Issue Three: Human Rights and Researcher Responsibilities toward Threatened or Minority Populations

posted Sep 5, 2011, 3:31 PM by I Chatterjea   [ updated Jun 20, 2016, 8:48 AM ]

Dealing with humans is different from dealing with texts, dead religious traditions, and people who do not talk back. How can scholars new to fieldwork deal with international governments, human rights organizations, and confront the US legal system? Critically, what are the researcher's role and ethical obligations, vis-à-vis "the people"? There is an ethical imperative to do no harm in the conduct of field research on minority religious traditions and traditions being persecuted by the government or larger population groups. How does publishing or the timing of publication effect individuals, communities and informants that welcomed a researcher with the understanding that such disclosures are for your ears or eyes only and that serious harm could ensue from the disclosure of esoteric knowledge. This is increasingly important as the majority of states are now controlled by people who have little understanding of or concern for indigenous religious rights.

Speakers: Robert Baum and Jorunn Buckley