In this article, I undertake a sort of intellectual biography of my fieldwork among Soqotrans as a kind of "participant objectivation," hopefully without falling into the idiosyncratic self-exploration of the traditional confessional tale from the field. The aim is to describe my emancipation from the gamut of awkward sentiments that inform the "congenial orthodoxies" of ethnographic research and the subsequent formation of my practitioner's sensibility. The latter term is not to be associated with a guilt-driven empathy or humanitarian pity engendered by the perceived privations of the "other" relative to "us" that inform much of our ethnographic encounters and representations; rather, it refers to an intellectual and affective disposition toward fieldwork that is molded through a keen responsiveness to field interlocutors' practical interests.

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