Doing Ethnographic Fieldwork (Call for Applications)

Winter School
Speaker: 
Peter Berger, Roland Hardenberg, Geoffrey Hobbis, Richa Kumar, Sarbeswar Sahoo, Almut Schneider, Christian Strümpell
Date and Time: 
Mon, 07/03/2022 - 9:00am to Fri, 11/03/2022 - 6:30pm
Schedule: 
09:00 AM to 06:30 PM
Venue: 
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

The cultural anthropologist Sherry B. Ortner (1995) defined ethnography as “the attempt to understand another life world using the self — as much of it as possible — as the instrument of knowing. (…) [T]his kind of understanding has been closely linked with field work, in which the whole self physically and in every other way enters the space of the world the researcher seeks to understand.” However, the fact that the researcher is his or her own tool of understanding and that s/he becomes — for a certain time — more or less part of the world to be studied creates all kinds of methodological, ethical and epistemological prospects, challenges and paradoxes that have been extensively debated in the discipline. Yet, despite of the complex implications Ortner also claims that “ethnography is never impossible”, so all social life is potentially accessible via ethnographic research. It is a method that is thoroughly qualitative and perhaps the best way to understand what it may mean to be a member of a different culture or community.

In this Winter-School we invite students who intend to conduct ethnographic fieldwork for their Post-Graduate research to investigate some of the dimensions of this multi-faceted method. An international group of experienced anthropologists who conducted long-term ethnographic research in different regions of the world (India, Bangladesh, Kirgizstan, Europe, Solomon Islands) will provide lectures and seminars on a variety of issues. Among other things, these researchers will share their experience in doing research in industrial settings and discuss the ethnography of work and the factory as embedded space. As in most parts of the world digital technologies have assumed important roles in people’s lives researching we will also be dealing with Digital Technography and Smartphones as Ethnographic Computers. Readings will be made available to be prepared by the students beforehand.

Next to the lectures and seminars provided by the teachers there will be sufficient room to discuss the research ideas of the students and the anticipated prospects and challenges of their future research projects. A small number of students will be selected to present their research proposals at the Winter School and receive feedback from the teachers and other participants.

Ortner, S.B. 1995 Resistance and the Problem of Ethnographic Refusal. Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 173-193, here pp. 173, 188

Organizing Institutions:
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (India)
University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
Frobenius Institute, Goethe University of Frankfurt (Germany)

Teachers:

Peter Berger (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
Roland Hardenberg (Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt, Germany)
Geoffrey Hobbis (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
Richa Kumar (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Sarbeswar Sahoo (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Almut Schneider (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)
Christian Strümpell (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Venue and Dates:
The Winter School will be held in “Offline Mode” at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi during 7-11 March 2022. COVID guidelines and social distancing will be strictly followed at the venue. We will closely monitor the COVID guidelines. If Covid cases rise and the situation worsens, the Winter School will be organised in “purely Online Mode”.

Who Can Apply?
The winter school is meant for students who have completed their MA/M.Phil degrees in the humanities or/and social sciences (or will do so in the near future), who have an interest in these topics and think about engaging in PhD research in Anthropology/Sociology in the future. Early PhD students may also apply, but priority will be given to MA/M.Phil students.

How to Apply?
Please send us a copy of your latest CV and a one page write up/research proposal on what your research is about or what you planning to work on in future PhD research. Please clearly state your research question(s) in the proposal. Please send the documents to: winterschool.iitd@gmail.com

When is the Last Date to send Application?

The Last Date for sending your application is 25 January 2022.

Participation Fees:
Indian Students: INR 2000 (Two Thousand Rupees only)
Foreign Students: Euro 100 (One Hundred Euro only)

There is no participation fee for students from the following partnering Institutions (University of Groningen and University of Frankfurt). For Indian students, we may consider waiving fees in some cases.

Once your proposal is accepted, you will be required to transfer the fees to an account at IIT Delhi within a week. Failing to do so will mean that you are not interested in participating in the winter school and your place will be given to another student.

Travel/Accommodation:
The Winter School will not cover the cost of your travel and accommodation. You will need to book/arrange your own travel and accommodation in Delhi during the period of the Winter School.

What will you receive?

The Winter School will provide you:
• Soft copies of the course material and program
• Participation/completion certificate signed by representatives of the partnering institutions
• Lunch, tea and snacks for during the winter school
• Some stationaries (optional)

Contact:
Dr Sarbeswar Sahoo
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016
Email: sarbeswar@hss.iitd.ac.in