ANT 324L • Ethnographic Theory and Practice-W
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
This course explores the complex relationship between anthropological ideas and ethnographic practice. The goals of the course are two-fold: (1) to introduce a broad spectrum of concepts, issues, and theories of culture, and (2) to critically examine how these theories and ideas shape anthropological methods and writings. To do this, we will read and critique five ethnographies on five different cultures, each with vastly different approaches to their respective subjects. In teaching, I use a combination of lecture and discussion, interspersed with various classroom exercises, films and creative writing assignments. We begin the semester by asking, "what is ethnography?" and what is theory? Eventually we address more complicated issues such as how the construction of an ethnographic subject is shaped by pre-existing or dominant ideas about culture and how scholarly, political and personal agendas shape research projects, fieldwork strategies and ethnographic texts. We conclude the course by assessing where the study of culture is today, and by writing our own brief, creative ethnographies.