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 discuss their fieldwork contexts (their research questions and contexts) as well as a specific topic from their experience that is interesting and helpful for graduate students about to go into the field.
PanelistsSarah Craycraft (MA Student, Comparative Studies) will discuss how active participation in the 14th annual Goat Milk Festival in Gorna Bela Rechka, Bulgaria helped to lay the groundwork for future research. She will discuss how the experience of being new in a place where people have built strong bonds by returning year after year for this event, and how participating actively helped her to make space for herself in a somewhat tight-knit group. Though active participation is nothing new for fieldworkers, Sarah believes that what was special about her experience was her willingness to be vulnerable among strangers by sharing personal narratives, moving her from a position of observer to active participant. Sarah will also discuss the trickiness of pacing that goes along with building trust, and how she navigated moments which required slower, more careful participation vs. moments that took a bout of courage for her to join in. Amanda Randhawa (PhD Candidate, Comparative Studies) Amanda’s shifting betwixt and between positionality as an ethnographer over the past fifteen years provides a fertile ground for discussing the importance of maintaining an awareness of our ethnographic social identity. Amanda will discuss her field relationships over the long term and how understanding these relationships and her place in them shapes the ways she can act and interact with her interlocutors. She will talk about her knowledge of and deference to culturally and religiously-specific social requirements and how they help her achieve her goals as a fieldworker. Wenyuan Shao (PhD Student, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures) will discuss her research in southwest China and the strategies she uses to reciprocate with the communities with which she resides during fieldwork. She will reflect on her shifting roles as an elementary school teacher to student researcher.
This event is FREE and open to the public.