indonesia’s Oil Palm Zone (Duke UP, 2021), co-authored with Pujo SemediShe talks about the insights that emerged from their different perspectives and positionality, how they used the project to inspire a whole generation of Indonesian anthropologists, and their joint efforts to avoid a colonial dynamic in their writing process.

Click here to listen (redirects to the New Books Network page)

29 November 2021

An Ethnography of Tourism and Globalization: in conversation with Dr. Annie Hikido

episode 15

How do Black women entrepreneurs in South Africa play off westerners’ fear and desire for impoverished townships through home-based tourist accommodations? This episode’s guest is Dr. Annie Hikido, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colby College. She tells us how her racialized experiences growing up as a Japanese-American woman in California pushed her to become an ethnographer and race scholar. She then describes the ethnographic experiences behind her wonderful new article in Qualitative Sociology, “Making South Africa Safe: The Gendered Production of Black Place on the Global Stage,” in which she stayed with Black women in marginalized South African townships who open their homes to mostly-white tourists. She explains both these women’s public-facing performances of themselves to their visitors, as well as the behind-the-scenes and community efforts that went into presenting the townships as a safe space. She then reflects on how the women and community members understood her as an Asian-American woman and researcher, before describing her ongoing relationships with the women and the current state of her research given the pandemic.

Click here to listen (redirects to the New Books Network page)

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