Masculinist Epistemologies and the Politics of Fieldwork in Latin Americanist Geography

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Abstract:

Given the importance of fieldwork in Latin Americanist geography, it is intriguing to note the absence of a dialogue about the politics of fieldwork within the subdiscipline. Drawing from feminist theories about the production of knowledge, this article suggests that the silence about fieldwork is rooted in masculinist epistemologies that predominate in Latin Americanist geography. After analyzing the epistemological and pedagogical implications of masculinism, I argue for increased attention to the nexus of power and knowledge and in particular, to how the researcher's geographic location, social status, race, and gender fundamentally shape the questions asked, the data collected, and the interpretation of the data. Dialogue about these issues in our teaching and writing not only will better prepare students for fieldwork, but also has the potential to foster research that subverts rather than reproduces power inequalities.

Keywords: Latin America; feminist geography; fieldwork; masculinism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.5502006

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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