Senses of Home in the Field


  • Daniel Gold Cornell University



acculturation, emotions, friendship, introspection, multi-sited, single-sited, Gwalior, sants


The author identifies different senses of home sometimes experienced by fieldworkers and the kinds of places that nurture them. In addition to the sense of fieldworkers being in their own cultural environment, a baseline never fully attained in the field, the author identifies a fieldworker’s retreat, where he or she can be alone at their fieldsite and relax without worrying about others’ cultural expectations; the possible alternative home especially available to those doing multi-sited research, a place away from any fieldsite that may also offer the camaraderie of casual friends; and, finally, the fieldsite as second home, where the empathetic fieldworker develops lasting affective ties to those among whom he or she lives. Some implications of these different senses of home are discussed as the author has experienced them over many long and short visits to North India beginning in the late 1960s.


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Author Biography

Daniel Gold, Cornell University

Daniel Gold is Professor of South Asian Religions in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. He has worked on Hindi sants, Rajasthani naths, Hindu fundamentalism, and problems of writing on religion. His most recent book (2015) examined popular religion in urban Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, where he was a Peace Corps volunteer from 1968 to 1972, while his current research returns to the Hindi sants—this time with a more historical perspective.


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How to Cite

Gold, D. (2020). Senses of Home in the Field. Fieldwork in Religion, 15(1-2), 40–52.