Professor Ilana Gershon Colloquium Presentation on Thursday Dec 1st | Anthropology and Education | International & Transcultural Studies

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In the Department of International & Transcultural Studies

Past Announcements

Professor Ilana Gershon (PhD Anthropology Chicago 2001)

Colloquium “Logged In and Let Down: Job-Seeking Workshops in the Digital Age”

Thursday, December 1st, 2:00-3:30pm

142 Horace Mann

Open to all

Refreshments served.

Following the presentation Professor Gershon will meet with students from 4:00-5:00pm in 138 Horace Mann (open to students in the ITS Department).


“Logged In and Let Down: Hiring Workshops in the Digital Age” 

This talk examines how hiring workshops in the United States capture in microcosm the problems that standardization creates for all involved in the hiring process.  To apply for a job, you create a genre repertoire to prove employability, a task accomplished by producing resumes, interview answers, business cards, and so on.  In recent years, this genre repertoire has expanded to include new digital forms such as LinkedIn profile.  All these standardized genres are a problem precisely because they are standardized and formulaic.  These genres reduce all the complexities of a person’s experiences into the most telegraphic of glimpses into what a person has done in the past and could do in the future.  But this isn’t actually the information employers need to make a good decision about who to hire.  Each workplace is complex and rich in its own right, filled with its own social dynamics.  As anyone involved in hiring knows, selecting a person to hire involves coordinating a group of people, each with their own strategies for interpreting the documents and selecting likely job candidates.  In short, this is a talk about the problems created by using such standardized formulaic genres for selecting who to hire.


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Ilana Gershon is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University. She is interested in how new media affects highly charged social tasks, such as breaking up or hiring in the United States. She has written about how college students use new media to end romantic relationships in her book The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media. Her current research addresses how new media has changed hiring workshops for the contemporary US workplace.  Her other books include an edited volume, A World of Work: Imagined Manuals for Real Jobs, and No Family Is an Island: Cultural Expertise among Samoans in Diaspora.