In this field note, Marcia C. Schenck reflects on her ongoing involvement with Princeton University’s Global History Lab courses in Kakuma refugee camp. Through courses in global history, she argues, camp residents are not only given access to academic knowledge but also empowered to produce compelling historic narratives by using their location advantage; migration experience; and understanding of life in the camp.
Ethnographic fieldwork requires not only long-term immersion, but also perceptiveness to the minutiae of the mundane. Walking, running, and driving along the roads of a Ghanaian city inspired me to rethink the meaning of migration. Jørgen Carling reflects on his recent fieldwork in Ghana.
Conducting research with informants who have experienced the trials of forced displacement may leave the researcher crippled by the apparent hopelessness of her interlocutors, combined with the sense of helplessness in not being able to contribute to their plight in a meaningful and ethical way. Rose Jaji looks back on her experiences, conducting research with refugees in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and argues that her informants’ capacity for action and critical assessment left her as much in awe as in a state of dejection.
In lieu of perceiving refugees as ‘data sources’, research with refugees and thus participatory approaches not only transform refugees’ positions to active participants, but can also further the scope of findings
- by Ulrike Krause
In times of important life changes, such as the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one, the need for the support and companionship of others is essential. For migrants, this is rarely possible
- by Sine Plambech