Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Call for Papers, "Death and the Fieldworker: Dealing with Loss in Ethnographic Research"

Anthropologists and other social scientists who conduct ethnographic fieldwork are invited to submit an essay for consideration in a new edited volume on death in the context of fieldwork. Essays will explore the meanings, ramifications, and challenges of death and dying within three broad contexts. First, what is the relationship of investigators with their research communities when there is a death? With death, it seems, community life and individual relationships destabilize. As ethnographers, we are not immune to feeling the stress and grief of losing close friends and collaborators in the field. Second, what is the relative importance of some deaths (juvenile, human, ideological, linguistic, etc) over others within a community? The death of an individual represents more than just the passing of the life of that person. It can also mean that the sum total of cultural knowledge carried by that individual and enacted through her or his social relationships dies as well. Ethnographers and communities feel the impact of the loss of such culture bearers, albeit in different ways, as the loss of cultural knowledge or community potential. Finally, how do communities and researchers learn the management of unexpected or endemic mortality and chronic sorrow? Fieldwork partly becomes a process by which we learn from those around us different ways of coping. These may not be ways we fully adopt, but they certainly inform a greater understanding, or epistemology, of death and continual loss.

Essays should be ethnographically driven, theoretically grounded, and humanistically compelling. Interested authors should submit a 500 word abstract and curriculum vitae by e-mail attachment to Jon Wolseth (jwolseth@gmail. com) and Samantha Solimeo (Samantha@solimeo. com) no later than August 22nd, 2008

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