Critical Studies in Expressive Culture is a consortium of scholars aimed at assessing the place of anthropology – especially the anthropology of music, dance, art, or other expressive media – in ameliorating social inequalities and contributing to cultural and ethical debates. As an online discussion network, CSEC acts as a digital space for the assembly of international scholarly dialogues and research on expressive culture and human rights discourses, while fundamentally working to analyze, critique, and build upon this scholarship.
The importance of development, globalization, ethno-national conflicts, and human rights to contemporary anthropology has revealed itself in the recent theoretical and methodological concerns of scholars and researchers. Especially within the context of contemporary wars, anthropologists struggle with ethical concerns due to the strategic and political weight of anthropological knowledge in foreign policy. The consortium will address these concerns, examining the role that students of expressive culture fulfill within the social context of their study. The project explores how anthropology may orient itself toward public use via the study of cultural expression, and attempts to refine current theory and methodology in order to answer such central questions as:
1. How does the study of expressive culture impact our understanding of contemporary issues such as development, globalization, ethno-national conflicts, and human rights, especially in conflict zones?
2. How can ethnographic fieldwork methods affect the way in which both academia and the public see warfare and violence?
3. What is the role of expressive media in shaping nationalist movements and defining geopolitical space?
4. What is the place of expressive culture for communities in flux (i.e., migrants to urban areas, refugee populations, ethno-national diasporas)?
5. How can expressive culture act as a mediating device in conflict zones and during periods of political unrest?
Participation in the Critical Studies in Expressive Culture discussion network is open to students and scholars of any discipline. Members of the consortium contribute to themed online discussions through the Google Groups discussion page on a monthly basis, and are encouraged to submit editorials, reviews, announcements, and to initiate discussions via the Google Groups discussion page and the consortium blog. We emphasize that this is a research group and discussion network, requiring its members to perform textual and ethnographic analyses, and to submit writings to the discussion page and blog on a regular basis.
Students and scholars who wish to participate in the consortium should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a description of your research interests, as well as a statement that explains your interest in the consortium.
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