Reviewer g.guslini | Review

#377 Cultivating Empathy: Student Ethnographic Projects in a Caribbean University

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Shelene Middle name Last name Gomes
Title Dr. Organization / Institution The University of the West Indies Department Sociology Unit, Faculty of Social Sciences
Address St. Augustine campus Postal / Zip code 00000 Country TT
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

Co-authors (0)

No Co-authors found.


Abstract title

Cultivating Empathy: Student Ethnographic Projects in a Caribbean University

Abstract text

Drawing upon accounts from lecturer, tutor and students, this presentation will highlight semester-long ethnographic projects that undergraduate students complete for a course in Caribbean anthropology at an English-speaking public university in Trinidad and Tobago. In this multivocal, multi-perspectival presentation, we will showcase the wide-ranging thematic foci of these ethnographic projects: economic austerity, ethnic antagonisms; inter-ethnic cooperation; youth micro-cultures; trans-border families; occupational multiplicity; LGBT+ activism; heterosexual dating; recycling, and so forth. These topics are connected by the methodology of doing ethnography, and in particular participant-observation. Excerpts from these projects can be found on an open access blog. We aim to foreground the continued importance of cultivating empathy while making analytical connections that foster youths’ understandings of social and subjective experiences. We will emphasise the value of teaching and learning anthropological and ethnographic skills and orientations across the neoliberal university. This entails developing cross-cultural awareness, a social structural sensibility and an appreciation of praxis to counteract the individualism and the ever-present commoditisation of education. We suggest that thinking of anthropology as enacting public citizenship is particularly useful in destabilising the neoliberal university as well as in the Global South specifically. This orientation helps us to envision ‘another academy’ within "another world" (George 2004). We would like to participate remotely.

Conference topic

Panel no. 54 - What Can Anthropology Offer and What Can It Receive from the New Generations? How to Set up a Bottom-Up Teaching and a Bidirectional Relationship

Preferred format


Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-08 15:35h by g.guslini

Reviewer decision