Posts Tagged With: advocacy

On ethnographic confidence and the politics of knowledge in Lebanon (September 2020)

This article is my ethnographic self-critique, and it comes from my heart. But it also comes from a chronic stomachache. The ache of clashing with ‘epistemic powers’ in Dahiye’s Hezbollah-led municipalities and in Akkar’s humanitarian space. Anthropology has often responded to such issues of ‘research invalidation’ by inviting us to accept this unavoidable ‘tension’. I suggest that more efforts should be made towards the counter-epistemologies coming from the ‘field’. We cannot remain at the ‘centre’, and end of the story…

Read on Contemporary Levant:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20581831.2020.1814036

Fieldworkers in politically sensitive spaces traditionally need to negotiate their presence in the field with local (in)formal authorities and epistemic power-holders. I illustrate how attempts at both holistic politicisation and neutralisation of the research space can question ethnographic knowledge production. Drawing upon the anthropology of silence and agnotology, I interrogate the whats and hows of ethnographic authority and local validation of ethnographic research when political and epistemic powers complexly and discontinuously overlap. By examining how knowledge is boasted about, concealed or questioned by political and humanitarian actors, I examine the ways in which a lack of political protection, as well as overt advocacy, shape different modalities of access – or lack of access – to the field. Against the backdrop of a growing body of literature on the ethics of research in settings affected by political transformations and emergency crises (such as today’s Arab Levant), I try to upend ethnographic confidence as a self-centred process of knowledge production. I instead rethink it not only as an ethical but also an inter-subjective effort towards a more effective integration of the counter-epistemologies of field interlocutors into our own research.

Categories: Lebanon, Levant, Syria, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Academics for Black Survival and Wellness: My Experience

Dear followers,

I’ve just finished attending one of the most useful trainings ever. In all honesty, calling it ‘useful’ is minimizing its effect on my personal life.

I thought being anti-racist could be a personal choice and a self-started act of contestation against White power and supremacy. Thanks to this training, I’ve finally realized I couldn’t effectively be an ‘anti-racist’, because racism is a system. And a system that I barely knew.
Thanks to this workshop I’ve developed an emotionally tangible (not only an enriched, intellectual) idea of what being white means. Initially, I had shared in this post a lot of personal thoughts and what I concretely learnt during this workshop; but what I learnt thanks to this training is also the level of harmfulness that performative allyship with Black lives can cause. This must not be about ourselves, even though it does depart from ourselves and from our willingness to delve into and liberate the White body culture we continuously reproduce – which I could so poorly spell out before taking this training.
To a certain extent, the training is conceived for a US public or, however, focuses on the US historical and political scenario. I do not think the challenge should be about how we ‘export’ such thoughts and teachings from the US – which would be detrimental to a correct understanding and implementation of black liberation – but rather about how we generate ‘incomparable geographies’ (Jazeel, 2018) of black liberation.
If you really intend to question yourself, challenge your status quo, and commit to black liberation, click on ‘introductory training’ and you will have access to the 7 modules:
Do not take the lack of time as an excuse. Whatever you do will make much more sense in the world you can create yourself after the incredible personal process that this training is able to trigger.
Thanks wholeheartedly to the Academics for Black Survival and Wellness team for the huge work they put into this training. And for calling me out.
Categories: Africa, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, United States, USA | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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