Blurred lines and dead chooks in fieldwork

My own fieldwork experience, like many others, demonstrates a blurring in what is ‘professional’ and ‘personal’, what is ‘leisure’ and ‘work’, whether you are researcher, student, or known by another identity. While researchers may strive to draw boundaries, distinctions in field research are blurry, because the nature of fieldwork means an element of the unknown and the out-of-control, and the intersection of different people, things, position, gender, power, knowledge and culture. As feminist geographers and anthropologists note, fieldwork is messy.

Ep #60 Adapting Methods, Human Difference, Virtual Dojos and Foggy Field notes:This Month on TFS

Welcome back to a new season!  With Covid-19 restrictions still in place, we bring you another Zoom panel! For this reason, the audio quality will be a little different to our usual studio sound. This week, we are joined by Sophie Chao, who we interviewed previously about her use of multispecies ethnography during her time … Continue reading Ep #60 Adapting Methods, Human Difference, Virtual Dojos and Foggy Field notes:This Month on TFS

Ep #59 The Palm Oil Frontier: Sophie Chao & Walking the forest with the Marind People

The Familiar Strange · Ep #59 The Palm Oil Frontier: Sophie Chao & Walking the forest with the Marind People “Because for a few hours, maybe sometimes a few days, you can shed your human skin and you can take on the body of a creature that will allow you to fly, to swim through … Continue reading Ep #59 The Palm Oil Frontier: Sophie Chao & Walking the forest with the Marind People

Balancing Acts: An Ethnographer’s Thoughts on Studying Religion

Anthropologists sometimes study sensitive topics and it is therefore not uncommon for ethnographic work to attract serious criticism along such lines. In a recent social media thread, I encountered one such critic whose principal argument was, that both I the ethnographer and the academic study of religion in general had no business writing about religious traditions (Shaligrams, in my case), should not be participating in rituals or engaging with sacred objects. What should the ethnographer’s response to this be then? What is our role in all this?