Gökçe Günel: On Patchwork Ethnography

Seminar, in English, online, 6 November, 10am

How do scholars of the built environment conduct research? Gökçe Günel explores how, while scholars have been adapting to existing research challenges through methods such as online research, multi-sited fieldwork, autoethnography, and by attending to research subjects who are mobile, familiar, or themselves experts, these innovations have largely been based on the needs of research subjects. Few have attended to how methodological practices are reshaped by researchers’ own lives and their multiple professional and personal commitments. In an era defined by the coronavirus pandemic, how do researchers’ subject positions affect their projects? In responding to this broad question, this seminar, part of Toolkit for Today: In the Planetary Field, will invite researchers to discuss the innovations that they are already implementing, contributing to a toolkit that might constitute what we label “patchwork ethnography.” Participants will be encouraged to question their own subject positions as scholars of the built environment and try to map how these positions impact research projects.

Gökçe Günel is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Rice University. Her latest book Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change, and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi (Duke University Press, 2019) focuses on the construction of renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures in the United Arab Emirates, more specifically concentrating on the Masdar City project. Her articles have been published and are forthcoming in Log, e-flux, Public Culture, Anthropological Quarterly, Engineering Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly and PoLAR among others. She is currently working on a book on electricity production in Ghana, provisionally titled Energy Accumulation.

This seminar is free and open to the public. To register, click here.


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