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The Trials of Alice Goffman

Wednesday 8 February

In this fourth meeting, we will explore the contemporary case of Alice Goffman — an ethnographer that has generated a big polemic with her study of the tensions between African-Americans and the US police. While her work has had an enormous ‘impact’, even beyond academia, the exposure generated a considerable backlash including critics to the very nature of ethnographic research. The case is not unique and embodies a long-list of polemics that permeated ethnography through centuries.

We plan to put Alice literally ‘on trial’ and ask participants to take a stand either pro or against her case, so come prepared to argue! We suggest participants read the text “The Trials of Alice Goffman” by Gideon-Lewis-Kraus ( and to generally familiarize themselves with her story (media publications on the case abound including a popular TED talk by her).

Alice Goffman

The flyer for the event can be found here (PDF Document)