Melli in wordsWelcome, you’ve made it down the rabbit hole.

My name is Melanie and I feel it’s about time to share with you and discuss some of my everyday experiences of doing fieldwork in South Africa: Funny, disturbing, somehow noteworthy incidences or thoughts which give a bit of an insight into what I’m doing here. My observations should be seen as complementary to the perfectly drafted, smooth and straightforward appearance of fieldwork in academic publications which usually don’t account for the small everyday stuff that leaves the researcher in excitement, awe, consternation or sometimes even anger. A quick note: Doing fieldwork doesn’t mean I’m into agriculture (as I was questioned by a customs officer at the airport once who found this expression very confusing) – I’m a sociologist, and an anthropologist in the making.

In January 2013 I started my PhD project, being based at the University of Constance, a small university beautifully located at the Lake Constance in the very south of Germany which chances are likely you’ve never heard of. In my project I am taking a look at counselling services for women who have experienced domestic violence, focussing on urban areas in South Africa. Believe me, I have already told this line about a thousand times over and as it turns out, it makes for a pretty good mood killer at any social gathering. Usually, I’d receive looks full of compassion which then are followed by some reassuring words pointing out the overall relevance of projects like mine to combat violence against women and to make the world a better place. Well, this is quite some expectation here which I can only fail to live up to, but which won’t keep me from at least trying. And despite the admittedly rather depressing subject I am dealing with, I actually enjoy doing fieldwork because it means meeting interesting, passionate and inspiring people from very different professional areas. Sometimes doing fieldwork means taking a look through the keyhole, other times it means getting the chance to become a part of other people’s’ reality – a reality which in some aspects might differ a lot from mine but at the same time might be astonishingly similar in others.

This should give you a small idea of what this blog is about. If you like to, please discuss, comment, question, add, criticize, whatever you feel like, it’s appreciated. But please don’t leave any spam comments about penis enlargement pills or whatsoever. That’s disgusting.

For more information regarding the name of this wonderful blog, please check out the first post. Enjoy.


3 responses to “About”

  1. Peter says :

    Dear Ms Brand….

    I have spent some time reading through your blog entries. Fine writing. Beautiful thinking. Now that you have completed your research in South Africa, may I suggest that you continue your blog… This is only the first chapter in a wonderful journey that you have invited us to share.

    The king might have been speaking “gravely” with good reason when he gave us his advice to “Begin at the beginning”….. “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Possibly he chose to speak “gravely” because he understood that “the end” of one journey is the start of a new one. That we only “stop” when we enter the “grave” !.

    So Ms. Brand…. Please invite us to share in your continuing journey. You described yourself thus in your introduction….. ” I’m a sociologist, and an anthropologist in the making”. Now I am certain that… “the University of Constance, a small university beautifully located at Lake Constance in the very south of Germany”….. is as fine a place as any for an anthropologist in the making to blossom and bloom.

    Please invite us to share in this new journey with you. Give us chapter 2. It will bring us much to joy to watch the blooming of this “Anthropologist in the making”.

    Besides…. we would certainly miss descriptions of things like national cultural history museums that read like yours. ……. “A fragmented, non-linear conceptualization of ‘culture’, ‘history’ and ‘the national’”… Beautiful!

    Think about it.


    • medowntherabbithole says :

      Thank you, Peter. Your comments are much appreciated! I will definitely continue the blog and there are already some ideas for upcoming articles, partly on paper but mostly in thought. Today seems to be a good day to continue writing – finally a lazy Sunday, the birds are chirping and the sun occasionally pays a visit through the clouds. Thank you for your encouraging words and for your interest in the second chapter!

      • Peter says :

        Dear Ms Brand… the pleasure… as usual… is mine. Enjoy the chirping birds and the summer sun in Southern Germany.

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