Accepted Paper:

Joys, Frustrations and a Lesson or Two: Experiencing Multimodal Anthropology  
Alisse Waterston (City University of New York, John Jay College)

Paper short abstract:

I reflect on experiences with two works, an intimate ethnography and a graphic novel, and describe a new online project to consider the promises of and obstacles facing multimodal anthropology. I assess institutional matters, the multi-media landscape and opportunity spaces for public engagement.

Paper long abstract:

I count myself among the ever-growing ranks of anthropologists who have long experimented with various writing genres and multimodal practices. My primary motivation is to make knowledge accessible beyond the academy; my intention is to facilitate engagement with larger publics. The overall purpose of my scholarship is to inform a vision for a more just present and future. With these motivations and goals in mind, I offer reflections on the joys and successes as well as the frustrations and disappointments with two multimodal experiments, one an intimate ethnography that combines a written narrative with an online, multimedia story companion and the second a graphic novel of art and anthropology. These experiences have helped inspire a new project, a joint online venture with Maria Vesperi that springs from our Anthropology off the Shelf volume (2011) to feature both experimental multimodal works and critical essays. Referencing my experiences and the new project, in this presentation I consider a series of interrelated questions: How to effect change in the discipline and its institutions to support experimental formats and better ensure the future of multimodal anthropology? In an already overcrowded media landscape, how can projects of multimodal anthropology be brought to public notice? Are there specific venues of public engagement more or less likely to embrace multimodal anthropology, and why might that be so?

Panel P01b
The future of multimodal anthropology: exploring venues of public engagement and academic publishing.
  Session 1 Monday 6 March, 2023, -