Ethnographic Research

I embarked on ethnographic research in Iraqi Kurdistan among displaced Yezidis in the spring of 2018, almost four years after a genocidal campaign by the Islamic State’s militants in the Sinjar (Shingal) Region. I visited the region until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, learning more about the people, culture, and myself with each visit. I gained a deep appreciation for the situation in Iraq that has been unfolding for over a decade, and the individuals and families who welcomed me into their homes and selflessly shared intimate details of their lives.

A mural in the refugee camp representing different religious and ethnic group in Iraq. The Arabic and Kurdish sentence on the side: “#the life is beautiful together”

Designing and conducting a multi-year ethnographic study overseas equipped me with many skills and experiences such as coordinating interviews, site visits, and other data collection activities despite layers of bureaucratic policies and procedures; quickly becoming fluent in a new language and culture; and learning and incorporating new software and analysis techniques to fully capture local context. I presented results of my research at national conferences such as the Annual Meetings of American Anthropological Association, and the Middle East Studies Association, and invited talks at Harvard University, and University of Michigan.