CFP: (Un)Imaginable Worlds: Methodologies of the (Im)Possible

(Un)Imaginable Worlds: Methodologies of the (Im)Possible

Edited by: Simone Abram and Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston

(Un)Imaginable Worlds: Methodologies of the (Im)Possible examines imaginations, imaginaries, and imaginings as approaches and methodologies for envisioning, understanding, studying, and intervening in (im)possible, uncertain, and speculative worlds. In recent years, with the worst refugee crisis since World War II, the rise of ultranationalisms, the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, and Anthropocene denials, as well as the emergence of movements such as Occupy, Idle-No-More, or Black Lives Matter, we have seen both the imaginable and unimaginable come true. This brings an urgency to the understanding of how we might prepare for, and intervene in the (im)possibilities of the coming years. In part, such understanding might come from learning how people imagine (im)possible worlds.

There has been an increased interest in imagination, imaginaries, and imaginings among anthropologists and scholars in cognate disciplines. Less concerned with imagination as a conceptual category, anthropologists have attended to diverse imaginative effects, outcomes, or technologies; yet, what we still need to understand is how to mobilize imagination at the ground level of fieldwork, as approaches and methodologies for conceptualizing and researching the (im)possible, the (im)plausible, and the (im)probable. This book responds by initiating conversations on what/how people’s imaginings might generate anthropological approaches and ethnographic research methodologies for gaining insights and intervening in (im)possible worlds. It also considers how such methodological engagements with imaginations might contribute to re-envisioning an engaged and interventionist anthropology of (im)possibilities. The volume engages with imaginations, imaginaries, and imaginings in their plural forms—as a multiplicity of emergent, dynamic, shifting, intersubjective, embodied, and affective experiences, modes of being and expression, processes, and actions.

The volume asks how imaginations might be activated through cross-disciplinary collaborations that bridge anthropology, ethnography, the creative arts, literature, and digital technologies. The contributors to the volume will address the following questions from a variety of ethnographic standpoints (visual, auditory, performative, embodied, and literary):

How could imaginations be activated on the ground to constitute the very processes and representations of ethnographic research?
How might we craft our conceptual and methodological approaches to researching, and intervening in (im)possible worlds through cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaborations that foreground imagination and creativity?
How can such cross-disciplinary work transform how we attend to both ethnographic processes and ethnographic products, questions of reflexivity, ethnographer-participant relations, and ethnographic audience?
How can such work help us reconceptualize public engagement and ethnographic activism, collaborative/participatory ethnography, and engaged and interventionist, interdisciplinary research within and beyond the academy?
Could mobilizing imaginations contribute to the recent emergent analytical frameworks of embodiment, affect, post-phenomenology and post-humanism, or Anthropocene, and forge new directions for anthropological theory and practice?

We especially welcome contributions that explore these questions at the level of ethnographic practice, namely, by focusing on the stories people tell us, the events we participate in, experience, feel and sense; and on the ways in which we write-up/perform/share our ethnographies. Themes may (but need not) consider imaginations/imaginaries/imaginings as world-(un)making, performing/storytelling imaginations/imaginaries/imaginings; imaginations/imaginaries/imaginings of the Anthropocene, of the technical sublime, art, fiction-archaeology, finance and commerce, ethics, hopes and desires, prototyping or scenarios, politics and activisms.

Please send a 300-word chapter abstract and title, as well as author affiliation, to Magdalena Kazubowski Houston ( and Simone Abram ( by July 26, 2017.

Contact Info

Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
c/o Karli Whitmore
125 rue Jean de la Londe, #301
Baie d'Urfe (Québec) H9X 3T8