From rite of passage to a mentored educational activity

Fieldwork for master’s students of anthropology

in Learning and Teaching
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  • 1 University of Copenhagen helle.bundgaard@anthro.ku.dk
  • 2 University of Copenhagen cecilie.rubow@anthro.ku.dk
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Abstract

This article discusses the teaching of anthropological fieldwork during a period of comprehensive educational reforms in Danish universities. We trace widely held conceptions of fieldwork among master’s students of anthropology and the efforts they make to live up to what they assume to be classic fieldwork. We argue that the ideals of classic fieldwork too often fail to support the learning process when fieldwork is squeezed into the timeframe of the curriculum and show how fieldwork as part of an educational programme can be mentored by online feedback. Our suggestion is that cooperative reflection during fieldwork can improve the quality of the empirical material and the analytical process significantly.

Contributor Notes

Helle Bundgaard, PhD, is associate professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. She has previously worked with craft matters in India and ethnic minority families and their children in Danish pre-school institutions. From 2007 to 2016 she held the post as head of studies, a task which has stimulated her current interest in educational matters. Email: helle.bundgaard@anthro.ku.dk

Cecilie Rubow, PhD, is associate professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. She has previously worked with religion and everyday theology in Denmark, anthropological method and analysis, and with environmental change, nature ethics and eco-theology in relation to the Cook Islands. Email: cecilie.rubow@anthro.ku.dk

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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