My Life With Things: The Consumer Diaries — Forthcoming from Duke University Press, spring 2016

Unconventional and provocative, My Life with Things is Elizabeth Chin’s meditation on her relationship with consumer goods and a critical statement on the politics and method of anthropology. Chin centers the book on diary entries that focus on everyday items—kitchen cabinet knobs, shoes, a piano—and uses them to intimately examine the ways consumption resonates with … Continue reading My Life With Things: The Consumer Diaries — Forthcoming from Duke University Press, spring 2016

Purchasing Power: Black Kids and American Consumer Culture

An ethnography of kids and consumption conducted in New Haven, CT in the early 1990s.

Katherine Dunham: Recovering an Anthropological Legacy, Choreographing Ethnographic Futures

This book explores Katherine Dunham’s contribution to anthropology and the ongoing relevance of her ideas and methodologies, rejecting the idea that art and academics need to be cleanly separated from each other. Drawing from Dunham’s holistic vision, the contributors began to experiment with how to bring the practise of art back into the discipline of anthropology – and vice versa.

Book Chapters

Power-Puff Ethnography/Guerilla Research: Children as Native Ethnographers

Children can be native ethnographers, and in the course of teaching kids how to do ethnographic research, I have learned a great deal about doing anthropology into the bargain.

Barbie Sex Videos: Making Sense of Childrens’ Media Making

YouTube is full of hilarious Barbie Sex videos made by children.  I examine one of my favorites in this chapter, to argue that kids are smart, savvy, and have lots of technical skills.

The Neoliberal Institutional Review Board: Or, Why Fixing the Rules won’t Help Activist Feminist Ethnographers

Institutional Review Boards have evolved into bodies working harder to indemnify institutions than to protect research participants.  The implications for activist feminist ethnographers are often frustrating because our work is often deeply engaged.  Counterintuitively, the neoliberal setting of private industry may offer us more freedom than the academy, supporting our research agendas in unexpected ways.

Caminemos Juntos: Collaboration, Ethnography and Design in Northeast Los Angeles

This chapter, coauthored with three alumnae from the MDP/Field program, looks at the ways digital methods can be used in relational ways, in the course of working with homeless youth in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.