Navigating the Intercultural Landscape of Gender-Based Harassment and Assault in Fieldwork

Navigating the Intercultural Landscape of Gender-Based Harassment and Assault in Fieldwork. Day/Time: Thurs, March 28, 2:30-4:30PM; Description: Fieldworkers will discuss establishing and managing collaborative relationships in an intercultural field context, with an emphasis on preventing, managing, and handling gender-based harassment, and developing guidelines and best practices. Organizers: Erin Elizabeth Kane (; Jennifer Danzy Cramer American Public University System ( 

Description: Clancy and colleagues (2014) demonstrated that scientific fieldwork often exposes researchers to gender-based harassment and sexual assault with women trainees more frequently targeted.  Our subsequent disciplinary conversation about mitigating harassment and assault in fieldwork has focused largely on supervisor-trainee relationships grounded in shared professional training and cultural expectations.  This has left a gap in addressing gender-based harassment and sexual harassment issues between researchers and local collaborators or employees. These can be challenging and complex due to cultural differences in expectations for interpersonal relationships and in local laws and norms around harassment and assault.  Women and LGBT researchers conducting independent research or establishing research sites in socially conservative places can find themselves vulnerable to gender-based harassment and assault from local collaborators and employees or may find themselves responsible for local employees who are accused of, or victims of, harassment or assault. Additionally, researchers in the field lack protections and guidance we expect from home institutions and law enforcement.

This panel discussion and roundtable will bring together researchers at different career levels who have worked independently in the field to discuss their experience establishing and managing collaborative relationships with local researchers, employees, and communities.  Panelists will discuss their strategies in preventing, managing, or handling gender-based harassment and assault within complex intercultural contexts. Policies emphasizing safety and inclusion, and establishing protocols and mechanisms for reporting and responding to harassment and assault within a field site, can improve the safety of trainees and early-career researchers (Clancy et al., 2014; Nelson et al., 2017). The goal of this panel is both to provide an opportunity and safe space to discuss personal experiences to begin the process of developing guidelines and best practices for field researchers as they work to establish field sites where researchers and local partners are not vulnerable to harassment or assault.

Audience: Researchers conducting independent fieldwork in a cross-cultural context.