Fieldwork Interrupted: Ethnography, Challenges & Possibilities During COVID and Beyond


Fri, 10/22/2021 - 3:00pm


Part of the Fall 2021 Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series & CMES Student Professional Development Series

Hafsa Oubou, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University

Hafsa Oubou

Fieldwork is never a certain experience. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way we have experienced the uncertainty of ethnographic fieldwork. In this talk, I reflect on my fieldwork experience and challenges during the pandemic and beyond. While the uncertainty of conducting fieldwork is not unprecedented, the way the global health crisis has challenged our fieldwork research paved the road for honest questions, alternative methods, and insightful pedagogies about the future of ethnography. In this talk, I share my autoethnographic experience between 2016 and 2021 in Belgium while studying questions of Islam, migration, race, education, and Moroccan diaspora in postcolonial Europe. This is an invitation to contemplate the interruption of fieldwork and to imagine the possibilities of ethnography otherwise.
Hafsa Oubou is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Northwestern University. Hafsa is interested in the teaching of Islam in the francophone public schools in Belgium. In her research, she engages more broadly with questions of religion, race, migration, education, and North African diaspora in postcolonial Europe. Titled Schools without Allah: Islam, Race, and Education in Belgium, her dissertation investigates how teachers of Islam in public schools respond to the recent education reforms regarding the teaching of religion classes. Hafsa obtained her BA degree in English Linguistics from the University of Ibn Zohr in Agadir and her MA degree in Communication Studies from the University of Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech, Morocco. Hafsa obtained her MA degree in Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Arizona.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies and the School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies

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When: Oct 22, 2021 03:00 PM Arizona 
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