On doing ethnography and implementing methods–a reading / resource list

Especially since beginning fieldwork research almost two months ago now, I’ve been desperate for more advice on doing ethnography and implementing methodological approaches (for a discussion of specific tools see here). Some blogs with fantastic resources that I came across include: Anthrodendum (and its prior home at Savage Minds), Raul Pacheco-Vega’s blog, Ethnography MattersFootnotes, and Fieldsites, and the open access journal Anthropology Matters.

Below is a list of some blog posts, books, podcasts, and other resources that I’ve found helpful to think with for a variety of reasons, including their honesty, concreteness, and critical interrogations of what constitutes “research.”

[Yes, there’s a lot of cross-cutting articles and themes across the groupings below, and yes, there’s a lot more that could be added! This is just a selection.]

On doing (critical) (feminist) ethnography:

AnthroPod podcast

Brah, Avtar, “the scent of memory: strangers, our own and others,” 1999–published here (paywalled)

Conquergood, Dwight, “Rethinking Ethnography: Towards a Critical Cultural Politics”–available in this online course packet

Davis, Dána-Ain, and Christa Craven, Feminist Ethnography: Thinking through Methodologies, Challenges, and Possibilities, 2016–google book preview here

The Familiar Strange podcast

Give Methods A Chance podcast

Gunaratnam, Yasmin and Carrie Hamilton, “The wherewithal of feminist methods,” 2017–an introduction to an entire Feminist Review issue on methods (that’s currently posted without a paywall)!

Hall, Stuart, “Avtar Brah’s cartographies: moment, method, meaning,” 2012–published here (paywalled)

Lury, Celia and Nina Wakeford, editors, Inventive Methods: The happening of the social, 2012–google book preview here

Madison, D. Soyini, Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance, 2011–google book preview here

Mattioli, Fabio, Emily Channell-Justice, and Andrew Hernann, “Back from the Field” talks, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), Anthropology Program, recorded by the GC Videography Fellows, 2014–view on Vimeo here

McGranahan, Carole, “Explaining Ethnography in the Field: A Conversation between Pasang Yangjee Sherpa and Carole McGranahan,” 2017

Yates-Doerr, Emily, “The ethnographic case: series conclusion,” 2017

On ethnographic sensibility and the FEELS involved with doing ethnographic research:

Abidin, Crystal, “Traveling Academics and the Guilt from Crises at Home,” 2017

Beatty, Andrew, “How Did It Feel for You? Emotion, Narrative, and the Limits of Ethnography,” 2010–PDF available to download here

Behar, Ruth, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart, 1996–PDF available here

Fleischmann, Adam, “Feelings in the field: reflections on fieldwork in murk-o,” 2018

Johnson, Alix, “Affect, Attention, and Ethnographic Research: Thoughts on Mental Health in the Field,” 2016

Pacheco-Vega, Raul, “On having ethnographic sensibility,” 2016

Page, Tiffany, “Vulnerable writing as a feminist methodological practice,” 2017

Pollard, Amy, “Field of screams: difficulty and ethnographic fieldwork,” 2009

Reyes-Foster, Beatriz and Rebecca J. Lester, “Trauma and Resilience in Ethnographic Fieldwork,” 2019

Shrestha, Celayne Heaton, “Emotional apprenticeships: reflection on the role of academic practice in the construction of ‘the field,'” 2007

The Somatics Toolkit for Ethnographers–includes a set of Core Practice Audio Guides for bringing an awareness of your body more deeply into your ethnographic sensibility and research practice

Stainova, Yana, “Enchantment as Methodology,” 2017

Sultan, Aisha J. M., guest producer, “When Fieldwork Breaks Your Heart,” AnthroPod podcast episode, 2019

Williams, Bianca C., “What I Now Know About Completing Fieldwork,” 2011 (in Anthropology News–Section News: Association of Black Anthropologists)–published here (paywalled)

On race, gender, and violence when doing ethnographic research:

Berry, Maya J, Claudia Chávez Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada, “Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field,” 2017

Hagan, Ampson, “Guest Post: On Not Looking Like an Expert: Being Black and Doing Research in Africa, White People’s Historical and Theoretical Turf,” 2019

Hanes, Amy and Holly Walters, “A Long Journey Home: Supporting Students in the Field” [useful to review before beginning fieldwork]

Hanson, Rebecca and Patricia Richards, Harassed: Gender, Bodies, and Ethnographic Research, 2019–Google book preview here

LeVon, Laura A., “Teaching Fugitive Anthropology with Maya Berry and Colleagues,” 2018

Me Too Anthro’s entire reading list on the issue of sexual assault and harassment in anthropology

Nelson, Robin G., Julienne N. Rutherford, Katie Hinde, and Kathryn B. H. Clancy, “Signaling Safety: Characterizing Fieldwork Experiences and Their Implications for Career Trajectories,” 2017 (currently available without a paywall)

Williams, Bianca C., “#MeToo: A Crescendo in the Discourse about Sexual Harassment, Fieldwork, and the Academy (Part 2),” 2017

Williams, Bianca C., “”Don’t Ride the Bus!”: And other warnings women anthropologists are given during fieldwork,” 2009–published here (paywalled)

On doing collaborative, and/or activist anthropology, and its ambiguities, difficulties, and contradictions:

Gordon, Edmund T., “Anthropology and Liberation,” 1991, in Decolonizing Anthropology, edited by Faye V. Harrison–book can be purchased here

Hale, Charles R. “Activist Research v. Cultural Critique: Indigenous Land Rights and the Contradictions of Politically Engaged Anthropology,” 2006–PDF available here

Yates-Doerr, Emily, “Whose Global, Which Health? Unsettling Collaboration with Careful Equivocation,” 2019

On implementing methods, taking field notes, and data management and analysis:

My post “On (digital) tools for doing ethnographic research” 🙂

& my post “On practices of writing field notes” 🙂

Crumdy, Angela, “Field Notes She Wrote,” 2019

Crumdy, Angela, “Reflections from the Field: Pt. 1” & “Reflections from the Field: Pt. 2,” 2019

Davis Portela, Rafael, “How I organize my digital library,” 2019

Friedman, P. Kerim, “Archiving for the longue durée (Tools we use),” 2016

Krystalli, Roxani, “Negotiating Data Management with the National Science Foundation: Transparency and Ethics in Research Relationships,” 2018

Vivanco, Luis. A, Field Notes: A Guided Journal for Doing Anthropology, 2016 (purchase here)

Taylor, Alexander, “Cloud Security for Anthropologists,” 2018

Wang, Tricia, “The tools we use: Gahhhh, where is the killer qualitative analysis app?” 2012

On doing research with photos, sounds, digital spaces, or archives, and sensory ethnography:

My post “Recording a soundscape and in my feelings–on sensory methods and being present” 🙂

Anderson, Ryan, “Repeat photography & coastal change: From notes and ideas to research method,” 2018

Anderson, Ryan, “Tools for the field: Digital audio recorders,” 2013

Chandras, Jessica, “Our Ethnographic Ear: Using sound as an ethnographic tool and product,” 2018

Cooper, Travis, “Theses on Method: New Media, Social Technologies, and the Anthropology of Digital Worlds,” 2019

Kheshti, Roshanak, interviewed by Kelsey Chatlosh, “Interview: Sound Recording, Oral Positionality, and Audio as Ethnographic Object,” 2018

Price, Davis, “Anthropologists in the Archives: A Brief Guide for the Perplexed,” 2018

Seta, Gabriele de, “Against Sonic Naturalism,” 2018

Also, super relevant–on teaching methods, the validity of qualitative research, what makes something ethnographic, and maintaining a marathon mindset:

Crumdy, Angela, “Marathon Mindset,” 2019

McGranahan, Carole, “What Makes Something Ethnographic?” 2012

Pacheco-Vega, Raul, “On the importance of teaching the mechanics of doing research,” 2018

Pacheco-Vega, Raul, “Qualitative research is empirical research – stop equating ’empirical’ with quantitative,” 2018

Price, Devon, “Laziness Does Not Exist: But unseen barriers do,” 2018


I might add to or organize these resources into more subsections later; and if you have ideas to add that you’d like to share, contact me!

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