A recent interview with Dr. Jason DeCaro highlights the value of biocultural work and draws on our recent collaboration.
Dr. Weaver and colleagues Craig Hadley (Emory University) and Bonnie Kaiser (Duke University) received an NSF Senior Award for their collaborative project entitled "Food Insecurity and Mental Health in Global Perspective: Social and Nutritional Pathways." The project explores the various pathways linking food insecurity and mental health in their respective research sites in Brazil, Ethiopia, and Haiti. The project will span 3 years, and the award includes some support for undergraduate and graduate student research involvement.
HIDDEN MOTIVATIONS AND GLOSSED JUSTIFICATIONS: PROBLEMS AND PRIORITIES IN BIOCULTURAL FIELD RESEARCH
Sponsored By: Biological Anthropology Section and General Anthropology Division
Thursday, November 19, 2015: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
113 (Colorado Convention Center)
What could be stranger to experience yet more familiar to to the discipline of anthropology than the experience of fieldwork? Anthropologists have long promoted the value of self-reflexivity as a way to understand our place in the field, but with the postmodern turn in cultural anthropology, this reflexivity became more philosophical than practical in orientation. Recent public conversations about the encroachment of personal and interpersonal issues on fieldwork experiences, such Clancy and colleagues's (2014) highly publicized documentation of sexual harassment in scientific field research, suggest renewed attention in anthropology toward the potentially problematic aspects of field research coincident with the research activities themselves. This session aims to bring biological and biocultural researchers into conversation about the risks and challenges associated with fieldwork. Drawing examples from our original work on mental health among students doing field research, experiences of sexual harassment in scientific research, questions of parenting in the field, and negotiations of racial dynamics between researchers and participants, the papers in this session critically examine fieldwork and its attendant risks. Each presenter will explore at least one of the following: 1) The inherent tension between the exigencies of fieldwork and the needs of self and family during fieldwork; 2) balancing best practices for professional interactions in the field with the imperative to be socially accessible to informants; 3) practical suggestions for nurturance of healthy relationships during fieldwork; 4) structural forces shaping fieldwork priorities, for better or worse, in our academic field; and 5) responsibilities toward the preparedness of students entering the field in terms of theory and method, as well as temperament and emotional wellbeing. This session aims to advance a holistic anthropology by highlighting the common challenges that scholars from all subfields of the discipline may face during their fieldwork. With time for discussion and debate, this session welcomes participation from audience members on practical and philosophical questions about the position of the anthropologist, authority, power, and corruption in the field.
This session would be of particular interest to:
Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students, Those involved in mentoring activities
Organizers: Lesley Jo Weaver (University of Alabama) and Christopher D Lynn (University of Alabama)
Chairs: Lesley Jo Weaver (University of Alabama)
Discussants: Robin G Nelson (Skidmore College)
Disasters in the Field: Learning from the Challenges of Fieldwork Gone Wrong
Gillian H Ice (Ohio U Coll of Osteopathic Med), Darna L Dufour (University of Colorado Boulder) and Nancy J Stevens (Ohio University)
Anthropologists, Kids, and Careers: When Family Is Strange and the Field Familiar
Christopher D Lynn (University of Alabama) and Michaela E Howells (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Considering the Whole Person As Ethnographer
Eileen P Anderson-Fye (Case Western Reserve University, Department of Anthropology)
Vicarious Trauma: Bearing Witness in the Field
Rebecca J Lester (Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Anthropology)
Raced Encounters in Fieldwork: Reflections and Questions
Lesley Jo Weaver (University of Alabama)
Robin G Nelson (Skidmore College)
Review of "Reconstructing Obesity: The Meaning of Measures and the Measure of Meanings" published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Dr. Jo Weaver is a medical anthropologist who specializes in the study of chronic diseases, mental health, and nutrition in India and Brazil.