Call for papers and VISUAL prOJECTs

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What Can and Can’tBe Said: Fieldwork as Witnessing?

06-07 December 2019, University ofPerugia, Italy

Call for papers and VISUAL prOJECTs

 For those who engagewith questions of social justice in their fieldwork and/or qualitative research,questions related to the identity and the role of the researcher remaininescapable. Recently, the figure of the witnesshas been presented as one of the possible solutions to the dilemmas of knowledge,power and ontology in ethnographic and qualitative fieldwork. Compared to otherpossible identities – such as “expert” or “reporter” – the witness preservesindependence and entails authority. The witness aims tobe a truthful observer, while being conscious about its own limits ofknowledge, its own positioning and its own responsibilities.

The third PoliticalImagination Laboratory invites those who carry out fieldwork related toquestions of social justice and/or activism (anthropologists, filmmakers,social scientists) to focus on methodological and ontological aspects of theirresearch: What can be understood? What not? What can be said? What not? When shouldwe intervene? In how far do we have an obligation to our interlocutors andother actors in as well as outside the field? How do we situate ourselves withregard to moral positions (between cultural relativism and universalism)? Howdoes the relation with our field partners and possible resulting emotionalentanglements (e.g., the negotiation of empathy vs. sympathy) influence our wayof representing them and of acting in the field?

Presentations can bebased on a wide range of research related to questions of social justice and activismbroadly defined, but eachcontribution should highlight and discuss one or more aspects of methodologicaland/or ontological challenges, based on first-hand fieldwork experiences aswitness.

We invite both papers and visualprojects (completed documentaries or projects in progress).

PAPER PRESENTATIONS: Please submityour abstract (max. 300 words) for a paper of about 20 minutes before thedeadline to: The abstract should also include your academicaffiliation and role.

VISUAL PROJECTS: Please submit your(audio-)visual project (completed documentaries or works in progress) with ashort description (max. 300 words) before the deadline. In order to stimulatedebate, videos of ca. 30 minutes will be preferred; for longer completeddocumentaries, a short version accompanied by a presentation would be moreadequate. Please upload your video to a cloud drive with the link to: send a DVD by surface mail to: Political Imagination Laboratory,Antropologia- Dipartimento di Filosofia, Scienze Sociali, Umane e dellaFomazione (FISSUF), Piazza Morlachi 30, 06123 Perugia, Italy).

Notification of accepted presentations: 30thSeptember 2019.



Our Political Imagination Laboratoryalternates paper presentations with film screenings, roundtable discussions,and work-in-progress visual expositions, emphasizing the participatory andhorizontal spirit of workshops and providing an open space for academic debate,personal interactions and socializing as interconnected elements. This 2-dayworkshop will take place at the Dipartimento di Filosofia, Scienze Sociali,Umane e della Formazione (FISSUF), University of Perugia, Italy. It isorganized by the research network “Peasant Activism Project”, in cooperationwith the network “Anthropology and Social Movements” of the EuropeanAssociation of Social Movements (EASA) and the Centre for Documentary Researchat Queen’s University Belfast. Some meals will be covered, but you need toarrange transportation and accommodation by yourself.


Further Information:

“Peasant Activism Project”:;

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