This panel experiments in speculative practice in the context of visual and multimodal anthropology. The name 'ethno-speculation' is proposed to refer to the ethnographically-grounded crafting of 'what-ifs', 'not-yets' and 'may-bes'.
This panel seeks to provide a welcoming forum for ethnographers engaged in experimenting with speculative methods. Broadly defined as the exploration of a given what-if and the crafting of hypothetical scenarios, speculation is a well-established practice in fields such as architecture, design or fine arts. Speculative methods can be used to stimulate the sense that 'things could be different' (Kuoni, 2014), thereby unsettling what passes as acceptable or inevitable (Dunne & Raby, 2013). Arguably, this is a concern shared by many anthropologists - after all, challenging the 'normal' has been one of the historical functions of ethnographic research. Indeed, Juan Francisco Salazar has recently posited that speculation and ethnography can be considered complementary practices, capable of enriching one another in an inquiry 'that enables research to follow forked directions, to both respond and anticipate phenomena that may not simply be held, observed and acted upon' (2017).
Acknowledging Jean Rouch's ethnofictions as a key influence and precedent, the name 'ethno-speculation' is proposed to refer to the ethnographically-grounded crafting of 'what-ifs', 'not-yets' and 'may-bes'. If ethnography may be described as the study of relations through relations, speculative ethnography would also involve creatively imagining and fostering new configurations of said relations.
This panel invites experiments in speculative practice in the context of visual and multimodal anthropology. Projects mobilising anti-colonial and queer sensibilities are particularly welcome. Works-in-progress and early-stage projects are also welcome. The aim is to share methodological and conceptual insights, as well as to discuss the political and affective dimensions of ethno-speculation.
Accepted papers:Session 1 Thursday 9 March, 2023, -
Dario Ranocchiari (Universidad de Granada)