Chicago Ethnography Conference

20th Annual Chicago Ethnography Conference

General Info:!

The Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago is proud to host the 20th Annual Chicago Ethnography Conference. This is an annual graduate student conference hosted by one of several Chicago-area Sociology departments, including DePaul University, Loyola University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Chicago. It provides a venue through which graduate students can share their ethnographic scholarship with one another and get feedback from faculty based in the Chicago area.

This year’s conference will be held at International House on the University of Chicago campus on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Students in all academic disciplines are invited to present their original ethnographic research. We take a broad view of ethnographic research. Papers can be based on a variety of ethnographic methods, including but not limited to: field observation, in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, autoethnography, visual ethnography, and other forms of qualitative research. Papers in all substantive areas are welcome. In the past, presentation topics have included culture, class, crime, education, ethnicity, gender, family, globalization, health and illness, immigration, medicine, methodology, performance ethnography, race, religion, sexualities, social movements, technology, urban poverty, and work and employment.

The theme of this year’s conference is Life in Trump’s America. In addition to the above noted topics, graduate students are encouraged to submit papers that examine with ethnographic data and qualitative methods the processes, lived experiences, and social impacts of the current presidential administration and the political and cultural forces it represents.

Speakers: The keynote speaker will be Kathleen Blee, and the two plenary speakers will be Roberto Gonzalez and Ben Merriman.

Kathleen Blee is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Dean of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She has published widely on her ethnographic studies of the far-right, organized racism, and activist movements.  Her books include Understanding Racist Activism: Theory, Methods, and Research (2017); Democracy in the Making: How Activist Groups Form (2012); Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement (2002), and Women of the Ku Klux Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s (1991).

Roberto G. Gonzales is Professor of Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social inequality, and stem from theoretical interests at the intersection of race and ethnicity, immigration, and policy. In particular, his research examines the effects of legal contexts on the coming of age experiences of vulnerable and hard-to- reach immigrant youth populations. Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press), is based on an in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for twelve years.

Ben Merriman is an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Affairs & Administration at the University of Kansas. Merriman’s research examines how conservative state officials have developed new legal and administrative techniques to limit federal power, and more generally, how partisan behavior alters government structure. His book, Conservative Innovators, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in fall 2018.

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