This course offers an intensive practicum in what anthropologists and others often term ethnographic research. The term is misleading to the extent that the bulk of contemporary ethnography is no longer necessarily organized around ethnos—that is, around isolated cultures, communities, ethnicities, or nations, the “ethn” in ethnography. Anthropologists and non-anthropologists study many kinds of questions through a method they claim as ethnography.
The purpose of this course is two fold: training undergraduate anthropologists and other researchers to do ethnography, and learning as citizens and scholars to think carefully and critically about the contemporary claims of research done as ethnography.
We meet twice each week. One day is devoted to the development and fine-tunng of your research problem and project; the other day to lectures and discussions on questions of method. The course presumes that methodology follows the logic of particular research problems, and to explore the diversity of approaches a series of guest anthropologists and other ethnographers will visit the class and discuss their own research.
Each member of the class must propose a research project within the first two weeks of class. The first month is spent refining this research proposal in relation to a set of pragmatic and theoretical questions and beginning research. The second month is focused on your research, and the third combines research and analysis.
Course expectations: besides attendance and reading, students will prepare frequent short research reports and a final research paper.
Research from this course has been published and has led to ongoing work in a variety of fields including but not limited to graduate study in anthropology.