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Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: A Workshop Featuring Dr. Maya Berry

October 24, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Graduate students and faculty affiliated with Anthropology; African, African American, & Diaspora Studies; Women’s and Gender Studies; and the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research are invited to participate in an intimate research workshop on race, gender, and violence in the field. Interested parties using ethnographic/engaged research methods from other disciplines are welcome to join us. Drawing upon Dr. Berry’s co-authored 2017 article Toward a Fugitive Anthropology, in this conversation participants will examine how our gendered racial positionalities inflect the research process and consider how we can push activist methods to be accountable to the embodied aspects of conducting research.

Spaces are limited, and participants are expected to come prepared to listen, share, and engage. With these goals in mind, to RSVP,  participants should read Dr. Berry’s co-authored 2017 article, Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field (abstract and link to article below) and respond briefly (1 page max.) to the following prompts:

  1. How do the issues the authors raise speak to you and your experience?
  2. What are you struggling with as a researcher, as it relates to the fieldwork, power dynamics, political commitments, and/or your positioned gendered identity?
  3. What do want to get out of the workshop?

To RSVP and reserve your spot, please send your responses to by Saturday, October 20 using the subject line “RSVP Fugitive Anthropology.” Any questions should be sent to Dr. Angela Stuesse at


In this essay, we point to the ways in which activist research methodologies have been complicit with the dominant logics of traditional research methods, including notions of fieldwork as a masculinist rite of passage. Paradoxically, while activist research narrates the experiences of violence enacted on racialized, gendered (queer and gendernonconforming) bodies, the complexities of doing anthropology with those same bodies have tended to be erased in the politics of the research. Thus, our analysis is twofold: we reaffirm activist anthropology’s critiques against the putatively objective character of the discipline, which effaces questions of race, gender, and class in the research process and asserts a neutral stance that replicates colonial and extractivist forms of knowledge production. At the same time, we critically examine how activist research replicates that which it critiques by not addressing the racialized, gendered researcher’s embodied experience and by presuming that rapport or intimacy with those with whom we are aligned necessarily results in more horizontal power relations. Drawing on fieldwork in El Salvador, Cuba, Palestine, Mexico, and Guyana, we examine how our gendered racial positionalities inflect the research process and consider how we can push activist methods to be accountable to the embodied aspects of conducting research in conflict zones, colonial contexts, and/or conditions of gendered and racialized terror. Ultimately, we call for a fugitive anthropology, a methodological praxis that centers an embodied feminist ethos, advancing the path toward decolonizing anthropology.

Read the article here. Learn more about Dr. Berry here.

Sponsored by UNC’s Race, Difference, and Power Concentration (Anthropology), African, African American, & Diaspora Studies; Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. 


October 24, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm


Hyde Hall, Incubator Room
176 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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