Richard (Rick) Feinberg, Department of Anthropology
Richard (Rick) Feinberg, Department of Anthropology, presented “Cross-Cultural Fieldwork: The Heart of Anthropological Research” at Field Research in Anthropology: Unity and Diversity, sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Androgagy, Palacky University in Olomouc, Moravia, Czech Republic, on Oct. 3, 2017.
Summary: Cross-cultural fieldwork has been at the heart of anthropological research since the discipline’s beginnings in the 19th century. During the 20th century, extended periods of fieldwork became a standard requirement for anthropology graduate students in the U.S., U.K. and many other countries. This presentation explores the history of ethnographic fieldwork, going back to L. H. Morgan’s research with the Seneca and Bronislaw Malinowski’s Trobriand experience. It considers fieldwork’s value as a tool both for understanding others and gaining insight into oneself. And it examines the many challenges that fieldworkers must overcome. Such challenges range from gaining entry into the community one wishes to study and the logistics of providing food and lodging to establishment of trust with members of one’s host community, the trauma of culture shock, occasional physical danger and a variety of ethical dilemmas.