Navjotpal Kaur

Navjotpal Kaur (She/her)
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Sociology
Memorial University

Current Research Project:

Qualitative Research Lab – Global South

Navjotpal founded the Qualitative Research Lab – Global South in October 2020 aimed at enhancing research in/on the Global South. With members from Canada, India, the UK, the USA, and Mauritius, the lab works towards developing innovative methods to decolonize and deconstruct the principles, objectives, and conventions that constitute empirical practices/ research methods in the West. For grad students trained in the Western academy but undertaking fieldwork for the first time in the Global South, the starkness between expectation and reality can be disorientating, presenting grounds for possible ethnographic errors. The lab’s goal, therefore, is to inform and expand Western research practices to the Global South’s field realities and prepare scholars for unexpected encounters in the field.

The idea for the lab stemmed from Navjotpal’s own experiences of fieldwork in Punjab (India) where complex, challenging, and concrete aspects of research work had to be balanced, sometimes in delicate and unanticipated situations. The lab uses a decolonizing framework, bolstered by critical reading of Global South literature, to explore the concepts of reflexivity, emotionality, betweenness, situated knowledge, and positionality in terms of practical challenges of conducting fieldwork in the Global South. Additionally, to encourage promising empirical and theoretical scholarship on the Global South, the lab engages an inclusive framework for community peer review where lab members can seek constructive feedback for their ongoing work from other members.

Since the lab began, Navjotpal and fellow lab member Dr. Sumeet Sekhon from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan have produced blog posts on reflexivity and researcher positionality during fieldwork in the Global South.

Ph.D. Doctoral Research:

Navjotpal’s own multi-sited doctoral research, in Punjab and Canada, focuses on the intersections of caste, masculinity, and the body in local and transnational spaces. Her work illuminates the historical power and privilege associated with gender and caste in India; and explores how these contribute to the materiality of contemporary caste bodies – particularly male bodies. More of Navjotpal’s work can be found at: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7379-6009 or at her website: https://palnavjot.wixsite.com/nkaur. She can be reached at nkaur@mun.ca.

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