Carceral Edgelands Opening Event

To inaugurate the Carceral Edgelands season of fieldwork we’ve invited anthropologists, writers, and photographers to help set the tone for the project with a set of short presentations. We’ll hear readings that explore edgelands, affects of exclusion, stories of encounter, and in-between spaces and we’ll see images that account for infrastructural vagaries exceeding and troubling descriptive conventions.

Event Page

Join us at 10am CST on December 11th for presentations by:

Cecilia Balli, Chris Brown
Jon Carter, Megan Gette
Randy Lewis, Sofian Merabet
Vasilina Orlova, Marina Peterson
Shannon Speed, Katie Stewart
Raymond Thompson
Yoke Sum Wong.

Acoustic Phenomenology: The Hidden Sounds of Austin

Monday, November 1, noon to 3pm (PAR 102)

Bill Fontana, known for his pioneering work with sound, will conduct a three-hour workshop, in conjunction with his commission for Butler Sound Gallery at the Blanton Museum of Art. Organized by UT’s Bureau for Experimental Ethnography, the workshop will demonstrate to students and researchers the art of listening by recording hidden acoustic phenomena in the natural environment as well as the conductive resonance of structural elements.  

Fontana will teach participants how to detect and record the complex sound patterns in the world around us. Sound will be explored and recorded using hybrid listening technologies, including accelerometers, hydrophones, and microphones. Participants will listen in the field, through a multiple headphone amp to the in-progress recordings, returning to the lab to listen and discuss the recordings and their potential relevance outside of the original context.  

Participants should bring their own headphones.

poetix.0.4 – atmospherics

Decorative image with "atmospherics" title and image of a jokey graph depicting cold, comfort, and hot.

As part of its spring Poetix Series, the Bureau introduces the theme of atmospherics. On March 22nd we will begin this thematic focus with readings by Katie Stewart and Marina Peterson. We will then have open discussion and take ten minutes to write our own pieces on atmospherics. This will be followed on April 12th with a workshop wherein we invite Bureau participants to share their own work on this theme, using the writing generated on March 22nd.

poetix 0.4a – atmospherics
1:30pm on Monday, March 22.2021

All are welcome to join this event featuring readings by Katie Stewart and Marina Peterson, followed by open discussion. The papers will be pre-circulated in advance but read live on Monday, March 22nd. These readings serve as a prompt for discussion and for a writing exercise in which participants try their hand at emitting, evoking, conveying, and describing atmospheres through prose, poetry, or other media.

Zoom invitation:

poetix 0.4b – atmospherics
1:30pm on Monday, April 19. 2021

In this workshop, participants bring one hundred words or an image as the ‘price of admission.’ The theme, taken from Katie Stewart’s writing on the atmospherics of risk and Marina Peterson’s Atmospheric Noise, invites participants to explore atmospherics through writing or image making. Writing length is strict so that we can get through everything. During this meeting, participants will share and discuss their work. Attendees are also encouraged to turn this short writing into a pamphlet/zine object using skills gleaned from the Poetix bookmaking workshop.

Join Zoom Meeting:


folded paper, needles, waxed cord – a workshop in simple bookmaking.

Monday, February 22 at 1:30pm.
postponed until Monday, March 1 at 1:30pm

For the third installation of the poetix series we’re holding a booklet making workshop and discussion of chapbooks.

The pamphlet stitch. We’ll be demonstrating a three-hole pamphlet stitch. We have a small number of kits that can be mailed out. Please contact Craig ( if you’d like a kit sent to you). Note that we’ll only be mailing kits within the USA. You can also just assemble the materials yourself (needle, paper, thread… there are lots of tutorials out there, just search for “pamphlet stitch” or check this video out).

Here is a long list of information and resources:

POETIX series, Spring 2021

“X’s and I’s: Ethnography Without a Subject”

We will begin 2021 with a 4-part series coordinated by Brent Crosson and Megan Gette: “POETIX” — where poetry meets the ethnographic. The Bureau for Experimental Ethnography — comprised of poets, ethnographers, sound artists, ethnomusicologists, filmmakers and things in-between, adjacent to, or curious about — will discuss whether an anthropology without anthropologists is possible. A spread-out “I.” A dissolving or overly-porous or scattered subject. A slippage of objects and their collective nouns. A series of speculative slow-Zooms. A convergence of scientific wonders and non-scientific happenings within the machine of ethnographic apparatuses. Less hand-wringing. Some hand-holding, virtually. No finger snapping.

Meetings will be every other Monday at 1:30 p.m. CST via Zoom

January 25: Brent Crosson and Megan Gette will share their work and lead a discussion about working across anthropology and poetry.

February 8: Guest speaker Eleni Stecopoulos

February 22: bookmaking workshop

March 8: Kathleen Stewart

‘Curatorial Dreaming’ Session

Decorative banner for the curatorial dreaming session

Issues of representation & display in the curation of “difficult” objects in the aftermath of violence

In place of our regular BEE meet, we’re sponsoring this round table discussion on

Monday, November 16
10-11:30am (USA Central)

Join us for a “curatorial dreaming” session in which visiting professor and museum curator Dr. Erica Lehrer leads us in a process of prototyping curatorial solutions to the representation and display of three or four ‘difficult objects’ from faculty exhibitions, research, and public projects. Dr. Lehrer will be joined by Suzy Seriff, Ricardo Velasco, and others in this roundtable session.

All are welcome to attend.
Zoom Address:

Professor Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Montréal) is delivering the Gale Family Foundation Fall Lecture on November 15th at 5pm. More details are available at the Schusterman Center website.

This event is sponsored by The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, the Bureau for Experimental Ethnography, the Humanities Institute, and the Department of Anthropology.

Participant Bios.

Dr. Erica Lehrer is a sociocultural anthropologist and curator. She holds a PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is currently Professor in the Departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She is also Founding Director of the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab (CaPSL) and held the Canada Research Chair in Museum and Heritage Studies from 2007 to 2017.  

Dr. Lehrer is a prominent scholar in the fields of heritage tourism, museum curating, and folk art in post-conflict societies.  While her empirical field and curatorial work focuses on contemporary Poland, she is in scholarly conversation with researchers, teachers, and museum professionals who approach difficult, often violent histories, and who face the challenge of teaching, remembering, and exhibiting these events.

Jennifer Scott is an anthropologist, curator and public historian, whose work explores connections between museums, arts, place and social justice. She most recently served as director and chief curator of Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, leading the exhibitions, community engagement efforts and overall vision of the Museum for nearly six years. In 2019, the Museum was recognized with the Award for Excellence in Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice by the Association of Midwest Museums. Previously, Jennifer served as vice director and director of research at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, a historic site that memorializes a Free Black independent community in 19thcentury New York. Jennifer is a Board Member for the National Association for Museum Exhibition and Vice-President for the Association of Midwest Museums. A civic leader in Chicago, she was appointed in 2020 by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, to serve on the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council and recently appointed co-chair of Chicago’s new Monuments and Memorials Committee. Jennifer currently serves as faculty at The New School in New York. She researches, writes and lectures locally and internationally on arts and social change, the role of public memory and contested heritage and innovative strategies for museums, arts and cultural centers. Recent publications include: “Statues of Limitation: Are Museums the Rightful Home for Confederate Monuments?”(2019); “Designing for Outrage: Inviting Disruption and Contested Truth Into Museum Exhibitions”(2017) and Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-first Century at a Post-Emancipation Site” (2015).

Suzanne (Suzy) Seriff is a Senior Lecturer in Folklore and Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches courses in cultural anthropology, museum representation, dialogue and civic engagement. She also serves as Director of the Arts and Social Justice Internship Program at UT’s Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at UT Austin. A PhD in Folklore and Anthropology, Seriff combines innovative teaching with consultation and curation, nationwide, on issues that explore locally produced arts-based education, engagement, and advocacy to museum and public arts projects. Seriff has guest curated and co-directed several nationally traveling museum and civic engagement projects including “Recycled, Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap” which won the American Alliance of Museum’s 1997 Curator’s Committee Exhibition Award, and the 2009 NEH-funded exhibition “Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island,” for the Bullock Texas State History Museum. From 2010-2017,  Dr. Seriff served as guest curator and founding director of the Gallery of Conscience at the Museum of International Folk Art from 2010 to 2017, a participatory exhibition space that draws on the power of folk art to spark meaningful community engagement around social justice and human rights issues of our time, including women’s empowerment, natural disaster, HIV/AIDS, and the ethics of the marketplace. Dr. Seriff has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including, most recently, the Michael M. Ames Award  (along with former MOIFA Director, Dr. Marsha M. Bol) for Innovation in Museum Anthropology from the Council of Museum Anthropology, for their innovative work in developing the Gallery of Conscience, and the International Toy Research Association’s 2018 Senior Prize for outstanding toy research for her exploration of Holocaust-themed toys in a climate of rising anti-semitism. She is a contributor to a number of museum, folk art, and heritage publications, including  most recently, ”Holocaust War Games: Playing with Genocide” (2018); “Between Two Worlds: Incubating a New Approach to Community Engagement and Civic Responsibility in an Art Museum” (2018); “Designing for Outrage: Inviting Disruption and Contested Truth into Museum Exhibitions” (With Jennifer Scott and Barbara Lau) 2016; and “Folk Art and Social Change in an American Museum (with Marsha Bol) 2017and  her co-edited volume (with Charlene Cerny), Recycled, Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap  (1996).

Ricardo Velasco is a social documentary media producer, director and scholar, PhD in Latin American Studies from the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. My prior academic merits include a Master of Arts Degree in Social Documentation from the Department of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, a MA degree in Cultural Studies from the University of the Andes in Bogotá, and a Bachelor of Music degree with Major in Sound Engineering and Minor in Composition and Production. My work can be located at the interface between critical inquiry and creative documentary practice in the fields of cultural and visual studies, memory studies and visual anthropology. I have been recipient of several grants and awards, including the Andrew Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative Fellowship, the Evan Frankel Fellowship in the Humanities and the Teresa Lozano Long Fellowship, by the University of Texas at Austin, and the Human Rights Fellowship of the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley (2013).

BEE meet – November 2, 2020

1. Ghosts, Memory, History

Our first cycle of films is titled Ghosts, Memory, History in response to films by Lois Patiño, Linda Paganelli, and Alan Klima. The first two documentaries expand our sense of temporal imaginaries and intangible presence through their experiments with form. The third film, Alan Klima’s Ghosts and Numbers animates the uncanny with the director’s attention to the haunting materialities of money.

1. Night without distance
by Lois Patiño – 23 min

2. Imprinted
by Linda Paganelli – 20 min

3. Ghosts and Numbers
by Alan Klima.

All are welcome to join Bureau meetings.

Meeting participants are asked to watch Night Without Distance on their own time, prior to our meeting on November 2nd at 10am (Austin). We will watch Imprinted at the beginning of our meeting and will be joined by assistant director of Imprinted, Florian Grandmüller. For a discussion of both films.

We invite you to join us on
Monday, November 2nd at 10am (Austin).
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 944 6624 5628

We will watch and discuss the third film, Ghosts and Numbers, at a later date (TBD).

Poster announcing the first three films in the 2020 film cycle

100s for Lesley

The Bureau for Experimental Ethnography is hosting an ex-situ project organized by Yoke Sum Wong and Craig Campbell.

With the much-anticipated publication of Diary of a Detour (Duke University Press, 2020), we would like to put together a special presentation of writing in honour of Lesley Stern. This will be hosted online by the Bureau for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Texas at Austin (

For many of us who know her, as friends, students, colleagues, and ad- mirers, it is recognized that Lesley’s work has had tremendous influence across the academy, and in the public realm. She has over the years shared her time generously as teacher, writer, mentor, friend and public intellectual – always inspiring us with her remarkable scholarship and writing. In her latest book, she continues to exhort us to think beyond the chronic and to turn our attention to the immediate world of the multispe- cies and the material world of objects and things that resonate with us.

Deadline for Submissions (or at least statements of interest): December 15, 2020.

Download PDF of the CFP:

Critical Media Practices

Critical Media Practices graduate seminar for the Spring of 2021.

This workshop-format seminar builds theoretical foundations for encounters with sensible and sensuous worlds. Through weekly readings, screenings, experiences, and group exercises, we explore ways of know- ing, remediating, and evoking as they not only originate in the academy but also from the art world. We look at the way these formations relate to and produce their objects of fascination. Key words like critique, media, intermedia, politics, affect, ethics, and aesthet- ics are sites of current attention and coalescence in disciplines affliated through the humanities.

Readings (which are limited to less than 50 pages per week, and often less than that) will include selections from authors like Jennifer Deger, Fred Moten, Miyarrka Media, Jacques Rancière, Kato Sadamichi, Kathleen Stewart, Natalie Love- less, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, Tim Ingold, Katherine McKittrick, and others. The readings are designed to provide a framework for collective discus- sions without distracting from individual and small-group readings you may undertake for your independent final project. In this class I also protect time for the non-textual, such as engaging in multimodal projects, gallery visits, etc.

ANT 394M | Wednesdays 2:00 -5:00 p.m. | Spring 2021 for more info.