Center for Experimental Ethnography


Experimental Ethnography @ Penn

EXPERIMENTAL ETHNOGRAPHY @ PENN is a group of faculty across disciplines and schools who are committed to ethical, engaged, electric, ecstatic and, most of all, experimental multi-modal work that is generated ethnographically.

We seek to generate and amplify discussions regarding the emerging forms scholarly research is taking in the humanities and social sciences and the varied institutional responses to nontraditional genres of research practice and dissemination. 

We endeavor to coordinate scholarship, research, and public partnerships related to multi-modal work practices; to consolidate those activities in which we (and our undergraduate and graduate students) are already engaged; and to grow these generative connections in order to become a nationally- and internationally- known hub for these types of inquiry and practice.

We especially strive to build on already-existing connections with visual, performative arts and documentary institutions in West Philadelphia and beyond, increasing exchange among the University’s centers, its academic classrooms, and the city.

For more information, explore the center's website

Primary Coordinating Faculty from Anthropology 

University-wide Faculty

  • John L. Jackson, Jr., Coordinator (SP2)
  • Francesca Ammon, Penn Design
  • Regina Austin, Penn Law
  • Frances K. Barg, Perelman School of Medicine
  • Herman Beavers, English
  • Amitanshu Das, GSE
  • Peter DeCherney, English
  • Nadia Dowshen, Perelman School of Medicine
  • Marcia Ferguson, English/Theatre Arts
  • Toorjo Ghose, SP2
  • Kathy Hall, GSE
  • Sharon Hayes, Penn Design
  • Grace Sanders Johnson, Africana Studies
  • Jasmine Johnson, Africana Studies/Annenberg
  • Eugene Lew, Music
  • Ken Lum, Penn Design
  • Kristina Lyons, Anthropology
  • Kate Pourshariati, Museum Library
  • Guthrie Ramsay, Music
  • Karen Redrobe, Art History
  • Timothy Rommen, Music
  • Krystal Strong, GSE
  • James Sykes, Music
  • Deborah A. Thomas, Anthropology/GSWS
  • Tukufu Zuberi, Africana Studies/Sociology

Past Events

TRANSLATION:  Scholarship, Dissemination, Impact 

April 6, 2016

A roundtable discussion featuring Peter Galison (History of Science and Physics, Harvard); Laura Kunreuther (Anthropology and Experimental Humanities, Bard); and Louis Massiah (Founder, Scribe Video Center).



April 2, 2016

An EE@Penn panel at the Screening Scholarship Media Festival featuring Kurt Orderson (Filmmaker, South Africa), Christen Smith (Anthropologist, UT-Austin), and Quinsy Gario (Performance Artist, Amsterdam).



March 19-20, 2015 

The past twenty years have witnessed an “ethnographic turn” across the humanities and social sciences, and in professional schools, fine arts and architecture.  Whether in business, medicine, or law, photography, sculpture, or performance art, qualitative social science methods have become more common as scholars and practitioners seek insights into the everyday worlds and ideas of those with whom they work.  At the same time, contemporary developments in technology have made new representational techniques widely available and familiar, especially to younger generations now moving into academia.  These transformations have forced us to confront new questions:  How are we thinking about what the digital age means for humanistic, social scientific, and professional inquiry and practice in today’s world?  How are we using both old and new technologies to advocate for and work with communities?  What tools for research and communication should we offer the next generation of Ph.D. students, and how do we prepare them and others to assess non-text based research?  

Seminar talks: 

Opening Remarks

Multi Modality Workshop

Institutionalization & Interdisciplinarity