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Self-Fashioning and Auto-Ethnography

Samuel Baron's Description of Tonqueen (1686)

Anna Winterbottom

Samuel Baron's A Description of the Kingdom of Tonqueen (1686) contains many tropes of the European travel narrative. However, its author was no stranger to the country, but was born to a Vietnamese mother and Dutch father in mid-seventeenth-century Hanoi. Here I discuss how Baron fashioned his identity during his life to attract multiple patrons in the unstable maritime world of Southeast and East Asia. I re-read his Description as an example of “auto-ethnography,” showing how the author shaped his work to achieve certain ends. A comparison with a contemporary Chinese description of northern Vietnam reveals many similarities in tone and approach and helps situate Baron's text within the commercial and diplomatic exchanges of the region.

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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

researchers and interlocutors alike to declare a degree of ownership over each other’s biographies. To this end, I demonstrate the value of incorporating auto-ethnographic elements into the study of religion, given that claims to authoring or owning our

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'Jewish' Ethnic Options in Germany between Attribution and Choice

Auto-ethnographical Reflections at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Victoria Bishop Kendzia

This article explores the issue of ethnic attributions versus options pertaining to Jewishness in Germany. The methodology is a combination of standard ethnographic fieldwork with Berlin-based high-school students before, during and after visits to the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) and auto-ethnography detailing and analysing my own experiences in and outside of the research sites. My goal is to illustrate particularities of interactions in sites like the JMB by contrasting the way in which Jewishness is handled in and outside of the standardised research situation. Further, the material points to continuities between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. My analysis aims to open up further, productive discussion on this point.

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Jamie Barnes

This article offers a reflexive and phenomenological response to some of the challenges of the recent ontological turn. It argues, first, that a focus on embodiment is crucial in understanding the formation of ontological assumptions, and, second, that researchers have an ethical responsibility to practice an ‘ontological reflexivity’ that goes beyond the conceptual reflexivity of much recent ontological work. It conceives the anthropological domain as a place of ‘intra-actment’ and maintains that to avoid ontological closure, researchers must contextualize their ontological assumptions by reflexively sensitizing themselves to how these assumptions are shaped by both embodied experience and the contexts in which they are articulated and performed. This article seeks to enact this through an auto-ethnographic exploration of the author’s own embodied experience as it relates to demonic manifestations and the divine.

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Reflecting on the mobile academic

Auto-ethnographic writing in the knowledge economy

Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich

This article examines what it means to be an academic in the knowledge economy, using auto-ethnographic writing or storytelling as its starting point. Although academic mobility has been researched for about a decade, deep listening and deep reading in the context of ethnography have not been utilised in analysing what it means to move in this global space. To conduct this exercise, fellows from the European Union-funded Universities in the Knowledge Economy project who were all mobile academics, were invited to participate in ethnographic writing workshops and explore the personal, subjective elements of narrating their experiences of being mobile and being migrants. I aim to not only present the narratives of colleagues who populate the global knowledge economy but also analyse them and ask if certain ideal forms of narrative habitus support academic mobility.

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Andrew Dawson

personal nationalisms ( Cohen 1996 ), the relationship between national identities within oneself. In the manner of so much lockdown anthropology, this is an auto-ethnography ( Reed-Danahay 1997 ), which considers my experience of being an immigrant from

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Haptic Mediations

Intergenerational Kinship in the Time of COVID-19

Bob Simpson

domain of mutuality, obligation and affect that we think of as kinship. In this article, I want to reflect on some of these implications for the practice and expression of intergenerational kinship relations. I do this by way of a brief exercise in auto-ethnography

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Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

Abstract

The low caste, Dalit and Tribal social movements in India have reconfigured the fabric of Indian society in significant ways over the past decade. Likewise, the movement of these same groups into anthropology, a discipline previously dominated in India by upper-caste intellectuals, has created a dynamic force for change in the academy. At a time when India is vying with the global economic powers for supremacy, the people severely affected are low caste, Dalits and Tribal peoples, who see their lands being lost and their lifestyles in rapid transformation. Some from these same groups are also witnessing some of their daughters and sons pursuing higher studies and entering into the social sciences. The entry of these young scholars not only challenges the caste-based status quo in the academy, but it also forces these scholars to question their own position in relation to these social movements and in relation to Indian society more broadly.

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Teachings of Tara

Sacred Place and Human Wellbeing in the Shimla Hills

Jonathan Miles-Watson

reassessment of fundamental assumptions about the role that unskilled actors play in the constitution of sites that promote spiritual wellbeing. Our exploration of Tara Devi will use auto-ethnography as a key source, alongside archival, geographic and the more

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Porous Bodies

Corporeal Intimacies, Disgust and Violence in a COVID-19 World

Cynthia Sear

Abstract

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way we imagine and experience our bodily boundaries. While previously we may have believed our body to be discrete and bounded by our skin, the latest medical advice has awakened us to the porous nature of our bodies. The virus, we have learnt, may enter our body through our mouths, nose and eyeballs via the surfaces that we touch and through the air that we breathe. In this article, I employ auto-ethnographic reflections and recent media coverage to argue that this new corporeal intimacy has both produced and revealed new and latent experiences of disgust and violence.