Research Beyond Borders: Multidisciplinary Reflections

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9780739143551: Research Beyond Borders: Multidisciplinary Reflections

This collection draws insights from an interdisciplinary group of scholars who specialize in diverse methods ranging from ethnography, archival research, and oral histories, to quantitative data analysis and experiments used in the social sciences and humanities to reflect on the empirical, methodological, and practical implications of conducting research beyond one’s national borders. The goal of this book is to help researchers contemplate existing orientations that dominate current research processes and consider the need for transnational multidisciplinary practices that remain aware of the inequalities which continually inform research practices. With this focus, this collection is also a resourceful initiative that seeks to share experiences as well as extract key ideas and approaches likely to overlap or resonate in different disciplines.

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About the Author:

Anjana Narayan is an assistant professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona. Her areas of interest include ethnicity, migration, and gender. She is the co-author of Living our Religions: Hindu and Muslim South Asian-American Women Narrate Their Experiences (Kumarian Press 2009). She is a recipient of the American Sociological Association Section on Asia and Asian America 2010 ‘Early Career Award’. She also holds a postgraduate degree in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai (India). She has been associated with a range of innovative initiatives in the field of women and development in India.

Lise-Hélène Smith is assistant professor of world literature at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her areas of interest include exile, hybridity, and migration as linked to race and gender in the Southeast Asian diaspora as well as in Francophone, and colonial/postcolonial literatures. She is currently working on a book project on the aesthetics of representation in Vietnamese diasporic literature from North America and France.

Review:


This wide-ranging collection of essays that spans behavioral ecology to feminist ethnography is an excellent contribution to the subject of transnational research diplomacy. Authors in the volume self-reflexively present the observer and the observed together showing how an ethics of methodology could dissolve the imperial gaze on the objectified other. (Neela Bhattacharya Saxena, Nassau Community College)

We live in a globalized world. Many people now claim to be part of transnational networks of family, friends, scholars, corporations, diasporas, consumers, tourists, activists, humanitarians, and religions. Yet our research methods continue to reflect methodological frameworks we developed to study people within single nation-states. This timely and excellent collection challenges and addresses this methodological problem. It draws our attention to the ways in which research, mostly developed to reflect the cultures and institutional settings in northern countries, is uncritically extended to other socio-cultural-political settings. This excellent book challenges us to think outside the northern research box, and it provides many examples that we can fruitfully follow. A much-needed, thought-provoking collection. (Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut)

Concomitant with the increased globalization of contemporary society, research opportunities and requirements are now global too, and cross the entire spectrum of disciplines from the humanities to the sciences. Almost all such studies, however, have been lived by researchers as an individual field experience with few or no guidelines to help. Smith and Narayan's Research Beyond Borders is the first comprehensive attempt to study the challenges of research abroad as a generalized phenomenon. The essays included in the volume take on the specific issues of conducting archival or field work in foreign settings (as well as that of foreign researchers working in the American setting) with a stunning breadth of personal and professional experiences as well as unremitting critical reflection. An indispensable work for anyone undertaking research in a foreign location, this work also means no one has to learn these challenges alone ever again. (Georges Van Den Abbeele, Northeastern University)

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