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Resources: Podcasts

Conducting Fieldwork Under Complicated Circumstances


Date:  Thursday, April 21, 2016 – Friday, April 22, 2016

Location:  Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico

Description:  The UNM Conference on Fieldwork is an interdisciplinary event, which was held on April 21st & 22nd, 2016 at Zimmerman Library, on the main campus of the University of New Mexico. The theme of the conference is "Conducting Fieldwork Under Complicated Circumstances. Organized by two graduate students from the political science department, Anna Calasanti and Fiorella Vera-Adrianzen, the goal of this conference was to bring together faculty and graduate students from across UNM who are interested in improving approaches to fieldwork, particularly in situations where research is made more difficult due to complicated circumstances. We defined "complicated circumstances" as anything that increases the level of risk for either the research subjects or the researcher. This could mean research involving vulnerable populations, fieldwork in areas where there is violence or state fragility, or any set of circumstances that heightens the ethical and moral considerations of the research project. The conference included several keynote speakers, roundtable discussions of experiences and best practices across disciplines, several panels of graduate student proposals, where each fieldwork proposal was workshopped collectively, as well as a film and discussion. There were also numerous opportunities for participants to mingle with students and faculty from a range of disciplines, which we hope will provide a platform for interdisciplinary cooperation, and future research. Since the initial conference, a number of people around the country have approached us and asked if they could reproduce this conference at their own institutions. We are totally open to this, and are happy to have inspired others! All we ask is that you give us a nod in your own conference, and drop us a line to let us know what you are up to, so that we can link your efforts here, and continue the dialogue!

Sponsors:   Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico UNM Latin American and Iberian Institute, UNM College of Arts & Sciences, UNM Political Science, National Hispanic Cultural Center, UNM Department of Sociology, UNM Feminist Research Institute, UNM School of Law, UNM Department of Linguistics, UNM Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, UNM School of Public Administration, UNM Peace & Justice Studies Program, UNM Women Studies

*names listed in no particular order

Agenda:  The agenda can be found here

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

8:00am - 8:30am

  • Welcome Breakfast
  • Willard Room, Zimmerman Library

8:30am - 9:45am: Graduate Student Panel 1: "Psychological and Behavioral Dynamics and Identity Formation"

    Faculty Mentors:
  • William Stanley, Political Science
  • Melissa Axelrod, Linguistics
  • Joan Wilson and Kristen Fedesco, Linguistics
  • Yuliana Kenfield, Linguistics Language Sociocultural Studies, Education
  • Viridiana Garcia, Sonia Constanza Garcia Gomez, Jeanine Rogge, Estefania Montanez, Ivette Miramontes, Luz Hilda Escarcega, Patricia Rodriguez Espinosa, Psychology
  • Rebeca Martinez Gomez, Lingustics

10:00am - 11:15am: Special Guest Lecture: "Lessons from the Trenches: Practical Advice on Conducting Fieldwork in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings"

Featuring Michele Leiby, College of Wooster

10:00am - 11:15am: Faculty Roundtable – Panel 1: "Studying Organizations, Language and Culture in Diverse Contexts"

  • Tamara Kay, Sociology
  • Kendra Koivu, Political Science
  • Rosa Vallejos Yopán, Linguistics
  • William Gannon, AIRE

1:30pm - 3:00pm: Faculty Roundtable – Panel 2: "Negotiating Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in the Field"

  • Mala Htun, Political Science
  • Kimberle Lopez, Spanish & Portuguese
  • Jamal Martin, Peace and Justice Studies
  • Sara Niedzwiecki

2:00pm-3:30pm: Special Topic Panel: Immigration & Health

  • Vanessa Cruz, University of Michigan
  • Alana LeBron, University of Michigan
  • Francisco Pedraza, Texas A&M University
  • Edward Vargas, University of Wisconsin
  • Joaquin Rubalcaba, University of New Mexico
  • Gabriel Sanchez, Director, Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy

3:30pm-5:00pm: Special Keynote Lecture: "Terror on trial: Trial observation as research practice against impunity"

Featuring Jo-Marie Burt, George Mason University, Washington Office on Latin America

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

9:00am-10:30am: Faculty and Practitioner Panel 3: "Straddling the Divide Between Academia and Praxis: Engaging and Learning From the Community"

  • Cristian Correa, ICTJ
  • Alexis Handal, Public Health
  • Shannon Sanchez-Youngman, IPEAR
  • Kathy Powers, Political Science, Africana Studies, UNM School of Law

10:45am-12:15pm: Special Guest Lecture: "Security and Research in Violent Environments"

Featuring Chris Day, College of Charleston

9:00am-10:30am: Graduate Student Panel 2: "Conflict, Peace, and State-Society Contestation"

    Faculty Mentors:
  • Jessica Goodkind, Sociology
  • Marygold Walsh Dilley, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Honors College
  • Anna Calasanti, Political Science
  • Maria del Pilar File-Muriel, Anthropology
  • Lara Gunderson, Anthropology
  • Fiorella Vera-Adrianzén, Political Science
  • Everett Vieira, Political Science

10:45am-12:15pm: Graduate Student Panel 3: "Community Development, Cultural Narratives, and Agency"

    Faculty Mentors:
  • Uday Desai, Public Administration
  • Renia Ehrenfeucht, Community and Regional Planning
  • José Castro Sotomayor, Communication & Journalism
  • Eric Griego, Political Science
  • Ana Hernandez-Gonzalez, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Maria Jose Ramos, Latin American Studies

12:30 pm: Open luncheon for all participants and attendees, LAII

2:15pm-3:45pm: Special Guest Lecture: "Los eternos ausentes: Dificultades en la búsqueda de los desaparecidos"

  • Featuring Gisela Ortiz, EPAF
  • Translated by Jo-Marie Burt

2:30pm-4:00pm: Faculty Panel 4: "When Environment and Location Drive Research"

  • Evan Carson, Biology
  • William Fleming, Community and Regional Planning
  • Jami Nelson-Nunez, Political Science
  • Michael Wolff, Political Science
  • William Stanley, Political Science

4:30pm: Special Film Screening: Cuchillos en el cielo featuring director Alberto "Chicho" Durant

    Film starts at 4:30pm, director will speak immediately after the screening.
  • Bank of America Theatre, National Hispanic Cultural Center
  • Free & Open to the Public; presented in Spanish with English subtitles
  • Panelists and Moderators
    Keynote speakers:
  • Dr. Jo-Marie Burt, Department of Political Science, director of Latin American Studies, George Mason University
  • Alberto "Chicho" Durant, film director of Cuchillos en el cielo
  • Gisela Ortiz Perea, director of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team, human rights activist
  • Dr. Michele Leiby, Department of Political Science, College of Wooster
  • Christopher Day, Department of Political Science, College of Charleston
    Faculty panelists:
  • Dr. Tamara Kay, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Kendra Koivu, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Jennifer Moore, School of Law, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Rosa Vallejos Yopán, Department of Linguistics, Spanish & Portuguese, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Mala Htun, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Kimberle López, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Jamal Martín, Peace and Justice Studies, Africana Studies, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Alexis J. Handal, Public Health Program, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico
  • Evan Carson, Biology Department, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. William Fleming, Department of Community and Regional Planning, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Jami Nelson-Nuñez, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Michael Wolff, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
    Practitioner panelists:
  • Cristián Correa, International Center for Transitional Justice
  • Shannon Sanchez-Youngman, Institute for Policy, Evaluation, & Applied Research
  • Dr. William Gannon, Academic Integrity & Research Ethics, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Sara Niedzwiecki, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Kathy Powers, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. William Stanley, Department of Political Science, Director of the Latin American & Iberian Institute, University of New Mexico
  • Gabriel Sanchez, Director, Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy
    Immigration & Health panelists:
  • Dr. Francisco Pedraza, Political Science, Texas A&M University
  • Vanessa Cruz Nichols, ABC Candidate, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Edward Vargas, School of Medicine and Public Health's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Alana Lebrón, National Center for Institutional Diversity, School of Social Work, University of Michigan
  • Joaquin Rubalcaba, Department of Economics, University of New Mexico
    Graduate panelists:
  • Graduate papers can be found at
  • Viridiana Garcia
  • Yuliana Kenfield
  • Rebeca Martínez Gómez
  • Joan Wilson
  • Kristen Fedesco
  • Anna Calasanti
  • María del Pilar File-Muriel
  • Lara Gunderson
  • Fiorella Vera-Adrianzen
  • Everett Vieira
  • José Castro Sotomayor
  • Eric Griego
  • Ana Hernández Gonzalez
  • María José Ramos
    Faculty mentors:
  • Melissa Axelrod, Department of Linguistics, University of New Mexico
  • Uday Desai, Public Administration, University of New Mexico
  • Renia Ehrenfeucht, Department of Community and Regional Planning, University of New Mexico
  • Jessica Goodkind, Department of Sociology, Director of the Latin American & Iberian Institute, University of New Mexico
  • William Stanley, Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Marygold Walsh-Dilley, Social and Behavioral Science, Honors College, University of New Mexico


The panel sessions were audio recorded and are available for download as podcasts. Please click the images below to listen.