Far too often, the most evocative and interesting experiences that come out of ethnographic fieldwork are pushed to the margins. In the first episode of Ethnographic Marginalia, series hosts Sneha Annavarapu and Alex Diamond explain their reasons for starting a podcast and website (ethnomarginalia.com), before sharing some of the fieldwork experiences that have inspired them. Drawing on her research on the regulation of Indian driving habits, Sneha explains why potholes are a fruitful way to understand the state, how the pandemic has pushed her to turn an ethnographic lens to social media and popular culture artifacts, and the dilemmas around including sexual harassment from her interlocutors as part of the written presentation of her research. Alex talks about his experiences researching the community experience of Colombia’s peace process, including why the pandemic has pushed him to a deeper engagement with rural lifestyles, how a trip to the local butcher provided food for thought, and the difficulties of staying neutral while doing fieldwork with both candidates in a mayoral campaign.
Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.