At Home and in the Field
352 pages, 6 x 9
9 black & white illustrations
Release Date:30 Jul 2015
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Release Date:30 Apr 2015
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At Home and in the Field

Ethnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands

University of Hawai‘i Press
Crossing disciplinary boundaries, At Home and in the Field is an anthology of twenty-first century ethnographic research and writing about the global worlds of home and disjuncture in Asia and the Pacific Islands. These stories reveal novel insights into the serendipitous nature of fieldwork. Unique in its inclusion of "homework"—ethnography that directly engages with issues and identities in which the ethnographer finds political solidarity and belonging in fields at home—the anthology contributes to growing trends that complicate the distinction between "insiders" and "outsiders." The obligations that fieldwork engenders among researchers and local communities are exemplified by contributors who are often socially engaged with the peoples and places they work. In its focus on Asia and the Pacific Islands, the collection offers ethnographic updates on topics that range from ritual money burning in China to the militarization of Hawai'i to the social role of text messages in identifying marriage partners in Vanuatu to the cultural power of robots in Japan. Thought provoking, sometimes humorous, these cultural encounters will resonate with readers and provide valuable talking points for exploring the human diversity that makes the study of ourselves and each other simultaneously rewarding and challenging.
The collection would serve to introduce students to the serendipity, ethics, and humanity of field research. Students receiving the ethnographers’ tweets should come better to understand the practice of field research and how field experience is useful for eventual comparison, generalization, and theory building. The approach of 'fieldwork' as a form of 'homework'—this feature is usefully signposted in the volume’s preface, introduction, and epilogue. Their stories illustrate the predicament of studying one’s own community, and this supplements the challenges that all ethnographers typically face—making a fool of oneself, culture shock, unintentional rudeness, misunderstandings, and so on. Lamont Lindstrom, University of Tulsa
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