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Briohny Doyle

Contributor, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

About Briohny

Briohny Doyle is the author of the Cli-Fi novel The Island Will Sink, and the nonfiction book Adult Fantasy. She is a Lecturer in Creative Practice (writing and literature) at Deakin University.

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EFieldnotes : The Makings of Anthropology in the Digital World

Roger Sanjek, Susan W. Tratner | University of Pennsylvania Press (2016) | ISBN: 9780994606808

In this volume, sixteen distinguished scholars address the impact of digital technologies on how anthropologists do fieldwork and on what they study. With nearly three billion Internet users and more than four and a half billion mobile phone owners today, and with an ever-growing array of electronic devices and information sources, ethnographers confront a vastly different world from just decades ago, when fieldnotes produced by hand and typewriter were the professional norm.

Reflecting on fieldwork experiences both off- and online, the contributors survey changes and continuities since the classic volume Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology, edited by Roger Sanjek, was published in 1990. They also confront ethical issues in online fieldwork, the strictures of institutional review boards affecting contemporary research, new forms of digital data and mediated collaboration, shifting boundaries between home and field, and practical and moral aspects of fieldnote recording, curating, sharing, and archiving.

The essays draw upon fieldwork in locales ranging from Japan, Liberia, Germany, India, Jamaica, Zambia, to Iraqi Kurdistan, and with diaspora groups of Brazilians in Belgium and Indonesians of Hadhrami Arab descent. In the United States, fieldwork populations include urban mothers of toddlers and young children, teen tech users, Bitcoin traders, World of Warcraft gamers, online texters and bloggers, and anthropologists themselves.

With growing interest in both traditional and digital ethnographic methods, scholars and students in anthropology and sociology, as well as in computer and information sciences, linguistics, social work, communications, media studies, design, management, and policy fields, will find much of value in this engaging and accessibly written volume.

Contributors: Jenna Burrell, Lisa Cliggett, Heather A. Horst, Jean E. Jackson, Graham M. Jones, William W. Kelly, Diane E. King, Jordan Kraemer, Rena Lederman, Mary H. Moran, Bonnie A. Nardi, Roger Sanjek, Bambi B. Schieffelin, Mieke Schrooten, Martin Slama, Susan W. Tratner.

Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

View all of Briohny's posts on Platypus: The CASTAC Blog.

Dramatising the Future

This is the third in a series of posts by scholars who attended the Anthropocene Campus Melbourne, an event hosted in September by Deakin University as part of the larger Anthropocene Curriculum project. Over the four days of the Campus, 110 participants from 49 universities (plus several art institutions and museums) attended keynotes, art exhibits, fieldtrips, and workshops based around the theme of ‘the elemental’.

Earlier this year, at the Emerging Writers Festival panel on ‘Writing the Anthropocene’, I was asked if I thought that, in imagining a future world for my 2016 novel The Island Will Sink, I also had an ethical responsibility to ‘get it right’. The question was asked by a writer who also worked as a sustainability officer in community organisations. It led to more uncomfortable questions: As a writer of fiction, is it a problem to use the predicted extinctions and environmental catastrophes of the not too distant future to produce (amongst other things) stakes in a literary production? (more…)