• Humanities Across Borders Conversation Series

Storytelling as Research Strategy

15 June 2023

On June 15th, Humanities Across Borders is happy to host an online conversation session between Tiffany Cone of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, Rohit Negi of the Center for Community Knowledge (CCK) at Ambedkar University Delhi, and Elena Burgos Martinez of the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) at Leiden University to discuss their individual approaches & experiences with storytelling as a research strategy.


Academic Ontologies is an online conversation series initiated for students and early career scholars, by the Humanities Across Borders (HAB) and Fellowship programmes of the IIAS. Our point of departure is the close association between the English language and academic excellence,[1] and the colonial language politics that informs and shapes textual production, performance, transmission, and reception, within hegemonic academic publics.

The idea of the first session on Storytelling as Research Strategy in this series of conversations on academic ontologies is to discuss practices of storytelling, and the specific experience of non-English language use, in different academic contexts such as in the classroom, in community-based projects, or in the ethnographer’s field. Our wider aim is to create an open space for the coming together of an interdisciplinary community of scholars sharing intersectional, multi-lingual narrative research (including theory building and syllabi), and teaching strategies for the next generation of scholarship.


Tiffany Cone

Tiffany Cone is an anthropologist and filmmaker from New Zealand with experience conducting ethnographic research and producing documentaries in East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. Her primary research areas are psychological anthropology, visual anthropology and pedagogy in higher education. Her research in HE pedagogy has included multi-lingual theory building, access to HE for underserved communities, and trauma-sensitive teaching practices. See more of her work at www.tiffanycone.com.

Photograph: Knowledge and Representation - Disruption/Fragmentation (Top-Left)

Credit: DALL-E AI image generation

Rohit Negi

Rohit Negi is an Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Director of the Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK) at Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University Delhi. He has researched subterranean, built, and atmospheric urban processes in Southern Africa and India. At CCK, he leads, among other work, the Delhi Oral History Project and the Humanities across Borders programme. 

Photograph: Excerpt from 'Hamara Pyara Ghummanhera' (translation: Our beloved Ghummanhera village') (Center)

Credit: Toshali Chattopadhyay; Center for Cultural Knowledge (CCK)

Elena Burgos Martinez

Elena Burgos Martinez is an Assistant Professor of environmental politics at Leiden University (LIAS), who has mostly worked with islands across Southeast Asian seas. She approaches the study of environmental crises from an interdisciplinary perspective. In the encounter with the sophisticated knowledges of islanders, artists, grassroot movements and a classroom which seeks to traverse the walls of elitist academia, she tries to move beyond institutionalised knowledges. Her research collaborators are interspecies and interelements, and so is the type of pedagogy she practices. 

Photograph: The Island Impossible, Fairness and Invisible Irrationality (Top-Right)

Credit: Elena Burgos Martinez

Register: https://www.iias.asia/events/academic-ontologies-storytelling-research-strategy


[1] Piller, I., 2019. On the conditions of authority in academic publics. Journal of Sociolinguistics23(5), pp.521-528.


10:00 - 11:30 CEST


Online (over Zoom)
2311 GJ Leiden


Joaquin Lapuz Email:  e.j.lapuz@iias.nl