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On Doing Fieldwork in Palestine

Advice, Fieldnotes, and Other Thoughts

Authors: Rothenberg, Celia

  • Presents ethnographic research in a unique format of unaltered field notes
  • Makes an important contribution to the field by looking at the significant period of Israeli occupation in the heart of Palestine
  • Unique way to focus on human relationships in the field 
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Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-34201-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-34200-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book, based on the author's ethnographic fieldwork in the Palestinian West Bank from 1995 to 1996, aims to provide an honest, authentic, and accurate accounting of the nitty-gritty, day-to-day challenges, rewards, failures, and successes of doing fieldwork in a conservative village setting. By focussing on the intimate, typically obscured aspects of the fieldwork experience this memoir is intended for students planning to do fieldwork in any locale. 

About the authors

Celia E. Rothenberg is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, Canada. She has carried out ethnographic fieldwork with Palestinians in the West Bank village of Artas, Palestinians in Toronto, and with various Jewish groups in North America, focusing on new and evolving forms of Jewish thought and practice.


Reviews

“This book should be required reading for anyone considering ethnographic fieldwork in the contested border zones of Israel, Palestine, the West Bank or Judea and Samaria. Rothenberg’s stunningly honest juxtaposition of unadulterated field notes with her own later commentary and short reflective essays captures some of the bleak hopelessness of protracted conflict, the loneliness of fieldwork and the durable friendship that ethnography at its best engenders. A haunting mirror-image of my own fieldwork across the border during those years.” (Don Seeman, Associate Professor, Department of Religion, Emory University, USA)

“This wonderful book is a can't-put-it-down memoir of the author's experiences doing fieldwork in a village far away from home in every sense of the word. Rothenberg provides practical guidance to novice and, for that matter, veteran anthropologists in the most entertaining and thought-provoking manner. This book is for anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to be immersed in a new culture. I highly recommend it.” (Susan Sered, Professor, Department of Sociology, Suffolk University, USA)

“An ethnographically rich and compelling read, this book is a great resource for anyone interested in the realities and complexities of doing fieldwork in Palestine or elsewhere. Honest, informative, and humorous, it provides useful advice for researchers based on unique personal experiences. This is a great book to take to the field as a resource and reminder that the everyday challenges of fieldwork often lead to the most rewarding and significant research.” (Oren Kroll-Zeldin, Adjunct Professor, Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, University of San Francisco, USA)

“In this little gem of a book, Rothenberg’s field notes provide a glimpse of the other side of fieldwork–the one that often doesn’t appear in the ethnographic texts–from the physical hardships, the loneliness, the lack of privacy and constraints of living in a Palestinian home, to social miscommunication – from the perils of gift giving to the manifold worries that one isn’t really  eliciting useful ethnographic information and thus failing as an anthropologist  to daily life in a local household and under military occupation. At times depressed and bored, at others genuinely fond of her interlocutors and the village, she describes her euphoria over a good day’s field research. Rothenberg elegantly and poignantly captures the contradictory but always challenging sentiments and emotions that accompany field research. At once hilarious and sad, this is perfect reading for these headed to the field or those thinking about studying anthropology.” (Julie Peteet, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, University of Louisville, USA)

“The methods courses anthropologists use to prepare first-time ethnographers for fieldwork are notoriously bad. The field has always been a space of mystery, and not telling the whole truth about our experiences there is a sacred anthropological tradition. In this beautiful book, Rothenberg re-engages with her fieldwork experience long after the fact. She pieces through unused notes, letters home, attempts (failed and successful) to record local voices and realities, and the intense feelings she had as she stumbled toward the academic monographs and articles she eventually published. It's an honest, illuminating, and reassuring exercise, one of the best accounts of what real fieldwork is like that I've ever read. If you've not done fieldwork yet, the book is a precious guide. If you've done it already, it will help you remember why the experience transformed you and why you will probably never, despite your best efforts, be able to teach others how to do it.” (Andrew Shryock, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, USA) 

Table of contents (3 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-34201-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-34200-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
On Doing Fieldwork in Palestine
Book Subtitle
Advice, Fieldnotes, and Other Thoughts
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-34201-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-34201-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-34200-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXI, 102
Number of Illustrations and Tables
1 b/w illustrations
Topics