Positioning your position

In the picture above, you see me reading along with Hebrew psalms and prayers during a synagogue (shul) service on simchat torah. Simchat torah is a festive day celebrating the reception of the Torah. On this day, shul members actually dance while holding Torah scrolls, and there are even alcoholic drinks available during the service. This was the second time I ever participated in a shul service inside a synagogue building, after joining online Zoom services for half a year during the research period of my master thesis. I was able to practise my Hebrew during online participation, by studying …

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Crazy people on the other side of the world: challenges of ethnography and positionality in Iran

BY YOUNES SARAMIFAR I recall vividly that I was pleased with my progress in the field on 14th March 2019. I smiled at the list of confirmed appointments for interviews, walks, dinners and lunches while looking at my agenda for the upcoming days. I was content. Everyone had said yes; almost all of those Iranian women who I had approached agreed to talk to me. I felt arrogant and kind of proud of myself. I told myself ‘yes, I have a great network here. Why shouldn’t they say yes? Who needs a gatekeeper? I am my own gatekeeper’. It has …

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