Welcome to Story Slamming Anthropology. This series features both innovative narrative and audio performance drawing on the deep toolkit and methods of anthropology. The goal with Story Slamming Anthropology is to invoke the public facing spirit of Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Melville Herskovits and many others to speak to 21st century concerns from a comparative perspective in clear language. The narratives here are based on juxtapositions, seemingly counter- or non- intuitive linking’s of subjects, objects, ideas, emotions, practices, or traditions that will intrigue, educate, and delight. In doing so, the goal of these stories is to bring anthropological storytelling to wider audiences and to demonstrate that anthropology matters today more than ever.

This narrative, #MeToo: Stories in the Age of Survivorship, is written and performed by Emma Louise Backe

The reckoning of #MeToo has ushered in a renewed politics of storytelling, one whose capillary reach and discursive power requires critical analysis and reflexive consideration of how we listen to and seek out stories. As an ethnographer of sexual violence, who conducted fieldwork on a rape crisis hotline during the Pussygate controversy and has served as a Peer Advocate in George Washington University’s Anthropology Department to respond to incidents of sexual misconduct, I wanted to situate and historicize the #MeToo movement, with the recognition that the academy must similarly grapple with the perils of harassment and assault. This recognition of violence, particularly in light of the suffering slot, must be accompanied by the acknowledgement that the anthropological community contains survivors as well as perpetrators, experiences of trauma as well as complicity and predation. By offering an ethnopoetic approach to #MeToo, I propose opportunities to explore the gaps between lived experience and knowledge production, one whose theoretical intercession recognizes that a disposition towards care must also leave room for hesitation and creative reconfigurations of listening.

Emma Louise Backe is a social justice sailor scout working in international development and global health on issues related to gender-based violence and women’s health. She has a Master’s in Medical Anthropology and Certificate in Global Gender Policy from George Washington University. When she’s not advocating on behalf of reproductive justice and consent, she manages The Geek Anthropologist, writes for publications like Lady Science, and tweets from @EmmaLouiseBacke.


If you enjoy Story Slamming Anthropology, or are would like to share a narrative of your own, let us know!  You can contact Adam and Ryan at thisanthrolife -at – gmail.com or individually at adam -at- thisanthrolife.com or ryan -at- thisanthrolife.com

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This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, The Society for Applied Anthropology, SAPIENS, and EPIC. Be sure to check them each out for more insightful and thought provoking anthropology content.

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