Performing Research: Frameworks of Accountability and the Presentation of Self in Ethnography

Sarah M. Gordon (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Ethnographic research has always been performative. Malinowski’s diary revealed his professional presentation of self to diverge greatly from his lived experiences in the Trobriand Islands. Scholars have long struggled with the apparent duplicity in Zora Neale Hurston’s work. Ethics procedures and reciprocal practices prevent contemporary ethnographers from being so malleable in their self-presentations, but still, the conducting of ethnographic research requires the embodiment of a research persona geared toward the achievement of research goals. This presentation considers fieldwork as a stage for the embodiment of the research-as-performance, arguing that effective research-performance is informed by heteronormative ideas of generation and reproduction, and considers whether reimagining the field in terms of queer temporality encourages a reconsidering of research that reduces performative burdens while advancing practical changes advanced in Indigenous methodologies.

Part of 02-02 Emerging Perspectives in the Study of Folklore and Performance, Thursday, October 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm