Laboratory of Speculative Ethnology: Using Fiction to Explore Facts!
Design often uses speculation as a way to imagine objects freed from constraints of time, technological limitations, and other aspects of present reality. What value might ethnographers find in utilizing speculative approaches? Answering this question isn’t so easy. For ethnographers, the speculative flights of fancy typical in design are antithetical to our methods and … Continue reading Laboratory of Speculative Ethnology: Using Fiction to Explore Facts!
Haiti Photography Project
I use existing technologies in novel ways. Drawing in equal parts from design and anthropology, In May-June 2015 my research assistant Amanda Stojanov and I did a quick 10-day experiment in the village of Matènwa, Haiti. We worked in collaboration with Lekòl Kominotè Matènwa (LKM). Over the course of seven working days, we used local tablet technology to teach LKM students the basics about photography, from shooting pictures, to editing and displaying them.
Since beginning my travel to Uganda, I have been collaborating with dancers there on a set of projects I loosely call “Traffic Jam.” Many of the dancers are or were students at Makerere University. Others are members of Lifechangerz, a gospel and hip hop group based in the Kivulu slum adjacent to the university. The … Continue reading Traffic Jam
My work with Jovenes, Inc. has been a long-lasting collaboration. Jovenes provides housing and support services for homeless youth in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. A former students of mine, Eric Hubbard, is the director of development at Jovenes, and through his hard work, the partnership has kept going for four years now. As part of my … Continue reading Jovenes
Why should white guys and their dogs have all the fun? GoPros are a technology that is pretty heavily raced and gendered in form, format, marketing and use. With their rugged housings and gazillion gadgets, they male-focused, and and sports-oriented. And yet there’s nothing about a wearable camera that says “this oughta be for a … Continue reading AfroGoPros
Haitian Folkloric Dance
For more than 30 years now, I have been studying and performing Haitian folkloric dance. This video is from a performance at the University of Florida in 2012. These are the dances of the Haitian vodou, born of the enslaved people brought to the island of Hispaniola. The dances are an embodied history and present-day … Continue reading Haitian Folkloric Dance
In this piece of performative scholarship I show how the dance technique developed by Katherine Dunham is rooted in anthropological fieldwork and theory, and constitutes an embodied form of liberatory knowledge.