The Department of Sociology at Northwestern University is pleased to announce the 16th Annual Chicago Ethnography Conference. This annual graduate student conference is hosted on a rotating basis by one of several Chicago-area Sociology departments, including DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference provides an opportunity for graduate students to share their ethnographic scholarship with one another and get feedback from faculty and other graduate students based in the Chicago area and beyond. This year’s conference will be held at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL on March 15th, 2014.

Graduate students in all academic disciplines are invited to present their original ethnographic research. While preference will be given to those who have conducted substantial fieldwork, interviewing methods are acceptable. Papers in all substantive areas are welcome.  The theme of this year’s conference is cultural production and reproduction. In addition to topics that relate to the theme, graduate students are welcome to submit work on topics including but not limited to: class, crime, education, ethnicity, gender, family, globalization, health and illness, immigration, medicine, methodology, performance ethnography, race, religion, sexualities, social movements, technology, urban poverty, and work and employment.

Plenary Speakers

Nina Eliasoph is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Eliasoph’s research explores volunteer work, civic engagement, and grassroots political activism. Her first book, Avoiding Politics: How Americans Produce Apathy in Everyday Life (1998, Cambridge University Press) depicts the culture of political avoidance in American civic life. In her second book, Making Volunteers: Civic Life after Welfare’s End (2011, Princeton University Press), Eliasoph uncovers what role volunteers play for civic and community organizations and the consequences of relying on short-term volunteers. Her recent Politics of Volunteering (2012, Polity Press, Cambridge) explores broader consequences of volunteering for the participants, recipients of aid, and society.

Ashley Mears is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University. Her first book, Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model (2011, University of California Press), examines the production of value in fashion modeling markets and analyzes how cultural production markets become sites for the reproduction of cultural inequalities. Her current research explores the global context of culture and beauty in elite nightclubs.

Abstract Submissions

To submit an abstract, please complete the online submission form: The abstract should not exceed 250 words. The deadline for submissions is January 15th, 2014. All presenters will be notified of acceptance by February 1st. Participants will be asked to submit their full papers to the conference committee by March 1st.