[This is the final post in a three-part series on archiving and sharing fieldwork data.]
Lisa Cliggett: How can we archive all this data?
Two years ago, I worked with Lisa Cliggett on an NSF-sponsored project to curate 60 years of anthropology projects in the Gwembe Tonga region of Zambia, a complex pilot project that involved anthropologists, campus IT, librarians, and a gullible library school student then-willing to work for free (me!). We experimented with ways to curate Lisa’s field records Continue reading
In my last post, I recommended that we consider archiving and sharing records from our fieldwork. Yet sharing both raw notes and publications can present challenges, as Rex recently covered with the controversy over Alice Goffman’s ‘anonymous’ but easily traced research in Philadelphia, published after she destroyed her fieldnotes.
Kristin Ghodsee similarly writes of the difficulties she encountered as she researched post-Socialist Muslims in Bulgaria—research that caught the interest of both local and American officials. After being detained and interrogated by Bulgarian officials, she decided to drop almost all of the ethnography from her forthcoming work. She describes her encounter with the state in this way:
He then asked me: “Are you responsible for this?”
“Excuse me?” I said, not quite understanding his implication.
“Is your purpose in Bulgaria to encourage these girls to assert their human rights?”
“No,” I stammered, “I’ve been doing this research since 2004, long before this summer.”
“But you know the girls?”
“Some of them.”
“And the people who are teaching them?”
“They are all the subject of my ongoing research. An academic research project.”
“Good,” he said. He nodded and jotted something down on his clipboard. He finally asked me if I had any questions for him.
“Is this interview a normal procedure for Americans applying for long-term residency?”
“No,” he said, matter-of-factly, “It is only for you.”
“Your topic is interesting to us.” (Ghodsee 2011, p. 180).
As Ghodsee goes on to suggest, sharing the results of our research in any form, published or unpublished, can attract unwanted attention and Continue reading
[Savage Minds welcomes guest blogger Celia Emmelhainz.]
“This will be your office,” Dr. Bernson* says, unlocking the storage room near her office.
Tall wooden shelves frame rows of ethnography, gender studies, and area studies book, dog-eared dictionaries of minority languages, and obscure books she picked up in the field. A row of file cabinets faces the bookshelves, and in the back: two old computers for the graduate students.
One Tuesday, when work is slow, I unlock my office door and open the large file cabinet marked fieldnotes. Continue reading