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Uncertain methods, elusive lives: exploring the methodological and relational horizons of doing research with more-than-humans 
Paul Keil (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Kymberley Chu (Princeton University)
Kieran O'Mahony (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
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Tuesday 23 July, -, -Wednesday 24 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel explores more-than-human ethnographic research that is engaged with lifeforms and worlds that seem elusive, evasive, and illusive. We critically examine how these qualities emerge and are co-produced methodologically through (multi)disciplinary modes of relating/knowing.

Long Abstract:

Not all lifeforms equally cooperate with researchers, either as subjects or co-producers of knowledge. In this panel, we are curious about the uneven ways organisms and multispecies assemblages become available to different modes of observation, engagement, and conceptualisation. And how researchers, including anthropologists, apply methodological and epistemological approaches that enact, apprehend, and stabilise certain more-than-human affects and realities at the inevitable expense of others.

We invite papers that encounter, are confronted with, or even enchanted by nonhuman subjects who are perplexing, shapeshifting, lack obvious centres of call, or exist through uncanny spatial-temporal scales. Ethnographers engaged with beings and worlds that seem elusive, atmospheric, evasive, feral, or illusive, whether they be amphibious, subterranean, woody, or aerial; nocturnal or crepuscular; microscopic or gargantuan. And questions that analyse how these qualities are relationally produced during research through different bodies, scientific tools, disciplinary techniques and practices.

We encourage papers that not only critically address methodological and empirical challenges, but see them as affordances for interdisciplinary collaboration, political intervention, and ethical revaluation. Presentations that question how multispecies ethnography (over/under) privileges particular lifeworlds, interactions, and assemblages; explore the ways co-produced knowledges open-up risky, harmful, benign, convivial, or caring futures; or reflect on the value of being vulnerable to and staying with uncertainty and messiness, instead of necessarily seeking to improve apprehension. Such questions are prescient, since they grapple with the limits of disciplinary modes of relating/knowing, the indeterminacy of more-than-human horizons, and our embroilment in Others’ lives during unstable political and ecological conditions.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -
Session 3 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -