This book explores the development and implementation of the Clay Embodiment Research Method (CERM) with one of the most stigmatized, oppressed, and marginalized groups of women in Nepal: sex-trafficked women.

It argues for the use of a feminist approach to such research given the prevailing patriarchal norms, cultural sensitivity of reproductive health, stigmatization of sex trafficking, and low literacy of the women involved. Beginning with an exploration of the author’s relationship with Nepal and the women who guide the study, and the realization that a more accessible research approach was needed than the techniques otherwise commonly used, it discusses the use of clay and photography as ideal entry points to engaging with the women in the research and creating this ethical methodology for self-empowerment. Not only does the volume highlight extraordinary insights offered by the women involved in this study through the application of CERM, but also the recognition that its use requires expertise that can deal with the potential elicitation of trauma. The book makes the case for further study on improving the method’s use in research, education, and therapy involving low-literate, stigmatized, oppressed, and marginalized populations, particularly where cultural sensitivity is an important consideration.

A Feminist Approach to Sensitive Research is suitable for students, scholars, and researchers in Gender Studies, Sociology, Health Studies, Anthropology, and Asian Studies.

chapter 1|8 pages


Being “invited in”

chapter 2|25 pages

The impact of patriarchy on women in Nepal

The vulnerability of sex-trafficked women

chapter 3|18 pages

A feminist approach to sensitive research

The inspiration of critical ethnography and participatory action research

chapter 5|10 pages

The ethical considerations of designing a new research method in a complex culture

Australian and Nepal perspectives

chapter 6|6 pages

The (im)practicalities of using clay in Nepal

Mayhem and messiness

chapter 7|10 pages

The power of the Clay Embodiment Research Method

Fun, fast, and dangerous

chapter 8|5 pages

Moving forward

Nepal and beyond