Mary L. Gray & Elizabeth J Chin: On the concept of fellowship, collective dreaming and ability to transform a conflict into a conversation

In today’s episode, we reflect on the concepts of community and fellowship in the world of those practicing anthropology. We ask Mary and Elizabeth about the relationship that they have with their discipline and the community of practitioners within it.  What do they feel they need from colleagues, critics and journals – all of which form the axis of the anthropological community? How to be excellent without being elitist and violent but instead generous and welcoming? Is there room for imagining that failure is a building exercise? How to be fully present for each other without undermining the critical interrogation? How to transform a conflict into a conversation? Stay with us throughout this reflective episode in which abstract questions are approached with very concrete and personal perspectives.

Mary L. Gray is a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research as well as an E.J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellow and Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society Faculty Affiliate at Harvard University. Mary holds an M.A. in Anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in communications at University of California, San Diego. She also serves on the Executive Board of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) and is a past board member of the American Anthropological Association. More recently, Mary has also turned her attention to the emerging field of AI and ethics, focusing on research methods that bring computer and social sciences together.

Elizabeth J Chin is a professor at Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena and the Editor-in-Chief of the American Anthropologist. She holds a double major degree in Drama and Anthropology from New York University and a PhD in Anthropology from the City University of New York. Her work spans a variety of topics–race, consumption, Barbie–but nearly always engages marginalized youth in collaboratively taking on the complexities of the world around them. Taking writing very seriously, Elizabeth’s work increasingly investigates the ethnographic voice with an eye toward decolonizing anthropological knowledge as it appears on the page.

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Mentioned in Podcast
Miranda Joseph, Against the Romance of Community,

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