Dr. Jon Carter: Writing the Shadow Archive

Event Start Date: November 09, 2017 3:00 PM
Event End Date: November 09, 2017 4:30 PM


Writing the Shadow Archive: Ethnography and Temporality of Criminal Worlds
Dr. Jon Carter

November 9 | 3:00 - 4:30 PM
Grinter Room 404

This talk asks how ethnographic methods are understood through research experience itself, and shaped into a craft that exceeds the tasks typically enumerated as components of field-based, anthropological inquiry. Recent studies of street gangs, migrant groups, and communities traversed by narcoviolence and state security apparati make clear that practices of prudence and clandestinity that are key to everyday survival in these areas, are often ellipses that challenge the dialogical and observational competence of the researcher. I am interested in how ethnographic studies of fugitive groups and criminalized communities draw to attention the recursive dimension of ethnographic methods and its claim to a novel mode of insight. In this talk I reflect on what I call the "shadow archive", as the trove of materials gathered across years of research on taboo, illicit, and criminalized subjects in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. I ask how this trove of ephemera, from photographs to news articles and fieldwork notebooks, travels with the researcher across time, producing revelations and illuminations that throw "method" into question.

Dr. Carter is a sociocultural anthropologist interested in criminality, aesthetics, and politics. His current research focuses on transnational gang communities, between the US and Central America, and their reinvention of political subjectivity through the deconstruction of everyday notions of law, beauty, and violence. Dr. Carter will be presenting his recent work on November 9 and will lead a student workshop on qualitative research on November 10.