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SIEF2019 Theme

Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World

Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World will deal with processes and practices of transformation – as ways of being and as an endless process of becoming.
We invite scholars, students, and practitioners from the fields of ethnology, folklore studies, anthropology, and allied fields, to explore the many meanings of transformation and track the changes that take place at different scales, speeds, and intensities: from the largely unnoticed everyday transformations that create the texture of daily life to major crises that can arise in an instant, from progress and innovation to catastrophe. We invite reflections on situated views and multiple perspectives on transforming worlds: precarity and vulnerability; risk and resilience; the expected and the unexpected; the desirable, the undesired, and the undesirable; the predicted, the unpredicted, and the unpredictable.
Track Changes can be read as an imperative, a call for researchers to follow something that moves or alters by noticing the marks or signs that it has left behind, something that our disciplines do well.

Track is also a noun, a rough path by land or sea, with rich connotations of movement, displacement, escape, pilgrimage, travel, and adventure. Santiago de Compostela and the Camino are thus symbolically present in our theme: a pilgrimage route replete with searching and seeking, with crises, risks and fears, but also with chances and changes, hopes and dreams, and the ways people experience and imagine them. Santiago is therefore an ideal place to reflect on reaching the end of the road, while at the same time seeing it as a place from which we can imagine ways forward.

Track, the verb, points us to ways of following and being followed, too, whether in course of action, or line of thought. We thus must consider how people’s ways of living, narrating, acting, imagining, and sensing the world can change and how oneself can be changed by choosing a particular route.

A scholarly tradition must always pay constant attention to its theoretical and epistemological disciplinary transformations: where it has been and where it is going. Track Changes is thus an important means for us to explore changes in knowledge production and to be aware of how we ourselves are changed by the transformations we study. SIEF includes people linked to universities, museums, archives, heritage institutions, NGOs, companies, freelance, and unemployed/unlinked specialists. We therefore invite proposals that explore the role of transformation in our own work, taking action, while reflecting on, for example, the dialectic role and paradigms of academia, the precarious position of professionals, practices of knowledge co-production, the challenges of massively transforming disciplines, and exciting new ways of producing and communicating knowledge.
In Santiago, we would like to develop the variety of presentation formats seen in Göttingen 2017, which saw contributions both in and outside the classroom. We encourage diverse formats and approaches, welcoming participants – academic and non-academic – with the potential to transform the concept of an academic meeting. We welcome proposals that track and celebrate the inner, slow, and untold parts of the processes involved in our work, including diverse forms, such as ‘making-of’ roundtables, non-projects, failures, and other topics and outcomes that are not usually given a voice in academic discourse.

Complex processes of transformation are not abstract, but rather manifest themselves precisely in negotiations and frictions in the everyday. Given these multiple meanings and possibilities, Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World offers participants the opportunity to contribute to the discussion from many different perspectives, areas of interest and topics. For instance: