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

Summer 2008

ANT f324L • Critical Ethnography

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
82600 MTWThF
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
EPS 1.128

Course Description

This course considers the promise and problematics of one of several modes of social inquiry-the critical theory model-- in which we seek to understand lived experience of subjects who are differently situated in social webs of power, toward social justice. While ethnography, both as a methodological practice and written product, may have various aims and document or narrate social life in various ways, critical ethnography recognizes that the ways in which subjects are represented in scholarship and in popular media matters on the ground [especially for subaltern subjects in terms of the ways they are treated by state, educational and healthcare institutions, for example]. Scholars, activists and artists of various descriptions employ critical ethnography, including Anthropologists, Performance Studies and Educational Studies scholars, for example. There is quite a range of work that might fall under this rubric. This course will focus, however, neither on a survey of critical ethnographies nor a close reading [although we will do a bit of both]. This is a theory and methodology course that will focus on the research and production of your own critical ethnography. The quality of this course depends in large part upon your active participation, which is dependent upon your preparation. Students will be expected to participate in discussions, identify key issues in the readings and fieldwork, and to present well-written assignments, on-time. After a brief [re] introduction to three streams from which critical scholars draw-Practice Theories; Feminisms; Marxisms-each student will begin his or her own research and reflection practice, toward a final project that may be used for future development. We will pay particular attention to issues of positionality, ethics, [small acts of] politics, and aesthetics-providing theoretical, methodological and ethical models to be critiqued, followed, rejected or reformed in your own work.


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