- Purchase/rental options available:
This article reflects on one ethnographic method deployed during field-work in India in 2018. Drawing from decolonial, postcolonial, and feminist critiques of ethnography, I suggest that the type of “collaboration” that is often prescribed as the best way to navigate inequalities between the researcher and the researched may become more feasible if both parties practice embodying an unfamiliar relationship. In India dance is the primary expressive form in the community where I conduct research. By asking a group of women to teach it to me, I found we could momentarily subvert the expert-student relationship that is inherent in any research endeavor undertaken with people, but especially with a community where so many oppressions intersect to devalue and exclude knowledge in the community, while simultaneously supporting the knowledge I produce as expertise. When we danced we practiced, through embodied experience, what it is like for the outside researcher entrenched in the privileges of institutional knowledge to have her knowledge rendered inconsequential, perhaps laying the ground for research that could, in the future, be collaborative.