This article discusses structural, logistical, and administrative issues associated with the use of participant observation assignments in teaching the anthropology of religion. Fieldwork presents extraordinary opportunities for teaching students about the nature of cultural difference, but it also poses pedagogical challenges that require careful planning and supervision. The article reviews problems including the scope and nature of the observation, student preparation and guidance, connecting with fieldsites, presentation formats, issues of ethics and confidentiality, and university administrative considerations.
A Practical Guide
Jeffrey A. Sluka
The ethnography of state terror is “high risk” research and there are real personal dangers for anyone who conducts fieldwork on this issue. Managing such dangers has particularly become an issue for those conducting primary research with perpetrators of state terror—the “rank and file” who apply the electric cattle prods and pull the triggers—and all of the researchers I know who have taken this path have been threatened in one form or another. Th is article reviews the core literature and latest developments in managing the physical dangers inherent in the ethnography of political violence and state terror, particularly fieldwork or primary research with the actual perpetrators themselves, makes practical recommendations for managing such dangers, and presents some ideas for developing risk management plans or protocols for researcher survival in perilous field sites.
Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond
Euro-American scholarship more generally. I wish to extend this focus by exploring the fascination that fieldwork-based researchers and their interlocutors have with each other and with studying religion. As I show, this fascination may lead
foundational, if contestable, concepts (e.g., culture, humanity) and its constitutive practice of ethnographic fieldwork. As a result, theology does not end with anthropology; rather, it becomes reconstituted within the latter’s secular syntax. Anthropology
Side Stories from Molenbeek, Brussels
conducted fieldwork for my PhD dissertation, “Crafting Lives in Brussels: Making and Mobility on the Margins.” Out of ten participants, it was these two middle-aged men from Tunisia and Guinea who were eager to tell me their stories. Since the end of our
Finding Perpetrators and Switchboard Operators in Post-Authoritarian Argentina
Antonius C.G.M. Robben
In conducting fieldwork among perpetrators of state violence, it is a major methodological problem to gain access to competing factions within the research population. Ethnographers often succeed in finding access to at least one faction but this successful rapport might then immediately close off other factions that mistrust the ethnographer’s politics, intentions, or alleged sympathies. The ethnographic challenge is to find intermediaries or switchboard operators, as they are called in this article, who have established informal channels of communication between hostile factions. Switchboard operators have the following characteristics: discretion, neutrality, lack of formal power, disinterestedness, trustworthiness, and they act as a conduit of communication. This article describes how switchboard operators were located in Argentina, and how they played a crucial role in my fieldwork among a broad spectrum of military perpetrators who had terrorized the Argentine people between 1976 and 1983 with enforced disappearances and state repression.
Fieldwork for master’s students of anthropology
Helle Bundgaard and Cecilie Rubow
Fieldwork in a reformed university setting This article calls for a reconsideration of ethnographic fieldwork and the way anthropologists teach, write and talk about what is generally held to be the heart of the discipline. We argue for the
Susan Brin Hyatt
As a political and economic philosophy, neoliberalism has been used to reshape schools and universities, making them far more responsive to the pressures of the market. The principles associated with neoliberalism have also extended to programmes for urban economic development, particularly with respect to the largescale gentrification of neighbourhoods rendering them amenable to investments aimed at creating spaces attractive to white, middle-and-upper class consumers. In this article, I discuss how universities themselves have come to play a significant role as urban developers and investors, promoting commercial retail development and building upscale housing in neighbourhoods adjacent to their campuses. My entry point into this discussion is through describing an ethnographic methods class I taught in 2003, whereby students carried out collaborative research in the African-American neighbourhood surrounding Temple University's main campus in Philadelphia. As a result of their work, we produced a neighbourhood newspaper that sought to disrupt the commonplace assumptions about 'rescuing' the neighbourhood from what was presented as an inexorable spiral of decline; rather, our work showed that actions taken by the university, itself, had helped to produce the very symptoms of decline that the new development project now purported to remedy.
Anthropological fieldwork is a sensual and transformative experience. Being in the field and doing ethnography means an immersion that encompasses the ethnographer’s whole person and self. In contrast, teaching methods and presentation modes
This article is based on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in FNQ over a period of three years. Fieldwork was conducted between September 2012 and September 2013, in March 2014, and between March and April 2015. The timing of these