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Fieldwork in South Asia

Fieldwork in South Asia
Memories, Moments, and Experiences

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Sarit K. Chaudhuri - Head, Department of Anthropology, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri - Head, Centre for Indigenous Culture Studies, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi

September 2014 | 398 pages | SAGE India

Fieldwork in South Asia is a valuable attempt to listen and learn from the memories and significant moments of fieldwork done by anthropologists, sociologists, and even historians from South Asia. The essays lead towards a deeper understanding of concerns of fieldwork located in various field sites across South Asia without assuming or applying fixed normative rules for the whole region. In the process, the volume allows the reader to have an option to locate or relocate ethnographic or other forms of texts in the context of growing methodological contours and dilemmas in the social science.

Above all, this is a book about relationships—multi-layered relationships among people encountered in the field, the ethnographic relationship itself, with all its personal raw edges, and relationship with the land and even non-human realms.

Felix Padel
Sarit K. Chaudhuri and Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri
Introduction: Evolving Concerns of Fieldwork
Ellen Bal
A Historian/ Anthropologist amongst the Garos of Bangladesh
Ali Khan
Power and Authority in the Field
A C Sinha
Story of My Research in Bhutan
Mandy Sadan
Remembering Fieldwork Histories
Ben Campbell
Fields of Working Knowledge
Arjun Guneratne
Reflections on Fieldwork in Three Cultures
Robbins Burling
Return to Rengsanggri
Erik de Maaker
Researching Garo Death Rites
Debojyoti Das
Memories and Reflections on Ethnographic Fieldwork in ‘Conflict’ Setting
Anungla Aier
In Search of Storytellers among the Khiamniungan Nagas
Gautam Kumar Bera
Experiencing Mortuary Practices in an Anthropological Journey
Arnab Das
Making Senses of the Organizations and the Experiences of Anthropological Practices in a University of India
Suman Nath and Bhaskar Chakrabarti
Tales of Everyday Politics in West Bengal
Neel Rekha
Doing Fieldwork and Discovering Harijan Art in Madhubani
Vijoy S Sahay
Memories of My Third Visit to the Nicobar Archipelago
Abeer Gupta
Discovering the Self and Others in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh
Daniel J Rycroft and Ganesh Devy
Dialogue on Indigenous Studies and Fieldwork in India

The most valuable reflection on one of the central concerns of contemporary anthropology: to rehabilitate fieldwork as the essential core of the discipline’s specificity. The contributors vividly account how field immersion is always an arduous and delicate undertaking and how for the same reason it cannot be substituted by any expedient.

Philippe Ramirez
Directeur de l’UPR 299, Centre d'Études Himalayennes, CNRS, France

This remarkable volume brings together established as well as junior scholars to remember and reflect upon their field experiences, but what makes it truly fascinating is that it addresses South Asia as a whole. We learn how the national, cultural, and bureaucratic context in which fieldwork is conducted differs from country to country; how anthropologists have negotiated their relationships with their informants over time; how fieldwork can be carried out under dangerous conditions; and how serendipitous encounters generate new discoveries. This is a valuable addition to the range of volumes in and on the “field”. 

Nandini Sundar
Professor, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, and recipient of The Infosys Prize 2010 for Social Sciences

This edited volume, containing a collection of essays from established and new scholars, provides multiple dimensions to the understanding of fieldwork... [It] has some chapters that are absolute gems, raising crucial? questions about understanding fieldwork.??

Supurna Banerjee
Oral History

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