Teaching for learning (and producing): involving the student in the ethnographic research process
Gareth Hamilton (University of Latvia)
Paper short abstract:
In a constructivist mode which highly values the contribution of the student in the learning process of both student and of teacher, in this paper I consider the importance of involving the local student in the process of doing ethnographic research led by non-native staff.
Paper long abstract:
In a constructivist mode which highly values the contribution of the student in the learning process of both student and of teacher, in this paper I consider the importance of involving the local student in the process of doing ethnographic research led by non-native staff. I consider two examples. First, I reflect upon discussions with students on ongoing research projects, namely in this case my engagement as researcher on a European Capital of Culture-funded film project. While the experiences of collaborating with a film maker is a valuable learning tool for methodological education, I debate to what extent our own students can act as a forum for testing cases where local sensibilities might be wounded by outsiders, especially in a post-socialist country where in general ‘westerners’ and their research agendas have been seen as neocolonialist, insulting or inconsiderate. The second example relates to engaging students in producing research collaboratively, destined for publication. Picking up on ethical issues in the first example, I question what benefits can exist in students getting involved, for the students, including as named co-authors. However, taking in to account questions that arise from the transience of the degree earning process, I consider whether there are risks of exploitation, and if such risks exist, how might these be mitigated for the benefits of the students and of anthropological knowledge production due to their local expertise.
Teaching ethnography as method: legacies and future practices [TAN]