Article written by 2008 DPDF Student Fellow and 2009 IDRF Fellow Clare Gupta in Journal of Research Practice
As a human geographer, I study social relations—yet I find my mind muddled trying to navigate the social process of what in this special issue we term “giving back.” Fieldwork, and the relationships that accompany it, inevitably raise the question: What does it mean to “give back” to the communities within which we conduct research? How do we thank people not only for their time but also for their contribution to our academic advancement and, more fundamentally, to our own livelihoods? It is the stories and data points of numerous individuals that enable us to obtain graduate degrees and advance our careers. What sort of token of appreciation could possibly be commensurate to what colleagues, friends, and subjects in the field give us? And how, as scholars of feminist methodology, can we begin to formulate and share our various experiential knowledges on this subject?