Summer School for PhD and Master Students
The Gendered Ethnographer: Social Relations, Vulnerability and Power Dynamics in the Field
July 30 – August 4, 2017
Have you ever wondered how you would react in case you are threatened or assaulted during fieldwork? Have you worried about getting ‘too emotional’ or ‘too scared’ to continue field research? Have you fallen in love during fieldwork and wondered whether this makes you a ‘bad ethnographer’? Have you had the feeling that your gender, sexual, religious or ethnic identities negatively impact your access to the field?
Questions such as these are common, but are often marginalized in ethnographic training and education. While more and more disciplines rely on anthropological fieldwork with participant observation as research method, there continues to be a gap in the institutional training and preparation of ethnographic fieldworkers. While, for example, interview techniques are part of the basic training of students, aspects such as gender, age, sexual orientation, or ethnicity of the ethnographer are often only casually taken into account. These multiple identities, however, have a major influence on fieldwork practice, the collected data and ultimately impact the security of the researcher.
This applies in particular to doctoral researchers who are only starting to acquire academic status and scientific reputation. Not only do they have to convince supervisors and superiors of their methodological and technical skills, but are additionally confronted with a predominantly androcentric literature of methodology that does not sufficiently address gender-specific and power-related challenges. This problem is supported by the continuing myth of fieldwork as the quasi-initiation of ethnographers who are to master a variety of difficulties, leaving little space for discussions of vulnerability, ethical challenges and dangerous situations.
Up to 16 PhD and Master students are thus invited to discuss gender- and power-related challenges and dangers of ethnographic fieldwork during this international and interdisciplinary summer school. It is going to take place at the University of Cologne, Germany, from July 30 to August 4, 2017, and is organized by Sinah Kloß (University of Cologne) to facilitate discussion among junior researchers. It is funded by the University of Cologne’s Fund for the Implementation of the Gender-Equity Law.
Topics of workshops will be, for example:
- Emotions in the Field and Academic Writing
- Sexualized Harassment and Violence in the Field
- Intersectionality, Ethnicity and LGBTTIQ Researchers
- Sexuality and Love Relations in the Field
- Sickness and Loss during Fieldwork
Any PhD or advanced Master student who uses ethnographic fieldwork as a research method is invited to apply. Applications are due by May 5, 2017. They must include a CV (max. 2 pages) and a letter of motivation (max. 1 page) in a single pdf. The successful participants will be notified in May. Travel costs cannot be covered.
Send your applications to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (subject line: Summer School 2017).
Sinah Kloß, University of Cologne