On shaky ground : memories from the field, Nepal 2015
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This thesis explores the shaky ground we inhabit as ethnographic researchers conducting fieldwork in a foreign context. Using autoethnography (Ellis, 2004), I examine some of the challenges and ethical dilemmas that surfaced during my research project, and reflect on the unpredictable and messy nature of fieldwork. Drawing from the experience of surviving a natural disaster while in the field, I try to connect my personal epiphanies to larger theoretical frameworks in order to give meaning to and learn from my experiences (Boylorn & Orbe, 2013). By adopting the autoethnographic method, I was able to turn the observer's gaze inward in order to critically examine my own decisions and emotional state as a way of gaining deeper understanding of the complex and often contradictory roles played by the researcher. As a feminist researcher, I use this opportunity for self-reflection to find ways to improve my practice and become more accountable to my research relationships. The objective of this autoethnography is to contribute to academic scholarship on ethnographic fieldwork and feminist research by analyzing my own struggle to conduct field research in line with my feminist values and ethics.