Ep #66 Method Adaptations, Big Bugs & aguaje: Diana Tung on Doing Fieldwork During Covid-19

“How much time do you actually need to spend with someone to “accurately” represent their lives?” 

This week, we bring you an interview with Diana Tung who is currently doing her field work in the city of Iquitos in Peru. This is also executive producer Matt’s first interview! 

Diana discusses all things fieldwork and how things have changed since we have experienced a global pandemic. We talk about how she has had to adapt her methods and how very different things are when compared to the start of the year. We also touch on serendipity and how it played into her field work. Finally, we discuss the passing of David Graeber and the effect that he had on her work and our work being a representation of the people we work with. 


“I think if you’re hanging out with people and the same topic comes up over and over again, it’s probably something you should be paying attention to” 

“Just because you didn’t know about it beforehand or you weren’t paying attention to it beforehand doesn’t mean it’s not important to the people you’re hanging out with” 

“Sometimes it does work, and when it does I”m very very thankful other times I spend the entire week waking up in the middle of the night to download a program” 

“It’s really important of course to maintain your relationships with people back home, but having someone close by who I knew could step in and help me when I really needed help at any time I think that kind of support is priceless” 

Check out more of Diana’s work here:

If you wanted to read the tribute to David Graeber by Rebecca Solnit that Diana mentioned, read it here:

Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats and let us know what you found most interesting in this episode. Let’s keep talking strange, together!

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Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.
Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
Shownotes by Matthew Phung
Podcast edited by Matthew Phung

Diana’s research is supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP), the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies and the Bernard Wheelahan Latin America Travel Grant.

Feature Image “An aguajera peeling the fruit for her street stall”  By Diana Tung  (2020)

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