Problematizing “Field-work”: A Seminar on Knowledge, Power and Self-reflection

For me the methodology is the research…my research methodology is the first whole chapter I wrote for my dissertation…
This event sounds really interesting…

CERLAC presents
Problematizing “Field-work”
A Seminar on Knowledge, Power and Self-reflection

Thursday February 16, 4 -6 PM
280A York Lanes
York University

C. Susana Caxaj: “Constructions and contradictions in research with a mining-impacted indigenous community”
Nadia Hasan: “Containing fieldwork: Locating the ‘field’ in academic knowledge production”
Robert Kohls: “The epistemology and ethics of member checking: Simply a question of voice?

The notion and practice of “field-work” are usually taken from granted and treated as a technical question (i.e. how to “properly” gather “the data”). However, many critical perspectives have shown that the (social) sciences are implicated in power relations. Thus, “field-work” needs to be interrogated in nuanced ways. Where is the “field”? Why are some countries frequently treated by scholars as producers of the “state of the art” (theory) while others are imagined as the place to gather data and do field-work? Does “field-work” finish when one arrives back to Pearson? Should this “epistemology of the adventurer” be challenged? Why “the poor”, “indigenous communities”, “subaltern groups” are seen, studied, talked about, and conceptually dissected while ethnographies and studies of the rich and powerful are rare? And what kind of ethical and epistemological commitments does that entail? Are graduate students of Canadian universities really that “privileged” in comparison to the “people” they “study” or the story is in some cases more complicated than that? What does the common lament about “how privileged we are” actually “do”, both politically and ethically? In sum, in what sense “field-work” can be seen as a power relation and academia as politically relevant? Our presenters will address some of these and other issues through their own research experience.

More details, including presenter bios and abstracts:

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