Negotiating Fieldwork: Unfolding of Institutional Practices and Contemporary Challenges
16-17 September 2016
University of Delhi

An important way in which the identity of the discipline of Anthropology has been maintained is through its rich tradition of fieldwork. Over the years different departments across India have developed their own unique ways of approaching and conducting fieldwork with students of Anthropology in M.Sc. final year. Despite the long tradition, departmental fieldwork and its nuances is one of the lesser discussed topics in anthropological gatherings. Every department strives hard to maintain this tradition through various strategies to overcome the bottlenecks and difficulties in handling it. Organising a fieldtrip involves encountering academic and extra academic challenges which have been properly articulated in various institutional traditions in the last century. However, much opacity prevails as far as its actual practice is concerned. Very rarely, if ever, colleages across departments talk to each other on such institutional practices.

The long fieldwork, what could be termed ‘team ethnography’, has been carried out much conveniently in an annual system of academic calender given the flexibility it provides regards time. With the introduction of the semester system, constraints related to coursework completion and limits of time have curtailed the length of fieldwork. Further the fieldwork team faces new challenges like resource crunch, time constraint, dealing with the rhythm of academic calender and the season and more specifically the changing nature of the anthropological field.

In the light of this we propose a two day seminar to discuss the critical and emerging issues involved in team fieldwork having significant implications for anthropological pedagogy. Much of a future anthropologist is shaped primarily during his/her fieldwork training during post graduation. It would be, therefore be pertinent to discuss the intricacies in and the future of Anthropological fieldwork in India.

Institutional Practices
Gender and Fieldwork
Ethical Issues
Negotiating the Field
Team Ethnography

Book of Abstracts