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Humanitarian Confessions: Ethnography, Autobiography and the Locations of Religion in Aidland
Humanitarian autobiographies provide compelling windows for analysing the locations of religion within the international aid and development sector. Free from the genre constraints of fundraising appeals or development scholarship, religion and spirituality are frequently given considerable space in these narrations, both as features within field encounters and as elements in the author’s personal journey. These thick narrations present valuable spaces for reconsidering the cultural dynamics of Aidland. This paper examines the ‘confessions’ of humanitarians in books such as Three Cups of Tea, Emergency Sex, and Zen Under Fire. I argue that the anthropology of autobiography is especially productive when the texts are brought into conversation with ethnography.