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

Cecilia Ballí

Assistant Professor Ph.D., Rice University

Cecilia Ballí

Contact

Interests

U.S.-Mexican borderlands, gender and violence, Latino expressive culture, narrative writing.

ANT 324L • U.S. Latino/A Ethnographies

31255 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm SAC 4.118
show description

This course explores past and present anthropological representations of Latinos/as in the Uinted State.  How have ethnographers studied and depicted U.S. Latino/a communities in various historical moments and geographic regions? How have they interpreted their lived experinces through the analytical lens of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, health language, politics, cultural identity, musical expression, and material consumption practices? Students will ask how these representations reat on particular notions of culture and cultural difference, and examine the rise of "native" ethnography and its implications for the practice of anthropology of and by Latinos/as. They will concurrently carry out their own ethnographic fieldwork within a Latino community or social space in Austin, forming the basis of a final class essay which they will develop using feedback from small peer groups.

ANT 391 • Narratv Journlsm & Ethnography

31485 • Spring 2013
Meets W 200pm-500pm SAC 5.124
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This course explores the convergences and divergences between narrative journalistic and ethnographic writing, and their potential for producing powerful, richly textured accounts that capture the depth of human experience and the complexity of social life. Why is good writing so good, and what makes it last? Borrowing from the toolkits of anthropologists and so-called “literary journalists,” students will learn different strategies for making their writing truer and more memorable. The primary goal of the course is to reveal the literary possibilities in anthropology and other scholarly disciplines that employ ethnographic methods, and to make evident the potential for social inquiry within story-driven nonfiction writing.

Students will work on nurturing their own voices as writers and on developing a self- consciousness around writing as practice, process and form. They will be encouraged to approach their written work strategically and imaginatively, employing various literary techniques such as narrative structure, scene construction, character development, dialogue, point of view, tone and style. At the same time, they will be pushed to reflect on how these techniques might advance the ethnographic project itself. Some of the questions posed are: Can narrative writing be both universally true and culturally specific? Can it illuminate and explain while it moves? Can it contribute its own form of knowledge to our broader understanding of social life? Students will address these questions through discussions of weekly readings by some of the most notable authors in literary journalism and ethnography, including Joseph Mitchell, James Baldwin, Philippe Bourgois, Elena Poniatowska, Tracy Kidder, Ted Conover, Luis Urrea, Katherine Boo, Joan Didion, Keith Basso and Michael Taussig. Concurrently, they will develop their own piece of long-form, fieldwork- or reporting-based narrative writing in the setting of a creative writer’s workshop.

Much hand-wringing has dominated anthropology throughout the past twenty-five years as practitioners became absorbed with the fact that all ethnographies are texts, literary representations of sorts. Saddled with worry, even guilt about what this implies for our “science,” many ethnographers have become less compelling and effective writers, even as other scholars have rushed to embrace the method, and as narrative journalists have churned out stories that reach broader audiences. This course seeks to begin to redress that imbalance by asking students to reach precisely toward literary practices to make ethnography fresh, original and publicly relevant. It recenters writing so that it is no longer just our product, but our reason for being. 

ANT 324L • Creative Nonfict & Ethnography

31145 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm SAC 4.118
show description

 

This course explores the convergences and divergences between ethnographic and narrative journalistic writing, and their potential for producing powerful, richly textured accounts that capture the depth of human experience and the complexity of social life.  Why is good writing so good, and what makes it last?  Borrowing from the toolkits of anthropologists and so-called “literary journalists,” students will learn different strategies for making their writing truer and more memorable.  The primary goal of the course is to reveal the literary possibilities in anthropology and other scholarly disciplines that employ ethnographic methods, and to make evident the potential for social inquiry within story-driven nonfiction writing. 

ANT 324L • Creative Nonfict & Ethnography

31316 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SAC 4.174
show description

This course explores the intersections between ethnography and narrative journalism and their potential for producing powerful, richly textured accounts that capture the depth of human experience and the complexity of social life. Can narrative writing be both universally true and culturally specific? Can it illuminate while it moves? Can it contribute its own form of knowledge to understandings of social life? Students will explore these questions and others through weekly discussions of readings by notable writers in anthropology and literary journalism, including John McPhee, Joan Didion, Philippe Bourgois, Ryszard Kapuściński, João Costa Vargas, Tracy Kidder, João Biehl, David Finkel, Ted Conover and Anne Fadiman. They will also acquire various literary techniques – such as narrative structure, scene construction, character development, dialogue and point of view – which they will employ in a final long-form article or essay about a social topic of choice, to be developed throughout the semester in the setting of a creative writer’s workshop.

ANT 324L • U.S. Latino/A Ethnographies

31337 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm SAC 4.118
(also listed as MAS 374 )
show description

This course explores past and present anthropological representations of Latinos/as in the United States. How have ethnographers studied and depicted U.S. Latino/a communities in various historical moments and geographic regions? How have they interpreted their lived experiences through the analytical lens of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, health, language, politics, cultural identity, musical expression, and material consumption practices?  Students will ask how these representations rest on particular notions of culture and cultural difference, and examine the rise of “native” ethnography and its implications for the practice of anthropology of and by Latinos/as.  They will concurrently carry out their own ethnographic fieldwork within a Latino community or social space in Austin, forming the basis of a final class essay which they will develop using feedback from small peer groups.

ANT 391 • Narratv Journlsm & Ethnography

31503 • Spring 2012
Meets M 300pm-600pm SAC 5.118
show description

This course explores the intersections between ethnography and narrative journalism and their potential for producing powerful, richly textured accounts that capture the depth of human experience and the complexity of social life. Can narrative writing be both universally true and culturally specific? Can it illuminate while it moves? Can it contribute its own form of knowledge to understandings of social life? Students will explore these questions and others through weekly discussions of readings by notable writers in anthropology and literary journalism, including John McPhee, Joan Didion, Philippe Bourgois, Ryszard Kapuściński, João Costa Vargas, Tracy Kidder, João Biehl, David Finkel, Ted Conover and Anne Fadiman. They will also acquire various literary techniques – such as narrative structure, scene construction, character development, dialogue and point of view – which they will employ in a final long-form article or essay about a social topic of choice, to be developed throughout the semester in the setting of a creative writer’s workshop.

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