The 2020 Chicago Ethnography Incubator will be held on March 12th and 13th. The event will bring together leading faculty and exceptional graduate students for an annual symposium on state of the field discussions regarding ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation methods. 

Ethnographic Reflections - A Panel Discussion with our Faculty Fellows 

On Thursday, March 12th the Annual Chicago Ethnography incubator will host “Ethnographic Reflections.” This event will feature a roundtable panel discussion with the 2020 Incubator’s faculty regarding current methodological, substantive, and ethical issues presently confronting ethnographic research. The event is open to the public. 

2020 Faculty Fellows

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 2020 event features four prominent scholars who are deeply committed to the critical engagement and improvement of qualitative projects and methodologies.  Short descriptions of their work and interests are below: 

Sergio Chávez, Rice University

Sergio Chávez

Dr. Sergio Chávez is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Rice University. He received his B.A. in sociology from the University of California Davis and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Dr. Chávez has conducted field research in Tijuana and Guanajuato, Mexico and North Carolina on internal and international migration, labor markets, social networks, and the border. His book “Border Lives” (Oxford University Press, 2016) examines the dynamic migration and working strategies border migrants employ on a daily basis as immigration policies, border enforcement, economic restructuring, and social resources evolve in the cross-border urban environment of Tijuana.

Amada Armenta, University of California-Los Angeles

Amada Armenta

Dr. Amada Armenta is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Amada Armenta’s research examines the connections between the immigration enforcement system and the criminal justice system, and the implications of this connection for immigrants, bureaucracies, and cities. Her award-winning book, “Protect Serve and Deport: The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement” (University of California Press, 2017), analyzes the role of local law enforcement agencies in immigration enforcement in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, she is working on her second book project, an examination of the legal attitudes of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in Philadelphia.

Tarini Bedi, University of Illinois-Chicago

Tarini Bedi

Dr. Tarini Bedi is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is an urban and political anthropologist who conducts research in South Asia and more recently in Southeast Asia. Her first book, “The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India (SUNY Press, 2016) develops a feminist theory of brokerage politics. She is currently working on two new book manuscripts, one looking at the social, material, political, labor and manufacturing histories of road transport and automobility through the lens of the taxi trade in Bombay/Mumbai; and another looking at the connections between masculine embodiment, bodily debilitation, technology and driving in India and Singapore.

David Grazian, University of Pennsylvania

David Grazian

Dr. David Grazian is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Communication and Faculty Director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. In his research he employs a variety of ethnographic and other qualitative methods to study the production and consumption of commercial entertainment in the urban milieu. He is the author of four books: Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs (Univ. Chicago Press, 2003), On the Make: The Hustle of Urban Nightlife (Univ. Chicago Press, 2008), Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society (W.W. Norton, 2010; 2017), and American Zoo: A Sociological Safari (Princeton Univ. Press, 2015). He is currently writing a book on nonstandard urban workspaces in the new economy for the University of Chicago Press. 

Faculty Organizers

Kimberly Hoang, Associate Professor of Sociology

Kristen Schilt, Associate Professor of Sociology

Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela, Mansueto Fellow & Postdoctoral Scholar

Contact Us:

Please feel free to contact the planning committee at with any questions!


Previous Ethnography Incubators:

2017 Ethnography Incubator

2018 Ethnography Incubator

2019 Ethnography Incubator