AO: Making explicit those things that “go without saying.” (page 3). This is an example of how/why cross-disciplinary collaborations can be productive because they help to make the underlying known things explicit.
AO: Document and write down throughout the process of collaboration. “a central contribution of the e-mail correspondence is that it provides insight into what interdisciplinary research might look like as a “sensibility” or “disposition,” to borrow from Bourdieu. The correspondence helps explicate, then, how interdisciplinary scholars might use ethnography in a way that diverges from the way that anthropologists work, but that nevertheless pro- duces defensible and worthwhile scholarship. In fact, the utilization of ethno- graphic methods by non-anthropologists can enrich what ethnography might be, even allowing for new forms of research.” (13)
AO: Their data is the email correspondence between Malkki (member of committee) and Cerwonka as she was in Australia for her fieldwork. They used the emails in a class (taught at UCI) and then decided to publish in a book. “The e-mail correspondence itself chronicles how knowl- edge is produced hermeneutically and shows how ethnographic interpreta- tion works in real time and in relation to various pragmatic, social, and eth- ical issues.” (3).
AO: ”The next part of this book presents the correspondence between Liisa and myself in chronological order, preceded by my original Fulbright proposal for the research project. We have kept our editing of the correspondence to a bare minimum, treating it as much as possible as a primary document.” (38)
AO: Cerwonka writes the intro, citing specific emails as reference (which are published throughout the book. She includes her fulbright proposal and then email correspondence between her and Malkki. They add some “afterthoughts” marked by their initials to some of the correspondences to mark different times and voices. She also includes some of her field notes.
AO: They do not discuss this as much but the correspondence was largely only possible because of Internet and email. These are largely like letter correspondence previously (between anthropologists in the field and those “at home”) except now these are via email.
AO: Cerwonka highlights how the political scientists viewed her project as “somewhat literary?” and how the book emerged in part to “justify my process of knowledge production to myself and to the larger political science community, which, on the whole, does not consider ethnography to be a useful method for understanding the political.” (10).
AO: Cerwonka and Malki focus on Cerwonka’s experience and feelings in the field, turning the gaze on her. They focus less on Malkki and do not explicitly write about their collaboration in the book project. They appear to suggest that a good collaborator responds to emails and spends a lot of time and effort writing up and sharing thoughts with the other. They definitely focus on how the collaboration grows and stabilizes over time. (As evidenced by the book as the ultimate pinacle of their email correspondences!).
AO. The co-authored book is the collaboration itself, but the authors don't spend much time reflecting on that and instead focus on their communications and back and forth exchange.
AO: “Many publishers and funding agencies have encouraged interdisciplin- ary work in the last twenty years. However, my mentors in graduate school rightly understood that the structure of academic institutions and culture of individual departments still present obstacles to employment for scholars whose specialties do not fit neatly into preexisting, discipline-specific catego- ries of expertise.” (9).
AO: Cerwonka and Malkki use an interpretive approach to think about questions of hermeneutics and epistemology especially with regards to ethnographic fieldwork. (page 2)
AO: Ethics (see page 4).
AO: Theory and Practice (“the interpretation of empirical details in fieldwork is always a way of reading and dwelling in the world through theory. This correspondence between student and mentor illustrates how theory is challenged and also reshaped by the complexity and richness of everyday social practices and processes. Ethnographic research requires a movement similar to what Ricoeur has called “the dialectic of guessing and validation.” The correspondence captures this interpretive process of tacking between theory and empirical detail to show how this hermeneutic process yields claims to knowledge.” page 4).
AO: postcoloniality and modernity (15)
AO: “Rabinow, following Ricoeur, calls the “dialectic of guessing and validation” (1979, 11)” (19)
AO: Cerwonka writes: “one of my motivations for collaborating with Liisa on this book was my sense that as more and more scholars undertake interdisciplinary work, they face epistemological and methodological roadblocks like the ones I confronted in my field research.” She writes about not having a proper home between political scientists (too empirically oriented) and political philosophers (too philosophic).
AO: Cerwonka and Malkki use collaboration (in analysis and write-up) as a way to make explicit assumptions (about method, interpretation, etc.) and as a way to “tack” between theory and empirical social facts (15). Their analysis focuses on the nano level and less on the techno or eco levels.
AO: Cerwonka emphasizes the value of having her assumptions documented out (in email correspondences) in part for her to be able to go back over them and analyze them (her past self?). However, their “collaboration” is more of the getting of advice from her mentor (and her perhaps the writing of the book which they do not discuss as much). Underlying Cerwonka’s introductory text is still the lone fieldworker who is working out the process of ethnography and checking in every once in a while to her mentor (not too different from Malinowski writing letters to his partner?). The two use this book to reflect on methodology and process. Malkki looks at some of the meso and macro level questions - noting that “institutional and micropolitical hierarchies were there” (165). However, they do not actually reflect extensively on what it means to “collaborate” although I would argue theirs is a collaboration, albeit a light one.