Ethnography Panel

February 7, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
TBA
Gathering Places (stones as seats). Photo by Yuanhao Zhao
Join current folklore graduate students for a panel discussion and Q&A on fieldwork experiences and what to expect (or unexpectedly encounter!) while in the field. Panelists will share unique situations from their experiences conducting research, and will offer advice for students who plan to conduct fieldwork in the future. 
 

Cristina Benedetti is in the Department of Comparative Studies, and conducted research in Washington, D.C.. She studyied the logistics and other material requirements of public gatherings on the National Mall. Cristina will focus on the "observation" aspect of "participant observation," and discuss the ways that much of her research consisted of spending time in public, simultaneously alone and among others, making notes and taking photographs in order to gather longitudinal information about the use of Mall.

Bishal Karna is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Studies with a specialization in Religious Studies and Comparative Philosophy. His dissertation studies the process of teaching and learning in Zen Buddhist centers in the American Midwest. He conducted ethnographic fieldwork for nine months in three primary field sites: Ryumonji Zen Monastery and Hokyoji Zen Practice Community located in the beautiful driftless zone in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota respectively, and Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bishal visited many Zen centers and meditation groups and lived in the homes of Zen priests and practitioners in Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Missouri. His presentation, titled “The Ethnography of Zen and the Zen of Ethnography,” will focus on how the ethnographic methods he used and Zen practice he immersed himself in during fieldwork influenced one another.

Kati Fitzgerald, a PhD student in the Department of Comparative Studies, is researching innovation and preservation of religious practice in rural China. Kati has completed two years of fieldwork for my MA in Kathmandu, Nepal and Lhasa, Tibet. She is in the process of completing fieldwork in Nangchen, Yushu, Qinghai, China. Kati completed a preliminary month of exploratory research and plans to be back in the field during the summer 2017 and (depending on funding) the entire 2017-2018 academic year. She will discuss the logistics of multi-sited fieldwork.

Yuanhao “Graham” Zhao conducted fieldwork in a “Hui” Muslim village in Shandong Province, China for his research on expressive culture, especially death-related rituals and narratives. He will discuss establishing rapport, self-identification in the field, collaborators’ expectations of folklorists, and sharing information about one’s self with collaborators.
 

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