Ethnographic Café

The Ethnographic Café is a place for ethnographers to meet across disciplines, generations, and countries. We gather to talk about all things ethnographic, from history, design, and method to analysis, writing and dissemination.


We meet monthly on Zoom to discuss a recently published ethnography with its author (see our schedule of events). We also convene periodically for special thematic sessions around a salient topic in the practice of ethnography.


We continue the online conversation through short photographic essays picturing the field, video interviews of ethnographers sharing the nitty-gritty of their fieldwork, reading recommendations contributed by the community, and through a directory that will help ethnographers with shared interests to find each other.


We aim to stimulate and support the work of a new generation of ethnographers, especially doctoral students, postdocs, and junior faculty, and we hope you will join us in this endeavor.


The Ethnographic Café Organizing Team:

Ashley Mears, Ekedi Mpondo-Dika, Loic Wacquant, Dilan Eren, and Elif Birced

Meeting ID: 977 8649 9870

Passcode: 1234

Friday, December 16, 12-1.30 pm (PT)


Beth Bechky

in conversation with Alison Gerber

Blood, Powder, and Residue: How Crime Labs Translate Evidence into Proof*

*Read the chapters here


Beth Bechky is a professor at the University of California, Davis. Beth is interested in work practices, and studies how workers collaborate to solve problems, struggle to coordinate, and manage the challenges of technological change at the workplace. Her recent book, Blood, Powder, and Residue: How Crime Labs Translate Evidence into Proof (2021) shows how the work of forensic scientists is fraught with the tensions of serving justice—constantly having to anticipate the expectations of the world of law and the assumptions of the public—while also staying true to their scientific ideals. In previous projects she has learned how to sell Xerox equipment, locked up sets and made copies as a production assistant in the film industry, assembled semiconductor equipment in a clean room, and assisted technicians in a biotech lab.


Alison Gerber is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Lund University in Sweden. Gerber's research is focused on culture, science, and public life, with a special emphasis on new kinds of evidence: algorithmically generated images and emerging digital 3D methods for documentation, visualization, and analysis as they move between science and the law. From 2021-2025 Gerber is leading a project called Show & Tell: Scientific representation, algorithmically generated visualizations, and evidence across epistemic cultures, funded by the European Research Council.


** ETHNOGRAPHERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE, NOT EVEN YOUR FIELD NOTES **