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Accepted Paper:

Making sense of the world. Experiential and practical engagement in anthropology.  
Razvan Nicolescu (New Europe College)

Paper short abstract:

The world is changing fast. Can anthropology keep up? The paper presents the benefits and challenges of dynamic, collaborative, and practice-based methods that build anthropological knowledge by means of direct engagement with the world.

Paper long abstract:

The paper presents the methods, challenges, and outcomes of a multimodal and collaborative teaching module to reflect on the changing nature of understanding the world around us. ‘Researching the social world’ is a graduate module that has been taught at the Department of Anthropology at University College London for several years. The module combines teaching conventional anthropological methods with practice-based introduction to video, sound, and filmmaking. The module is collaborative, interactive, and interdisciplinary. Students are encouraged to work in small teams for several weeks to research a topic of their choice. Throughout this process, students present work-in-progress in weekly media labs. The constant in-class feedback, discussions that can be sensitive and heated, independent group time, and personalized guidance represent main learning methods. Overall, the module introduces students to elements from different disciplines, including anthropology, filmmaking, visual and sound studies, new media, and the arts.

The paper discusses the benefits and challenges such practice-based modules have in terms of engaging with, representing, and understanding the world and in the dissemination of student perspectives. For example, most students typically appreciate the experiential and more inclusive kind of ‘reading’ of the world and the promises of a multi-disciplinary approach prompted by anthropology. However, these come at different costs, such as the issues around a relatively steep learning curve, the continued competition between projects, and the unexpected visibility of student work. The paper reports all these issues to plea for a more dynamic, experiential, and practical engagement with the world around us.

Panel P10
Multimodality, Collaboration and Co-curation as Critical Anthropological Pedagogy
  Session 3 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -