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At the Center: Feminism, Social Science and Knowledge (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 20, PP. 199 – 222): “Beyond Classroom Knowledge and Experience: How Can Fieldwork Enrich Students’ Learning and Perception on Gender? – Sara Nuzhat Amin, Mashiat Mostafa, Md. Shahidulla Kaiser, Faheem Hussain & Varuni Ganepola

ABSRTACT: 

Purpose _ In this study we examine how doing research on gender impacts identity, sense of self, and relation to community; and how field- work is mediated by gender structures.

Methodology/approach _ We draw on feminist epistemology, qualitative methodologies, and critical pedagogies to analyze the fieldwork experiences of 15 women students and nine men fieldwork partners in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

Findings _ By conducting fieldwork which challenged gender norms, stu- dents and partners gained greater awareness of themselves and confidence. Their actions challenged the appropriate place of women (and minority ethnicities) as perceived by research participants in these com- 5 munities. The experience rendered the community a site of hope and learning for them, working to empower them as well as building relationships grounded in lived experiences with their communities.

Research limitation _ Women’s voices are more prominent in this analysis than men’s.

Originality/value _ This chapter points to the potentially empowering aspects of doing gender-related fieldwork in the developing context, as 13 well as how gender and other power structures mediate fieldwork experiences in Muslim communities in South Asia.

Keywords: Critical pedagogy; gender dynamics; fieldwork identity; South Asia; boundary crossings; Muslim communities

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