Description of Course Goals and CurriculumBuilt for anthropology majors, ethnography certificates and those interested in knowing more about the anthropological method, ANT 301 is an overview of the different ways of approaching anthropological fieldwork. It looks at the methods of ethnography, including interviewing, audio recording, photography, film, oral and life histories, maps, and archival research. More specifically, the course considers the ethical, social, political, and epistemological implications of representing other cultures. ANT 301 covers a different dimension of ethnography each week, with topics ranging from ethics and reviews to race, power and visual ethnography.
Learning From Classroom InstructionFor this class, there are two seminar courses that are 80 minutes long. Students are expected to have done the readings for that day and be prepared to discuss them in class. There are typically 3 different readings 14 – 30 pages long each for each week. Students are expected to read the content a day before the first class of the week. During the classes, there are student presentations that last 5-10 minutes, during which they summarize the text, prepare a short synthesis and present questions to the classroom. These student-led conversations give students the liberty to ask questions or present comments that they themselves were interested in. Although the professor will give her own comments or interpretations of the readings, she wants the students to be engaged in the discussion.
Learning For and From AssignmentsA weekly blackboard post is due the day before the first class of the week. These posts allow the students to make connections between the set of readings for that given week, and summarize the central arguments of the readings. This is also meant to be a space here students can ask questions or express concerns that they had with the readings. If used intentionally, these posts can be very useful for the midterm. The midterm paper will be based on an ethnographic interview that students will conduct and analyze, in conversation with course readings and considerations. For 2017, the assignment was to interview someone with whom you disagree about something. The midterm asked students critically analyze the form, process, and content – and the various interplays among them – that emerged through the interview. Students were also expected to relate the interviews to a particular author. The final paper was a field research proposal for planned or imagined fieldwork related to the senior thesis or the topic of your JP research. The aim of the final paper is to present a coherent, nuanced, and compelling research proposal for any research site/s of your choosing. Students should engage authors from the course in this proposal. Students can prepare for the midterm and the exam by reviewing class notes on the methodology, ethics, and form of ethnography throughout the duration of the course. They can also prepare an outline for their papers beforehand and review it with the professor. Students should also know the central arguments of each of the authors.
External ResourcesThe professor is very open to meeting with students during office hours. You can ask her to clarify the arguments of certain authors, or brainstorm ideas for papers with her. She is very accessible. If students are more comfortable with other anthropology professors, they would also learn a lot from academics who have already done their own research.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course SelectionNo prior knowledge of ethnography is needed to take the course, but an interest in doing ethnography in the future would make the course much more applicable. Readings are manageable if planned in advanced. Some may be denser than others, so it is suggested to clarify main ideas with the professor if need be.
The Ethnographer’s Craft