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From rite of passage to a mentored educational activity

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

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Ward Keeler

likely to want to learn about. Suppressing information about how the fieldwork encounter actually took place, this well-known critique asserts, dissembles the power imbalance between the anthropologist and his or her objects of study (cf. Clifford and

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Andrew Buckser

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.

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Research Methodology in Kurdish Studies

Interactions between Fieldwork, Epistemology and Theory

Mehmet Orhan

domination and legitimation in societies, likely resulting from the separate discussion of theory and observation (see Shil's foreword to Weber 1949 ). This problem has certainly lessened due to the development of methodological and fieldwork techniques

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Michael Whyte

In this article I explore links between fieldwork experience and different conceptions of time as they are encountered in what I term 'episodic fieldwork'. I use 'episodic' to emphasize the importance of absence and return for fieldwork relationships and the ethnographies that are founded on these relationships. I draw on Simmel's concept of sociability to explore the significance of the recurring updates that are so much a part of long-term and thus episodic fieldwork. Updating suggests participation, positionality, and transformation-as well as play and familiarity. The presumption of familiarity, which is at the heart of sociability, becomes a tool for exploring time and new social experiences and the ways in which chronology is interwoven with shifting social positions.

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Navigating Unpredictable Sites

Methodological Implications of Positioning during and after Fieldwork in Conflict Societies

Eva Gerharz

fieldwork itself, but also of the time before and after fieldwork. Consequently, positioning needs to be understood as a process—a set of practices, actions, and meanings closely related to the field—as researchers constantly readjust the boundaries between

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George E. Marcus

Classic conditions of fieldwork research, to which anthropology remains committed, are difficult to establish today within far-reaching projects of neoliberal economy, governance and philanthropy. The forms of collaboration on which these projects insist, and those that ethnography encourages for its own research purposes, must be reconciled. On the bargains or adjustments that anthropology makes with neoliberal projects, within which it establishes scenes of fieldwork, depends its capacity to produce critique - its primary agenda since the 1980s. These issues are what are at stake in the widespread current discussions of, and hopes for, an 'engaged' anthropology.

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Reflections on Fieldwork in Yemen

The Genealogy of a Diary in Response to Rabinow's Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco

Daniel Martin Varisco

In preparation for writing an ethnographic monograph on fieldwork in Yemen, I compare and contrast my field diary, written in 1978–9, with Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco (1977). The underlying question is what post-fieldwork reflections reflect meaningfully about the immediacy of ethnographic fieldwork? I criticise the reflexivist trope of privileging ‘writing culture’ over the significance of ‘being there’ in the field. Point by point, I examine the implications of graduate training in anthropology, culture shock, health problems, language skills, the unreflective male voice, visual ethnography and the rhetoric of narrative writing.

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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

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

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Methods Applied

Political Transformation and Recent Ethnographic Fieldwork in Iran

Mary Elaine Hegland and Erika Friedl

In the 1970s social cultural anthropology in Iran was beginning to flourish. However, with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the subsequent Islamic Republic of Iran, fieldwork in Iran became extremely problematic. Foreign anthropologists faced formidable obstacles to obtaining visas and permits. Anthropologists working inside Iran were also discouraged from anthropological participant observation. As a result, during the post revolutionary period, few anthropologists have been conducting fieldwork in Iran. Recently, some hopeful signs for a possible reestablishment of anthropology can be noted, among them the return of young Iranian anthropologists, from countries where they have grown up and gained an education, to their homeland for dissertation research. This article discusses the influences on fieldwork of politics—international, national and local—and projects, problems and strategies of some anthropologists who have conducted recent ethnographic fieldwork in Iran.