Ethnographic Experiences Left in the Diaries

KARA Ç., Kutlu M. M.

MILLI FOLKLOR, vol.17, no.129, pp.20-31, 2021 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 129
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.20-31
  • Keywords: Oral biography, fieldwork, field diary, DTCF, reflexive ethnography
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


The subject of the article is folklorist and ethnologist MMK's adventures of becoming an ethnographer. Kutlu is known by his studies on nomadic culture and ethno-photography. But it can be claimed that he gained his reputation on these subjects because of his ethnographic field research. Just as his biography is told, to be a ethnographer and to make a ethnographic research is only possible by knowledge and ability that is gained in a long process. Kutlu made his early field researches for his lectures named Seminer given by Nermin Erdentug, Sedat Veyis Ornek, and Attila Erden, when he was bachelor student. He conducted these researches in Merzifon where his parents lived and in Uluborlu where his roots are. In his doctoral thesis, which he wrote during his assistantship at Elazig Firat University, he migrated through a wide geography including Elazig, Adiyaman and Tunceli with the nomadic tribe Savaks. After his Phd, Kutlu's observations on nomadic culture had continued among the villages and the nomadic camps of the Beritans. This article focuses on memories of Kutlu on his field researches from 1969, when he entered Ankara University as an undergraduate student, to 1994 when he moved to Ankara University as a faculty member. The aims of the article are to introduce a small section of Kutlu's biography, to record limited data on ethnology and folklore education history, and emphasize the importance of field research courses in the education of ethnographers. However, the primary aim of the article is to contribute of the integration and socialization of young ethnographers to field through the experiences of Kutlu. Kutlu's adventure to become an ethnographer is quoted from his oral biography recorded during 2015-2017. Kutlu's memoirs about the Seminar assignments, his compilations for researches of Sedat Veyis Ornek, his graduation thesis, Savaks, Beritans, and the long-term relationships with his informants, are brought together for this article. Unlike the realistic tale in his articles, Kutlu has used a confessional tale in his memoirs. Therefore, he not only talked about his achievements in the field, but also the problems he faced, his misbehaviors, the appropriate behaviors he had learned by experimenting, the relationships he had established with the guides and the informants. In this perspective, it is thought that Kutlu's memoirs will also benefit the discussions about the status of field research courses in university programs and reflexive ethnographic writing. At the end of the article, the following four suggestions are recommended: First, an ethnographer must transform his/her knowledge and skills into experience in the network of human relations he/she has established. Second, he/she should get good support from his/her advisor. Thirdly, an ethnographer should seek the support of a professional organization and its ethics committee. Fourth, he/she should utilize the memories and experiences of those who have experienced a similar process, as is done in this article. In addition, based on Kutlu's memories, it is recommended to consciously focus on the following four subjects and to make necessary arrangements accordingly them, in order to become an ethnographer and train ethnographers: First, the ethnographic research process, as well as the feature of the ethnographic product, shape the researcher's view of life and career. Two, there are three dimensions of becoming ethnographer. These are the curriculum applied in education, the quality of the instructor and the advisor, and the personality of the student.