Alex Khasnabish


In recent years, anthropologists have become increasingly involved in work surrounding issues of human rights, democracy, social justice, and conflict. In doing so, ethical questions concerning the authority, obligations, and, most broadly, the role of anthropologists working in areas and with populations experiencing circumstances of violence, suffering, and oppression have come to the fore. The central theme of this paper is to engage the ethics of not only doing fieldwork in such places and with people experiencing these social realities, but to also consider whether it might be considered an "ethical imperative" on the part of anthropologists to conduct such work. Ultimately, I intend to address the conflicted ethics of anthropology conducted in dangerous spaces and to confront the concept of an "anthropology of liberation" and what it signifies for the discipline and its practitioners both as an academic endeavour and as a field of practice which is profoundly and intimately enmeshed in the often harsh realities of human existence.