Trauma and Resilience in Ethnography:
A Curated Blog Series
Beatriz Reyes-Foster and Rebecca J. Lester, curators
The Anthropology of Mental Health Interest Group (AMHIG)
The Anthropology of Mental Health Interest Group (AMHIG) is seeking contributions for “Trauma and Resilience in Ethnographic Field Work,” a blog post series curated by Beatriz Reyes-Foster and Rebecca Lester to be published in Anthrodendum. We seek contributions from experienced ethnographers of all career stages and geographic specializations. Blog posts are approximately 1,000-1,500 words and written for a broad but informed audience. The posts are meant to provide authors with a platform from which to share their stories of emotional struggle or trauma in the field, but also to highlight the ways in which these struggles were met or overcome. This goal of this series is to highlight the reality of trauma and emotional stress in ethnographic fieldwork, as well as provide faculty and students with resources on best practices for emotional care prior, during, and after field work. This initial attempt to bring attention to the issue of mental distress in ethnographic field work seeks to include the experiences of traditionally under-represented people in anthropology, particularly people of color. We encourage contributions that engage with questions of social inequality, intersectionality, discrimination, misogyny, and racial, class, gender and other identities that impact ethnographic experiences abroad. All chosen contributors will be invited to expand their pieces into chapters for a future edited collection.
The Anthrodendum series abstract is below:
The proposed series of posts acknowledges the reality that ethnographic fieldwork can be, and frequently is, emotionally difficult for fieldworkers, who may experience either direct or vicarious/secondary trauma while in the field. Even under the best of circumstances, navigating a new field setting with little if any training on how to emotionally manage the many challenges inherent in fieldwork can be significantly challenging, and the effects of such experiences can be long lasting. Posts in this series will feature stories of both trauma and resilience (broadly conceptualized) from contributors writing across a wide variety of topical and regional specialties and representing a range of career stages. While giving a platform for contributors to share their stories, the purpose of the series is to highlight strategies and tactics that support resiliency: how did contributors deal with their experiences of trauma? What worked and what didn’t? What sorts of social and institutional supports did they use? The series will also contain information and resources for faculty advisors preparing to send students into potentially traumatizing situations.
Please send a 250-300 word abstract to Beatriz Reyes-Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rebecca Lester (email@example.com) by February 28, 2019.