Studying LBGT Organizing in China: A Conversation with Caterina Fugazzola

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In today’s episode of Ethnographic Marginalia, Sneha Annavarapu talks with Dr. Caterina Fugazzola, Earl S Johnson Instructor in Sociology at the University of Chicago, about her research on the contemporary tongzhi (LGBT) movement in the People’s Republic of China. Dr. Fugazzola briefly discusses her current book project (under contract with Temple University Press) in which she explains how grassroots groups organizing around sexual identity have achieved significant social change—in terms of visibility, social acceptance, and participation—in virtual absence of public protest, and under conditions of tightening governmental control over civil society groups. But, more pertinently to our special series, our guest tells us about what drew her to the project, and the kinds of dilemmas, issues, and opportunities that marked her fieldwork in the region. For instance, she walks us through what it is like to do ethnographic fieldwork on a cruise ship! We also chat about what it means to do ethnographic observations online and why teaching digital ethnographic methods is a welcome opportunity to rethink our very dated presumptions around physical co-presence in fieldwork being desirable to gather more “authentic” data.

In all, tune in for a very candid, witty, and insightful conversation around fieldwork and for a dose of Dr. Fugazzola’s vivacious and contagious energy for the affordances of digital ethnography.

Learn more about Ethnographic Marginalia here.

Dr. Caterina Fugazzola is is an Earl S. Johnson Instructor in Sociology. Her general interests include social movements, gender and sexuality studies, transnational sociology, and qualitative research methods.

Dr. Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.

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