Tales from the Field

An initiative of students in the Department studying overseas and/or conducting research in other parts of the country or world.  Tales from the Field is meant to provide a forum for students to share their experiences, perhaps in experimental ways, through ongoing narrative pieces that take the reader into a particular (and sometimes peculiar) social and cultural worlds they encounter while “in the field.”  They are intended to convey the lived experience of the places and people encountered through a variety of depictive techniques and textual devices, highlighting the application of theory and methods in our disciplines of anthropology and sociology.  These are voluntary entries from our students organized by academic year of study.

Let’s start with an orienting piece from Dr. Brian Hoey (anthropology) on the significance of, and relationships between, one’s personal background, the experience of fieldwork, the conduct of that work, and eventual contributions to scholarship:

“… [O]ver the past twenty years, interest has grown for considering the close relationship between personal history, motivation, and the particulars of ethnographic fieldwork.  Specifically, how do these factors have bearing on the construction of theory and conduct of a scholarly life.  Personal and professional experiences, together with historical context, lead individual researchers to their own particular methodological and theoretical approaches.  [F]ieldwork is shaped by personal and professional identities just as these identities are inevitably shaped by individual experiences while in the field.  Unfortunately, the autobiographical dimension of ethnographic research has been downplayed historically if not discounted altogether” (From the 2008 afterword to “American Dreaming:  Refugees from Corporate Work Seek the Good Life” in The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class, E. Rudd & L. Descartes, eds.  Lanham, MD: Lexington)

Just click on a name below for representative Tales from the Field:

Ennis Barbery (2009)

Rachel Huff (2009)

Steve Mays (2010)

Samantha Harvey (2015) [will open an external link on Tumblr]  Samantha is an ANT major studying at American University in Bulgaria (AUBG).