Ethnography Caucus

The Ethnography Caucus of the American Studies Association is a network of scholars who use fieldwork in their research practice and who engage with American studies or any of the other interdisciplinary formations for which ASA is an important gathering point. Members of the Caucus include scholars with degrees in American studies, anthropology, sociology, and other fields, working in universities, non-profits and other contexts.

The members of the Caucus come together in order to:

  • Build relations of mutual support and intellectual exchange based on a common concern with fieldwork and interactive research.
  • Establish a collective presence in the ASA in order to raise the visibility of ethnographic scholarship.
  • Promote discussion, criticism, and citation of ethnographies to develop and expand the audiences for ethnographic work, both in academic and broader publics.
  • Share best practices in ethnographic research and teaching.
  • Host and cultivate discussion on the nature, practice, and problems of ethnography.

Key questions facing the Caucus include:

  • What form might an ethnographic sensibility take in various contexts and with various research materials?
  • What are the key ethical, political, and epistemological dilemmas in fieldwork and representation? How should they inform practice?
  • How can ethnographers better navigate the institutional determinants of their research, such as funding, employment, human subjects review, publication, etc.?
  • What are the material and social grounds for theoretical debates in American Studies?
  • How should interdisciplinary scholars and an interested public understand relationships between ethnography as a genre within diverse media and practices such as reporting, documentary, autobiography, oral history, etc.?

The Caucus will convene at each ASA annual meeting, and sponsor sessions for the meeting program.