Lecture image placeholder

Premium content

Access to this content requires a subscription. You must be a premium user to view this content.

Monthly subscription - $9.99Pay per view - $4.99Access through your institutionLogin with Underline account
Need help?
Contact us
Lecture placeholder background
VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/fbp9-qc95


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Difficult Encounters: Vulnerability and Precarity of Ethnography


research/research methods



Ethnography as method and writing has been widely taken up by multidisciplinary scholars. However, there have been little multidisciplinary conversations on the messiness, discomforts, and challenges of designing, carrying out, and writing ethnographies. Yet, these challenges have profound effects on how we are able to carry out our fieldwork, engage with interlocutors, and write for diverse audiences. Building on scholarship that have reimagined ethnography through “translation” (de la Cadena 2015), “ethnographic refusal” (Simpson 2014), “suspending damage” (Tuck 2009), “ethnographic lettering” (Ralph 2020), “vulnerable observation” (Behar 1996), “affective archive” (Thomas 2019), and “patchwork ethnography” (Günel et al. 2020) this roundtable aims to create a space to discuss how ethnographers from different disciplines have navigated challenging relationships, conditions, and politics in their ethnographic research and writing. In doing so, we explore how and why fieldwork “breaks one’s heart” (Behar 1996) while, at times, itself becoming a source of danger, vulnerability, and precarity for the ethnographer in the midst. This roundtable explores how these challenges have shaped research and writing, and how they might help us further reimagine ethnography as more inclusive and equitable practice across disciplines. This roundtable includes scholars from diverse disciplines, including history, sociology, nursing, and anthropology that have used ethnographic methods for their research. The research range from Indigenous peasant resistance against the Shining Path in Peru, road safety and bodily risk in urban India, intergenerational trauma of genocide survivors in Rwanda, to health and well-being after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. These research have engendered multiple challenges for ethnographers who have navigated the places and projects through their own embodied positionalities and resources, in order to produce research that is accountable not only to academic discussions but also to the communities they worked with. Together, presenters and participants will engage with and think through the following questions: What challenges did you face through your specific field site and positionality, and how did that affect the ways you designed, carried out, and wrote your research? How have diverse histories, epistemologies, and power relations factored into your practice, among ethnographers and interlocutors, ethnographic methods and other disciplinary methods, and divergent stakes in the communities and in the academy? Who are you writing for, where are you writing from, and how have you considered your responsibility towards your interlocutors? How have divergent stakes shaped your practices of writing, teaching, and community engagement? Ultimately, what are the ethnographic potentials that each work with and their limitations?


Transcript English (automatic)

Next from AAA Annual Meeting 2021

Reckoning with Dread: Dilemmas of Democracy When All Lives Don’t Matter

Reckoning with Dread: Dilemmas of Democracy When All Lives Don’t Matter

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

Faye V. Harrison
Faye V. Harrison

18 November 2021

Similar lecture

Critical Research Spaces: Lab, Studios, Centers and the production dynamic anthropologies

Critical Research Spaces: Lab, Studios, Centers and the production dynamic anthropologies

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

18 November 2021

Stay up to date with the latest Underline news!

Select topic of interest (you can select more than one)


  • All Lectures
  • For Librarians
  • Resource Center
  • Free Trial
Underline Science, Inc.
1216 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA

© 2023 Underline - All rights reserved