The Third Annual Chicago Ethnography Incubator was held on March 14th and 15th, 2019. The event brought together leading faculty and exceptional graduate students for a symposium on state of the field discussions regarding ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation methods. Please find detailed information about the event below. 


On Thursday, March 14th the Annual Chicago Ethnography incubator hosted “Ethnographic Reflections.” This event featured a roundtable panel discussion with the 2019 Incubator’s faculty regarding current methodological, substantive, and ethical issues presently confronting ethnographic research. 


The Chicago Ethnography Incubator brings together faculty fellows and graduate students who work with ethnographic methods - building an interdisciplinary forum where cutting edge scholarship can be enriched through rigorous critique and collaborative inquiry. The 2019 event featured four prominent scholars deeply committed to the critical engagement and improvement of qualitative projects and methodologies.  Short descriptions of their work and interests are below: 

Claudio E. Benzecry

Claudio E. Benzecry is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and a sociologist interested in culture, arts, knowledge and globalization.He’s currently finishing a book based on his research on fashion, creativity and globalization, following how a shoe is imagined, sketched, designed, developed and produced in between the US, Europe, Brazil and China. This book project is tentatively entitled The Global Shoe: the Work of Creativity Across Borders.​

Sarah Brayne

Sarah Brayne is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. In her research, Brayne uses qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the use of big data within the criminal justice system. In her most recent work, she analyzed the use of predictive analytics and new surveillance technologies in the Los Angeles Police Department. Prior to joining the faulty at UT-Austin, Brayne was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University. Brayne has taught college-credit classes in prisons since 2012, and is the founder of the Texas Prison Education Initiative.

Armando Lara-Millán 

Armando Lara-Millán is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley where he is also an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Law and Society.  Before joining the Department of Sociology, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar in Health Policy Research. His research focuses on studying “reasoning” in a wide range of contexts, including law, medicine, criminal justice, economic pricing, and urban poverty governance. His work has appeared in the American Sociological Review, Criminology, and in the new volume The Many Hands of the State.  

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She is a migration scholar whose work in the past decade has focused on groups identified as "trafficking victims" by the U.S. Department of State. She is currently writing a book on the unfree labor of migrant domestic workers in Dubai. She has conducted extensive field work in Italy, the Philippines, Japan, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. 


Alex Brewer, PhD Candidate, Univeristy of Chicago, Department of Sociology. "The Deserving Pain: How Clinicians Arbitrate Credibility and Merit in the Midst of Multiple Drug Crises."

Alexander Hoppe, PhD Candidate, Univeristy of Pennsylvania, Department of Sociology. "The Social Life of Apparel: Top-Tier Suppliers Indian Suppliers in the Global Value Chain."

Andrew Le, PhD Candidate, University of California Los Angeles, Department of Sociology. "The Ethics of Exit: A State-Society Approach to Understanding Vietnamese Labor Migration."

Allister Pilar Plater, PhD Candidate, Univeristy of Virginia, Department of Sociology. "Instrumental Hedonism: Productive Consumption, Belonging and Inequality Among Elite Workers."

David Showalter, PhD Candidate. University of California Berkeley, Depatment of Sociology. "Getting Well: Using, Selling, and Quitting Opioids in California."

Stephen Wulff, PhD Candidate. Univeristy of Minnesota, Department of Sociology. "Governing through State Crime: Police Misconduct, Payouts, and (Self)-Insurance Regimes in the Post-Ferguson Era."