Foundations of Comparison

Finding Home in a Material Field Site, a Digital Field Site, and a Virtual Village


  • Peter Gottschalk Wesleyan University



digital humanities, Islam, Hinduism, comparison, India, religion, ethnography, anthropology


To teach one’s students by drawing on information from one’s field site is to bring two “homes” into contact with one another: the home of one’s classroom with one’s students and the home of a field site filled with friends and “fictive family”. It means helping two different home communities translate and understand one another, bringing into sharper relief the challenges of translating that teaching—and fieldwork—perpetually entail. Creating an online pedagogical tool based on one’s field site brings all of these issues into focus, as one also manages the spatial and temporal variances inherent in many digital humanities projects.


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Author Biography

  • Peter Gottschalk, Wesleyan University

    Peter Gottschalk is Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University (Connecticut, USA). His research concentrates on the dynamics of cultural interpretation and conflict at the intersections of Muslim, Hindu, Christian, secular and scientific traditions. He is interested particularly in how comparison and categories work in how we know the world. He has explored these themes in South Asia—with a focus on Bihar, India—in Religion, Science, and Empire (2012) and Beyond Hindu and Muslim (2000).


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How to Cite

Gottschalk, P. (2020). Foundations of Comparison: Finding Home in a Material Field Site, a Digital Field Site, and a Virtual Village. Fieldwork in Religion, 15(1-2), 139–158.