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
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.
Negotiating Representations of Neo-Pentecostal Aesthetic Practice in Berlin
group over an extended period of time? These questions became salient in relation to my negotiations with research participants about specific passages of academic texts growing out of my fieldwork with a diasporic religious group in Berlin. This
Talal Asad, Jonathan Boyarin, Nadia Fadil, Hussein Ali Agrama, Donovan O. Schaefer, and Ananda Abeysekara
-speaking world, the world from which my mother had come. But my initial criticism of the focus in anthropology on ‘fieldwork’ was motivated by a dissatisfaction with the notion that it was a direct and therefore reliable observational method (its empiricism
Albert I. Baumgarten
argument. Spiro found Douglas's conclusions unconvincing. He insisted that they suffered from overgeneralization and lacked an adequate basis in fieldwork. He charged that the main conclusion of Purity and Danger was “supported neither by evidence nor
Julián Antonio Moraga Riquelme, Leslie E. Sponsel, Katrien Pype, Diana Riboli, Ellen Lewin, Marina Pignatelli, Katherine Swancutt, Alejandra Carreño Calderón, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Sergio González Varela, Eugenia Roussou, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Miho Ishii, Markus Balkenhol, and Marcelo González Gálvez
Mayapuri (the city of illusion)—is considered not only the financial and commercial capital of the country, but also the heart of the entertainment and Bollywood industry. During his fieldwork, carried out mostly in 2002 and 2003, Elison embarked on a
The Affective Pedagogy of Post-Secular Sufi Healing in Germany
Ruhaniat was one of the three Sufi networks 3 that I mostly engaged with during my 15 months of fieldwork (2013–2015) in Berlin and connected sites in Germany and Turkey ( Selim 2015b , 2019 ). At that time, three different streams of the Inayati networks