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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

Spring 2008

ANT 325L • Ethnographies of Ordinary Life-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30405 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
EPS 1.128

Course Description

This course tries to approach the "ordinary" through ethnographic research. Each student will choose a project for participant observation. Questions include: how is the ordinary made to seem meaningful or made invisible or naturalized? How is ordinary life experienced by particular people in particular situations? How is it the site of forms of attachment and agency? What are the practices of everyday life? How do people become invested in the idea and hope of having an ordinary life? How does ordinariness dull us, or escape us, or become a tempting scene of desire?

Grading Policy

Students will conduct original ethnographic research. This is a writing component class. Requirements include: 1. one two-page paper (10% of the grade). This could be autobiographical, or more loosely, a memoir, or description or personal observation. 2. one five to ten page paper (30% of the grade) 3. a journal or blog of ethnographic fieldnotes. 2 entries a week, approximately 20-30 pages. 4. one presentation of your work to the class which may include performance or audio visual materials (30% of the grade)


Readings will include a course pack of articles and selections from books including memoirs and novels as well as anthropological accounts: Michel de Certeau. The Practice of Everday Life. Erving Goffman. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. D.J. Waldie. Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir. Mark Gottdiener. The Theming of America. Barbara Ehrenreich. Nickel and Dimed. John Dicker. The United States of Wal-Mart. Scott Turow. Ordinary Heroes. Amy Rosenthal. Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life. Pearl Cleage. What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day. David Searcy. Ordinary Horrors. Arundhati Roy. An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire. Charles Panati. Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things Howard Pollio. Phenomenology of Everyday Life Groth and Bessie, eds. Understanding Ordinary Landscapes Frank Warren. Post Secret N.J. Habraken. The Structure of the Ordinary: Form and Control in the Built Environment


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