Symposium and workshop

Global Ethnography 100 Years After the Argonauts

The Finnish Anthropological Society
in cooperation with the University of Turku Study of Cultures program
University of Turku, June 2-3, 2022
Language: English

For over a century, ethnographic fieldwork has been anthropology’s key method. Ideally, it has entailed long-term living and participating in the community under study far from the anthropologist’s home. In 1922, Bronislaw Malinowski’s Argonauts of the Western Pacific, a seminal ethnographywas published, inspiring many in the discipline with its holistic analysis of Trobriand Islanders in the Pacific, establishing an ideal for immersive anthropological research in the 20th century.

In recent decades, the ideals of ethnography have fluctuated. Malinowski’s methods and problematic positionality have been criticized, as have ethnographic fieldwork, anthropology, and study of cultures in general. Problems of subjectivity and fictionality as well as colonial attitudes and imbalanced power dynamics have been discussed and debated. Moreover, the requirement for long-term fieldwork has posed a significant practical and resource challenge for researchers. The hegemonic position of Anglo-American anthropology has also raised worries about the homogeneity of the anthropological scope.

Malinowski’s Argonauts celebrates its 100th anniversary, making it an apt milestone to examine anthropology’s traditional fieldwork ideals and inspect current ways of doing ethnography. The symposium asks which elements of Malinowskian fieldwork are still useful to scholars, and in which ways have the diversification and globalization of the study of cultures as well as the ethnographic gaze questioned and altered the canon of fieldwork? In the symposium, contemporary ethnographic topics and settings, methodological initiatives and questions of decolonization dealt with by contemporary ethnographic research  – or  those that it should deal with – are discussed.

The symposium (on Day 1) presents a keynote lecture, three invited talks, and a round table discussion. The workshop (on Day 2) provides 6–12 early-career scholars (PhD researchers & early-career researchers) an opportunity to reflect on their research in light of the symposium themes (see below for CFP). 

The symposium is open for public and free of charge, but registration is required by 18.5. for coffee,  refreshments and an optional dinner which is at the participants’ own cost (50 €) at The symposium will be streamed live, and the video recording will be made public after the event on the SAS website. The workshop is not open to the public.

Symposium program (subject to change) [Zoom]

Thursday, June 2, 2022 at lecture hall Edu1 (map)

10:30 Registration and coffee

11:15 Welcome

11:20 Keynote lecture by Shelene Gomes (University of the West Indies): Cosmopolitan imaginings: a Caribbean oikoumene and perspectives on counter-modernity

12:45 Lunch, Macciavelli (at own cost)

13:45 Presentation by Matti Eräsaari (University of Helsinki): Theoretical legacies of the Argonauts (with side notes on citing vs “liking” Malinowski)

14:20 Presentation by Patricia Scalco (University of Helsinki): Disciplining wonder and curating otherness: situating ‘the West’ in cross-cultural training in Social Anthropology

14:55 Filmed dance presentation by Marja Helander: Eatnanvuloš Lottit / Birds in the Earth

15:15 Coffee

15:45 Round table discussion “Ethnography near and far: Shaking the ‘Malinowskian ideal’” by Anca Enache (University of Helsinki), Shelene Gomes (University of the West Indies), Marko Juntunen (Finn Church Aid), Tuomas Järvenpää (University of Eastern Finland). Maarit Forde (University of Helsinki) (Chair)

17:15 Final words

17:30 Dinner, Piccu Maccia (at own cost, preregistration required)

Call for papers: Contemporary possibilities and challenges in ethnographic research

Workshop for doctoral students and early-career researchers

3 June 2022, University of Turku

The Finnish Anthropological Society invites proposals from doctoral students and early career researchers working on ethnographic research projects for a workshop on 3 June, 2022. The workshop extends reflection on the themes of the Global Ethnography 100 Years after The Argonauts symposium to the participants’ on-going research projects. Participants are asked to consider what do the methodological, political, ethical and epistemological transformations of ethnography, in the 100 years since Malinowski’s Argonauts, mean in their own research. A maximum of 12 participants will be selected to the workshop to present their papers. All participants will receive individualised support for their projects in the form of commentary and discussion from the workshop facilitators and peer presenters.

The workshop will be jointly facilitated by the symposium’s keynote speaker, Dr Shelene Gomes (University of the West Indies), Dr Maarit Forde (University of Helsinki), Dr Henni Alava (Tampere University) and Dr Heidi Härkönen (University of Helsinki).


We invite participants to address questions from among three broad and interlinked themes. Below are some examples of the questions that you might address: 

  1. Re-thinking the epistemologies and ethics of ‘fieldwork’

How have you navigated the contemporary demands for epistemic justice and ethical fieldwork engagements in your own research? What are the particular ethico-political issues concerning ethnographic research in your thematic or geographical area of specialisation; how do you locate yourself within them?

2. Ethnographic practicalities: funding, access, pandemics, precarity, carework, life.

How do the practical realities of personal and professional life shape ethnographic knowledge-production and ethical tensions, engagements and contradictions in your research?

3. Cotemporary Methodological Challenges and Possibilities in Ethnographic Research  

How is your research shaped by the new modes of ‘being there’ and new technologies for producing and presenting ‘data’? Have you explored co-research, participatory methods or public anthropology, or considered their impact on ethnographic knowledge production and fieldwork relationalities? How can multimodality and different art forms expand ethnography’s epistemological base and widen its publics?

  • Required: Gökçe Günel, Saiba Varma & Chika Watanabe (2020).  A Manifesto for Patchwork Ethnography.
  • Required: Sinha, Vineeta. 2021. Annihilating the “Savage Slot” from Anthropology: Materializing Reflexive Practices. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. Vol 11, No 1.
  • Suggested: Shelene Gomes (2020): The Decolonial Ends of Caribbean Ethnography: Notes on Dialectics, Imagination and The State of Practice. In Rhoda Reddock and Encarnacion Gutierrez-Rodriguez (eds) Entangled Global Inequalities, Anthem Press.
Workshop submissions

Your pre-submitted work for the workshop can take the form of a paper (3000-4000 words), or a practice-based or multimodal work combining ethnographic text with visual, audiovisual, performative or other material. Whichever form of work you decide to submit, we ask that in preparing it, please use the given readings and any other materials that you find inspiring, to reflect on your on-going research in light of the symposium themes. Depending on the stage of your writing, your submission can be a reflection on your planned research, your on-going or recently completed fieldwork, on on-going analysis of data, or on how you grapple with these issues in communicating about your ethnographywith your interlocutors as well as academic and other audiences. Your submission can be either produced specifically for the workshop; or a recently finished piece or a well-chosen sample of your work-in-progress, which you should contextualise by adding an introductory paragraph, so that it is possible for the readers to see its relationship to the symposium themes. Depending on the level of your personal ambition for your work, we will explore the possibility of continuing to edit the presentations after the workshop towards a special section to be submitted to Suomen AntropologiThe Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society.

During the workshop, each participant will briefly introduce their pre-submitted work, but the bulk of the allotted time for each participant will be used for joint conversation, led by the main discussants.

Important dates

30.4.2022 Abstracts (200 words), to be sent to, and

5.5.2022 Applicants will be informed of their acceptance.

24.5.2022 Send your work to the organisers, to be distributed among all participants.

Prior to the workshop: Familiarise yourself with and prepare to comment on the work submitted by up to six of the other participants (as assigned by organisers).

Schedule and participation

The workshop will run at Calonia Building (room 2108) on Friday, 3 June, 2022 from 9─17. We expect participants to be present for the entire day, and to participate in the first day of the symposium, so as to ensure a shared ground for discussions. Lunch and coffee will be provided.

Travel and accommodation support

For workshop participants who are fee-paying members of the Finnish Anthropological Society and who are not able to receive funding for participation from their home institution, the Society will reimburse travel and accommodation expenses up to 60€ on the basis of receipts and travel invoices. For membership, see the Society’s homepage at Those who have submitted their membership application before the symposium will be considered members for the purposes of the workshop.

The symposium and workshop have been funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and University of Turku Study of Cultures program.

More information: contact Jukka Jouhki (, +358 50 575 0576)

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