Suriname Bound!

I’m in the middle of making plans to go to Paramaribo, Suriname for the first time.  I’ve been invited to give an intensive, week-long seminar on feminist, indigenous, and other critical research methodologies.  I developed what is to be a module of a year-long methods course that graduate students in the social sciences are required to take (further information is on this site’s “courses” page:  I was encouraged to do this from my exchange with Surinamese professor Jack Menke, whom I met during his visit to my university last summer.  His writing on research methodology in the Caribbean was consistent with much of my thinking about methodology (as distinct from but certainly related to methods).  I shared an essay I’d published on feminist ethnography as a methodology, and once he returned to Suriname, we exchanged several  emails about potential visiting instructors for his course.  I recommended a few colleagues whose approach as qualitative researchers would probaby result in well-thought out and implemented seminars.  Dr. Menke also invited me to submit a proposal, which he approved.

I am preparing myself for what promises to be a stimulating experience, exposing students there to the philosophy of social science that feminist and other critical thinkers have produced as well as being exposed myself to the kinds of concerns that social scientists in Suriname deem significant and of high priority.  I view this propsective teaching moment as a chance to learn more about Surinamese society and what its social scientists and their graduate students consider to be research-worthy questions and approaches.

I have a great deal of preparation to do, but I am excited about getting to see for myself a small part of the society in which ethnographers have studied urban Creoles and rainforest maroons like the Saramaka and other Afrodescendant peoples who ran away to the “bush” for their freedom from slavery.  They fought the Dutch colonial army and won their relative cultural sovereignty, which, over time,  has been compromised and thwarted.

I expect to have some interesting things to report after I get back–and recuperate from all the work compressed into a single week at the end of July.    Until then, wish me the best!

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