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The Center for Global Ethnography announces Doing Ethnography Remotely, a video-interview series focusing on how researchers have used remote methods in their work.

Through interviews with six ethnographers, the Center’s co-directors Sharika Thiranagama (Anthropology) and Sylvia Yanagisako (Anthropology) explore how scholars have used digital and analog tools to study communities online and how they have accessed social spaces from a geographic distance. 

From across the disciplines, the researchers speak candidly about past projects and how digital tools and techniques have shaped their research questions and findings. Each interview concludes with practical advice aimed at graduate students interested in deploying remote methods in their own work. 

Taken as a whole, the series begins a dialogue on what ethnography may look like after the COVID–19 pandemic.

Topics include: the use of film and video for collaboration and participant observation; telephone interviews; the use of Skype and Zoom for recorded interviews; chat groups; embedded research in online forums and communities; social media analysis; digital accessibility; the ethics of digital representation and privacy; the importance of field notes; working with political and environmental conditions that limit a researcher’s physical presence. 

All interviews are currently available to view here on the Center’s webpage

Interviewees and Panelists:

Yarimar Bonilla, Professor; Department of Africana, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Hunter College; Program in Anthropology; Graduate Center of the City University of New York 

Irus Braverman, William J. Magavern Faculty Scholar; Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Geography; University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Christine Hine, Professor of Sociology, University of Surrey

Heather Horst, Director of the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University 

John L. Jackson, Jr., Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication; Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Anthropology, and Africana Studies; University of Pennsylvania 

Sarah Pink, Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab; Professor, Department of Human Centered Computing; Department of Design; Monash University

A live Q&A session with these panelists is scheduled for June 5th at 1PM (PDT). More information can be found here.



In compliance with University and Santa Clara County policies, IRiSS professional staff will be working remotely for the following weeks and IRiSS facilities will be closed. Many IRiSS programs will continue to operate - specifically those that are conducted online or can be translated to a virtual environment with the use of Zoom and other online platforms. Some labs, such as the Federal Statistical Research Data Center, cannot be accessed virtually, and are accordingly not open for use for the time being. IRiSS staff are committed to providing continued support to our faculty and graduate students so that research can continue to the fullest extent possible.

If you have specific questions regarding the functionality of any IRiSS program or resource, please send a message to From all of us here at IRiSS, we wish you health and safety during this fraught time.

man speaking

The Center for Global Ethnography (CGE) hosted its first event on January 30, exploring questions associated with carrying out ethnographic research in an urban environment.  CGE convened 34 grad students and faculty members from Communication, Sociology, Anthropology, the Stanford University Libraries, and other programs and departments for a conversation with Professors Forest Stuart (Sociology) and Thomas Blom Hansen (Anthropology).

The exchange focused on the methodological intricacies and specificities of urban ethnographic practices in a digital age. On the table were issues such as:

  • How can and should researchers maintain standards of anonymity when interlocutors report their encounters with researchers on social media?
  • How does one’s own public research profile shape how interlocutors engage with you?
  • With the rise in mobile phone use, to what extent has media representation been democratized in various public spheres?
  • What happens to research when one’s own project is leveraged in the media for different purposes?

Throughout the Q&A, audience members expressed how grateful they were to be in contact with other ethnographers from around campus. This event was the first in a series of events and workshops aimed at providing practical and theoretical knowledge on ethnographic research methods to Stanford researchers.

To learn more about CGE's programs, visit the Center's website

IRiSS is pleased to announce the launch of its newest research lab - the Center for Global Ethnography (CGE). The Center is a collaboration between IRiSS and the Department of Anthropology. 

The mission of CGE is threefold: to convene scholars from multiple disciplines interested in ethnographic research, to host multidisciplinary conversations on ethnographic research, and to train graduate students in fieldwork methods.

Co-founders Sharika Thiranagama and Sylvia Yanagisako of the Anthropology department sought to fill a need in the Stanford intellectual space and provide specialized services to graduate students interested in ethnographic research. Both Thiranagama and Yanagisako are Faculty Fellows at IRiSS for the 2019-2020 academic year.

To learn more about the center's mission, research, and upcoming events, visit the CGE website.

Map of Mobility in Santa Clara County, California

Current research of affiliated faculty and students will be posted here soon.