Ethnographic Writing Workshop

Ethnographic Writing Workshop

Harris Solomon, Louise Meintjes, Anne-Maria Makhulu


Type: Lab

Megan Moodie, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz, gave the inaugural Ethnography Workshop talk in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Anthropology’s Monday speaker series on September 9, 2019. Her talk was accompanied by this writing workshop for the lab’s Graduate Fellows, on Tuesday September 10,

She opened her workshop by situating her writing practice in relation to a tradition of scholars who practice “corporeal writing” (eg. Lidia Yuknavitch, Jennifer Pastiloff). She then asked each of the Fellows to put pen-to-paper and draw a spiral—circling the page, wider and wider and wider, without stopping until directed to do so. For some, the experience was calming, effectively drawing the writer into the page. For others, the experience was anxiety-provoking as it became more and more difficult to keep lines evenly spaced. Either way, the exercise provoked greater attention to writing as an embodied practice. Over the course of the following two hours, fellows workshopped short pieces of writing, discussed animating interview transcripts into engaging dialogue, and experimented with more-corporeal ways of writing.