Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Soon after the AAA meetings, I will be returning to the site of my dissertation fieldwork in Liège, Belgium after a hiatus of 24 years and almost 40 years after I first met my puppeteer informants. In the interim, my research sites shifted to Morocco, France, Puerto Rico, Oregon and Ecuador and my mode of conducting research deviated from my graduate school model of the lone anthropologist to configurations that are much more collaborative and participatory, assisted by new forms of communication. Over time, fieldsites and research goals shifted, but so did my own positionality. While my whiteness and gender did not change, these attributes meant different things in different sites. More evident were changes in age and status. In this paper, I examine shifts in positionality focusing on the effects of my own positionality as a 23 year old graduate student to a young mother/assistant professor to a tenured professor and grandmother over a career of ethnography. I pay particular attention to age differences and power relations in three research projects: Heteroglossia and Mimesis in the Liège Puppet Theater; Teaching Oregon Native Languages; and Catalyzing Food for Family Nutrition in the Ecuadorian Andes. This final project is closely related to the establishment of an Intercultural Learning Community on Food, Culture and Social Justice in Oregon and Ecuador in which research takes a backseat to collaboration.