University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography > Fieldwork, Access, and (Dis)Embodiment: On An Ethic of Not Going There

Fieldwork, Access, and (Dis)Embodiment: On An Ethic of Not Going There

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For information on venue/virtual participation, please email Sarah Radcliffe sar23@cam.ac.uk

Critiques of fieldwork within and beyond geography abound. In this presentation, I bring together three key strands of critique—feminist geographies, disability justice, and anti-colonial approaches—to raise questions about place, place-based research, embodiment, travel, and fieldwork. The physical, embodied experience of fieldwork, of getting one’s boots muddy or even inhaling dust in the archive, has long been understood as part of one’s authority, legitimacy, and expertise. I unpack the politics of knowledge embedded in this imaginary through the lens of access/accessibility, asking, among other questions: who is imagined to be conducting this fieldwork, and who is left out of this image? I will use the term ‘access’ broadly, acknowledging its many meanings and usages. Troubling standard notions of ‘access’ in geographical fieldwork and research travel, I will work towards asking what an ethic of not going ‘there’ might entail. This talk draws on both the methodology chapter of my dissertation and a piece I’m currently writing for Environmental History Now.

This talk is part of the Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography series.

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