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SoA Lecture Series: Dr. Betsy Krause, "The Pedagogy of Figs: Unripe Lessons for an Ethnographer"


Nov 5 2020 - 2:00pm

Thursday, November 5, 2020
2:00 p.m.

Via Zoom

Abstract: This project analyzes how place-based knowledge and biopolitics generate economic alternatives. Ongoing economic crisis has intensified the hegemony of global supply chains (Tsing 2015), transformed local production systems connecting the city and the country (Yang 2000), and led to a seismic shift in the consciousness of place (Becattini 2015). Whether historical industrial districts or newly formed biodistricts, territories become connected through place-based narratives, spectral dangers, and apparatuses of governance. My vision for this project transformed with COVID-19. This talk, therefore, takes a bricolage approach to “The Pedagogy of Figs,” in which a single “fruit” serves as a device to anchor the politics of place and to inquire into the conditions of knowledge production during a global pandemic. My intention is to combine my expertise in historical anthropology, narrative ethnography, and blurred-genre writing to trace the cultural and historical significance of figs. I lay out my journey to this quirky project, describe how it has evolved, and end with a few unripe lessons—for ethnographers and for other field-based researchers who might feel COVID-19 has upended their work. How do we sustain a sense of purpose as we live through a global pandemic?

Dr. Krause is a 1999 UA Anthropology Ph.D. graduate and a University Indian Ruin Resident Scholar. She is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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