Rethinking Pseudonyms in Ethnography

Names are Problems: For Congolese Refugees, for the Humanitarian System, and for Anthropological Writing

Marnie Jane Thomson

Scene: Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, western Tanzania. 2012. A UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) meeting for camp residents, primarily Congolese, who had preliminarily qualified for resettlement in the United States. The purpose [...]

Between Organizational Narratives and Individual Stories: Pseudonyms Revisited

Miia Halme-Tuomisaari

Should anthropologists continue to use pseudonyms in their writings? I joined this symposium thinking that the answer would be “no.” Yet through the writing of this essay my view changed. [...]

Collapsing Distance: Recognition, Relation, and the Power of Naming in Ethnographic Research

Sara Shneiderman

If naming is fundamentally a process of recognition, how does the practice of using pseudonyms—masking names—undermine ethnography’s potential as an instrument of recognition? In this essay, I reflect upon the [...]

The Truths of Anonymity: Ethnographic Credibility and the Problem with Pseudonyms

Carole McGranahan

Why do we use pseudonyms in ethnography? What sort of truth claims about the world are possible by using pseudonyms, and what changes when we don’t use them? Long before [...]