ASA-UK Biennal Conference
9th – 11th September 2014
Convenors: Dorothée Boulanger (King’s College London) and Juliana Lima (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)
During the anti-colonial war against the Portuguese in the 1960s and early 1970s, and in the years following independence in 1975, scholars showed a strong interest in Angola. After a sharp decrease in academic research on and in the country from the 1980s to the mid 2000s, Angola seems again to attract acute scholarly attention. In this context of renewed academic interest in Angola’s political, economic, social and cultural situation, this panel aims to address three main issues: What does it entail to conduct ethical research in present day Angola, particularly when it comes to defining one’s research subject and conducting fieldwork? How do young researchers analyse, adopt or depart from previous research subjects and methods? Finally, how do they adjust their (inter)disciplinary tools and perspectives to Angola’s present situation?
Accessing primary sources, collecting sensitive data through interviews, disclosing the purpose of the research without jeopardizing one’s chances of doing fieldwork in the country are as many aspects of the ethical challenges facing scholars. The material constraints of doing research in Angola, notably cost-related, are another aspect which should be taken into account. How do all these factors limit the scope of research? What are the possible distortions of perception that result from the difficulty to access data, travel in the interior, or afford long-term field research?
This panel seeks to share and compare different research experiences, especially fieldwork-related ones, in order to identify and address the difficulties faced by researchers. Furthermore, we are looking for ways to make these challenges explicit and productive within our research, instead of ignoring or silencing them. We welcome contributions from all research interests, disciplines and institutions.