Seminar Series in Umea 2013-2014

Annette Markham

Sep 2, 2013



This seminar series began in September 2013 and continues to May 2014.  Held once a month, most of the seminars are on Friday afternoon in the MITHuset (see schedule below).  Afterwards, we often go out for “after work” somewhere in the city center.

This seminar series challenges participants to think differently about how one might do qualitative social inquiry in the 21st Century.  Embracing the epistemological challenges of feminists, postmodernists, post structuralists, interpretive sociologists, feminist technoscientists, and other “post” style schools of thought, we discuss innovative and creative ways of knowing.  The series is based on the premise that current normative definitions and parameters for research methods tend to constrain the creative and flexible adaptation needed to adequately address the complexity of contemporary social contexts.  To find better resonance, this series explores issues and practices both above and below method. Above method, we might consider some of the epistemological and ideological conditions within which we find ourselves doing inquiry in the 21st Century, which are tied closely to shrinking budgets, greater public scrutiny of academic research, and the push toward ‘big data.’  Below method, we can explore the creative everyday practices of good researchers, where we find pathways to meaning that both defy traditional conceptions of methods and also extend our understanding of ‘what counts’ as a part of one’s method.

The seminar series is scheduled between September 2013 and April 2014.  It includes two lectures, two hand-on workshops, and two book review sessions.


This seminar series is targeted mostly to PhD candidates or faculty members who are interested in developing innovative and creative approaches to qualitative inquiry. Masters students would also be welcome to attend.

While the seminar is informally organized, the facilitator will recommend specific reading materials in advance.  Seminars will include opening remarks by the facilitator, followed by open discussion of specific topics and issues.  Book-focused sessions will be self-guided.  Workshops include writing and analysis exercises.


The facilitator of these sessions, Dr. Annette Markham, brings expertise in a range of qualitative, interpretive, and rhetorical methods for studying organizational contexts, digitally-mediated cultural contexts, and everyday social life.  Her approach to ethnography is situated in Chicago school sociology perspectives. Dr. Markham earned her PhD in organizational studies from Purdue University and an MA in communication studies from the Edward R. Murrow school of communication at Washington State University. Her ethnographic work is well represented in her first book, “Life Online” (Altamira Press, 1998).  Her more recent work appears in journals of Qualitative Inquiry, The Information Society, Information, Communication & Society, First Monday, as well as a variety of handbooks and edited collections.  She is co-editor of the book “Internet Inquiry: Conversations about method” (Sage, 2009, with Nancy Baym). Annette Markham is Associate Professor of Aesthetics and Communication at Aarhus University, Affiliate Professor at Loyola University-Chicago, and Guest Professor of Informatics at Umea University.

Please see tentative schedule below and be sure to RSVP to so we can schedule room size appropriately.

Anyone is welcome to attend.

Tentative Schedule (All seminars are on Friday.  But changes to topic/dates are possible)

1. Friday, September 27, 2013, 13:30 – 16:30, MIT-huset, MA466, Umeå University
Resisting the [big] data-fication of everyday life: Methodological provocations

2. Friday, November 22, 2013, 13:30 – 16:30 POSTPONED!!
Book Club: Challenging the subject/object
Reading The Posthuman (Braidotti)

3. Friday, December 6, 2013, 13:30 – 16:30
Snowflakes and other crystalline metaphors for innovative writing strategies

4. Friday, January 24, 2014, 13:30 – 16:30
Book Club: Raw data is an oxymoron (Gitelman)

5. Friday, February 21, 2014, 13:30 – 16:30
Reframing fieldwork in social contexts of complexity

6. Friday, March 14, 2014, 14:30 (approx) – 16:30
Metaphors, frames, and other analytical tools: A methods workshop (informal!)

7. Date TBA (May, 2014) 13:30 – 16:30
Algorithmic identity: Networks, data, and the terrible beauty of the black box