Shifting Worlds, Shaping Fieldwork A Memoir of Anthropology and Art
Reflecting on fieldwork for the twenty-first century, anthropologist and artist Susan Ossman invites readers on a journey across North Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. She reveals that fieldwork today is not only about being immersed in a place or culture; instead, it is an active way of focusing attention and engendering encounters and experiences. She conceives a new kind of autoethnography, making art and ethnography equal partners to follow three "waves" of her research on media, globalization, and migration.
Ossman guides the reader through diverse settings, including a colonial villa in Casablanca, a Cairo beauty salon, a California mall-turned-gallery, the Berlin Wall, and Amsterdam’s Hermitage museum. She delves into the entanglements of solitary research and collective action.
This book is a primer for current anthropology and an invitation to artists and scholars to work across boundaries. It vividly shows how fieldwork can shape scenes for experiments with multiple outcomes, from conceptual advances to artworks, performances to dialogue and community making.
Chapter One: Gathering
Chapter Two: Spinning
Chapter Three: Call and Response
Chapter Four: Vibrant Circles
Chapter Five: Moving Subjects
Chapter Six: Concept to Community