Experiments in Academic Writing: Writing/Listening

Jim Clifford, Steven Feld and panel
Date and Time: 
Friday, February 14, 2014 - 3:00pm

Stanford Humanities Center seminar room


A series of workshops organized by James Clifford, Visiting Professor of Anthropology, and sponsored by the Anthropology Department and the Stanford Humanities Center.

The workshops will focus on the writing process, broadly defined to include issues of form, rhetoric, voice, politics and epistemology. The aim is to explore how scholars are pushing generic and disciplinary limits, working within a serious and contested domain defined as “academic.” What are some of the innovative ways that “topics” are defined, “arguments” framed? And what styles, media, and social relations constitute the process of representation?

The gatherings are intended to be informal, encouraging open-ended dialogue among participants: faculty, graduate students, and people from various disciplines. The format is simple: a visitor from outside Stanford will present recent work, followed by shorter reports on work-in–progress by local scholars. After a break, several other participants with relevant knowledge will briefly contribute their perspective. This should get the discussion going in a way that avoids rigid Q & A, with ample time to hear from a broad range of perspectives.

The Winter Quarter workshop is on the theme "Writing/Listening." It is scheduled for February 14th, Friday afternoon, from 3-6 PM in the Stanford Humanities Center seminar room. The workshop explores how writing is related to auditory experience. How do we reckon with the powerful, shaping force of knowing in/through sound? When writing is listening, rather than visual presentation, what forms can it take?

Steven Feld, a prominent practitioner/theorist of “acoustemology,” will present, based on his most recent book, Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra (Duke 2013). James Clifford and Marillia Librandi-Rocha (Stanford, Iberian and Latin American Cultures) will discuss their work-in progress. Paul Robinson (Stanford, History) and Miyako Inoue (Stanford, Anthropology) will prompt the discussion.

Others who plan to attend and would like to contribute information about their own work and perspective are encouraged to send short comments or bibliography to James Clifford (jcliff@ucsc.edu) for circulation to participants prior to the workshop.

The Spring workshop, “Writing with Photographs," is scheduled for Friday April 18th, also from 3-6 PM in the SHC conference room.

It will be loosely connected to the major Carleton Watkins retrospective at the Cantor Center, opening April 23rd. Martin Berger (Art History and Visual Culture, UCSC) will present. He has written on Thomas Eakins, on wilderness and American visual culture and most recently: has published Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography (UC Press 2011). Richard White (Stanford, History), James Clifford, and others to be announced, will discuss their ongoing engagement with photographs.