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, Loïc Wacquant, and Natalie Pasquinelli

Friday, April 19, 12-1.30 pm PT / 3-4:30pm ET

Neil Gong in conversation with Owen Whooley 

Sons, Daughters, and Sidewalk Psychotics: Mental Illness and Homelessness in Los Angeles

Zoom Meeting ID: 999 3910 8952

Password: 1234

*Read excerpts here

Neil Gong is assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Sons, Daughters, and Sidewalk Psychotics: Mental Illness and Homelessness in Los Angeles (University of Chicago Press, 2024). With Corey Abramson, he is editor of Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography (Oxford University Press 2020). Neil's writing appears in academic journals like the American Sociological Review and Social Problems, as well as popular outlets like the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and the LA Review of Books.

Owen Whooley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of New Mexico. His research focuses on medical professionals, particularly within mental health, and explores dynamics related to medical knowledge and power. Whooley is the author of two books. Knowledge in the Time of Cholera (University of Chicago Press, 2013) tells the story of how the modern American medical profession emerged out of intellectual crises produced by recurrent cholera epidemics in the 19th century. On the Heels of Ignorance (University of Chicago Press, 2019) retells the history of U.S. psychiatry as a history of ignorance, examining how psychiatric elites have negotiated a fundamental lack knowledge regarding their object to maintain authority. Whooley is currently writing a third book, a multi-sited ethnographic study of community mental health work.