Seminar on Migrant Ethnographies: Academic and Activist Methods, Challenges and Perspectives

July 18, 2017

This intensive one-day event is offered to PhD students and early career researchers in the context of Utrecht University’s interdisciplinary and qualitative research focus area Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights.

Date: Friday 22 September 2017
Location:  Utrecht University

Content of Seminar

The aim is to critically reflect on the role of the researcher as well as the research methods employed in ethnographic knowledge production and to facilitate an interdisciplinary exchange of research experiences and approaches. The main focus point of the interactive day of seminars will be migrant ethnographies and the challenges of mediating research practices.
By focusing on the issue of mediating research practices, we will be able to address and raise issues with the ethics of current research on migration while also allowing for more practical, generative and innovative approaches to be presented and discussed.

The seminars will have an explicit skill-building component, which means that their primary aim will not be to facilitate dialogue, but to attempt to actively generate new/alternative research methods in ethnographic work that could subsequently be implemented by the seminar participants, since the target group are young scholars who are actively developing their methodological skills, conceptual outlook and theoretical positioning.
By including some contributions from non-academic initiatives who are also involved in and producing critical work on migration, a broader space for generating alternative research practices will be opened, consisting of a mutual exchange between academic and non-academic projects.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Diana Allan, McGill University, Visual anthropology, ethnographic film-making and qualitative fieldwork of the ‘everyday’
  • Nirmal Puwar, Institutional critique & innovative critical methodologies
  • Hanan Sabea, The American University in Cairo, Doing research in precarious conditions and among the precariat
  • Rita Alsouliman, PAX, Humanity in Action
  • Ali Aljasem, Utrecht University, Doctors Without Borders


Aspiring participants are welcome to apply by submitting a 1 page summary of their work in the broad area of migrant ethnographies. Alongside your summary, please include 2 questions you would like discuss with the speakers about obstacles you face in fieldwork, or other related concerns. Send your summary and questions to by 15 August 2017. Information will be distributed one week prior to the session. Participants should come having read all summaries, literature provided by the speakers and be prepared for lectures as well as hands-on and interactive masterclass sessions.

The seminar is free of cost; however, participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation fees.
Applicants will be informed about their participation one month before the seminar date.