Emotions as Ethnography: The Story Doctor’s Toolbox

Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo// I am always “in my feelings.” I say this unapologetically, and knowing that some Latina women are rendered in popular culture as lacking control of their emotions and impulses. The overlap between these representations and my ethnographic life does not escape me. Empathy, “my gut,” memories, and emotions are all my critical tools…

The Ethnographer’s Dilemma: A New World Shaped by COVID-19

Steven Rhue // We are all adjusting to the realities of the pandemic. Undoubtedly, it has become the topic of numerous personal and professional discussions, as we navigate newfound challenges in uncertain times. As a student of anthropology and an ethnographer, I find myself in a world where the very foundations of generating rich qualitative…

Inhaling the field – surgery, smoke, and smells

Renée van der Wiel // Up until that morning I had spent most of my fieldwork in stuffy, linoleum-lined hospital reception areas accompanying women on their clinical treks. We would chat while waiting to hear a “NEXT!”  But before concluding my ethnography of a public breast cancer clinic in Johannesburg, I arranged to spend a…

On gratitude, ethnography, & care

Michelle Munyikwa // “Oh, you work with refugees. That’s so wonderful. They must be so grateful!” For several years, I’ve been working with refugees and asylum seekers as part of my dual training as a physician and anthropologist. While there have been many instructive and interesting moments that have taken place within this work, I’d like…

Vague Ethnography and Healthcare Access

Liora O’Donnell Goldensher // In late 2017, I began full-time fieldwork towards a dissertation about contemporary professional non-nurse midwifery in the United States, joining the practices of several homebirth midwives. I organized my multi-sited approach with an eye to various of what those in my home discipline of sociology might refer to as “axes of…