Doing Research in Latin America and the Caribbean: Theoretical Debates and Ethical Dilemmas

Doing Research in Latin America and the Caribbean: Theoretical Debates and Ethical Dilemmas

Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation, University of Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam, Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation
From - Until
06.10.2006 -
Saskia, van Drunen

Researchers who study developments in Latin America and the Caribbean are faced with various theoretical debates (ethnicity, trauma and political violence, decolonization) and methodological and ethical dilemmas (the use of unconventional research methods, researcher/informant relations, scientific research and activism). While these discussions take place in other regions as well, they take on different forms as a result of the specific historical processes that have shaped this continent.
There are specific networks that partially address these issues, but young researchers and PhD students lack a broader platform that provides space to discuss and reflect.
To create such a space and to bring the various PhD students throughout the country in contact with each other, we will be organizing a day for PhD students who conduct research in Latin America and the Caribbean, in cooperation with NALACS. The two main themes of the day will be: 1) contemporary theoretical debates in Latin America and the Caribbean and 2) methodological and ethical dilemmas.

We would like to invite you (PhD students doing research in Latin America and the Caribbean and persons who recently obtained their doctor’s degree) to attend this day, either as the organizer and convener of a workshop engaging in one of these two themes (or both), or as an active participant. You can register using the attached form. More detail is provided below on the specific content and format of these workshops.

Guidelines for a session proposal
We aim for in-depth discussion and active input on the part of participants. This is best achieved by sessions with no more than ten participants. In this manner, parallel sessions with different themes will be able to take place simultaneously. The sessions will be led by a moderator, who is also responsible for its organization. All sessions should be organized and led by PhD students! Proposals can be submitted by individual PhD students, but duo presentations are a possibility as well. The emphasis should be on the interactive and participative character of the workshop, in which supporting material can be used. In this context, formats could include different forms of discussion, short presentations or audiovisual material. The morning will be dedicated to the theoretical workshops, and the afternoon to methodological and ethical issues. The duration of each session will be 1½ hours. The deadline for submitting proposals is 1 September 2006. These can be sent to:

In a theoretical session the moderator should give an introduction to the debate which will be explored (for instance, dealing with a history of military dictatorship and human rights abuse; the emergence of indigenous movements in political processes). He or she will create a format in which a connection is made between theory and empirical research. Participants can draw on their own empirical data and research experiences.
The afternoon sessions will discuss ethical and methodological dilemmas (for instance political engagement and scientific analysis; how to treat information that can be harmful to informants). The moderator introduces one or more themes from his or her own research practice and comes up with a format in which participants contribute and acquire new ideas, which can be translated to the context of their own research.


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Saskia van Drunen and Elisabet Rasch
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