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Fieldwork Connections: The Fabric of Ethnographic Collaboration in China and America Paperback – October 11, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0295986685 ISBN-10: 0295986689 Edition: English Ed

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Three distinguished anthropologists take the reader into the field as they get to know one another and the Yi/Nuoso of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China. Harrell, the American, "a complete outsider," Ayi, a "'native' who grew up outside the native cultural context," and Lunzy, "who grew up within the native cultural context" form a trio of complementary, supplementary and differing perspectives. In alternating chapters that follow their separate and indirect paths to ethnography, their work together in China, and their later work in America, each tells his part. This is a jargon-free, readable revelation of the quotidian details and myriad tasks behind gathering ethnographic data, as well as the questions ethnographers must regularly ask ("Were all these facts about customs and languages and ancestors and marriage practices really important to these people, or did they just dredge them up because I was around?"). A cast of characters list, a brief Chinese and Nuoso glossary, maps and photographs of the researchers at work contribute to the ease with which the non-specialist reader can enter the work. If the title doesn't scare off general readers, they will find a remarkably interesting, accessible account of how ethnographers work. 56 b&w photos.
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Review

"This fascinating book is the result of multiparty fieldwork, unfolding over more than two decades. It is a valuable, inspired documentation of cross-cultural collaborative research that will prove especially engaging and informative to all of those who, working across disciplines, grapple with the thorny issue of representing the voices of indigenous peoples and minorities. Readers who are interested in ethnic relations in China will delight in how the book succeeds in situating the special problems faced in the authors' research in the context of contemporary global discussions. . . . It also offers one of the richest, most multifaceted accounts anywhere of Nuosu history, culture, and relations with others."—Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 68, No. 3, August 2009

"This polyphonic approach gives useful insights into how joint fieldwork between foreign and Chinese scholars is arranged, carried out and perceived by the parties involved . . . . the book contributes to a demystification of the fieldwork experience while at the same time drawing attention to the many layers of interpretation and construction that determine the outcome of personal encounters in the field . . . . The real attraction of the book lies in its account of how a stimulating and mutually beneficial relationship between scholars from different countries and cultures is created through fieldwork."—The China Journal

"This unusual and thought-provoking book .. would make a fine addition to graduate courses in field research methods. Its accessibility makes it ideal for upper-level undergraduate courses in anthropology, Asian Studies, folklore, and contemporary Chinese society and culture. Scholars in these disciplines, curators and anyone interested in the minority peoples of China will find this book useful and illuminating."—Pacific Affairs

"Most importantly, the book exemplifies how a long-lasting collaboration begun from fieldwork connections is enhanced through conscientious and sincere efforts in reciprocity. . . . Fieldwork Connections gives us good stories of ethnographic processes of collaboration, and the marvelous accomplishment that perhaps could be achieved only through the particular chemistry among Harrell, Bamo, and Ma under the specific context of scholarly exchange at the turn of the century."—Collaborative Anthropologies

"This is a charming book and a good read for China hands old and new. Highly recommended."—Choice

"This is a jargon-free, readable revelation of the quotidian details and myriad tasks behind gathering ethnographic data, as well as the questions ethnographers must regularly ask. . . . a remarkably interesting, accessible account of how ethnographers work."—Publisher's Weekly

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