Academic Participation

The Object Ethnography Project as Scholarly Resource

With over 50 objects and associated narratives and surveys, the Object Ethnography Project is a unique academic resource. The OEP not only brings together material culture and storytelling but does so through the use of digital media and online communication. Scholars from a wide array of fields may find potential for use in coursework, research or other projects.

Possible academic uses of the OEP include:

  • Research or writing projects using the objects, narratives and surveys. A wide range of topics can be addressed through the materials in the OEP, including:
    • Exchange and circulation
    • Value, consumption and alternative economies
    • Narrative and storytelling
    • Presentation of self
    • Memory
    • Methodologies of anthropology, sociology, material culture studies, visual culture studies, history or humanities
    • Communication, especially through digital media and online platforms
    • Digital scholarship, especially in the humanities and social sciences
    • Museum and archive practices
  • Research or writing projects using the OEP itself as a case study of:
    • (something about practices of material culture)
    • The collection and presentation of narrative
    • Digital platforms for scholarship, communication and the circulation of goods
  • Creating documentation and cataloging protocols for the exchange materials: objects, images, narratives and surveys
  • Extending the scope or reach the OEP:
    • Curating an exhibition using OEP materials (physical or digital)
    • Gathering additional narrative material from exchange participants, perhaps through oral history
    • Continuing stewardship of the project after the 2012-2013 academic year
  • Using the OEP as a model for new exchange projects, for example:
    • Exchanges focusing on the material culture of a single community, historical period, or event
    • Exchanges focusing on a particular category of material
    • Exchanges fostering community relationships
  • Participating in an exchange

Of course, these are but a few of the myriad possibilities for incorporating the OEP into your research or coursework. We welcome you to take these suggestions or develop your own projects, and would love to hear from you if you are planning to employ the OEP in your work.


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