Anthropology | Art and Craft of Ethnography
E485 | 27067 | Royce
Ethnography is the heart of social and cultural anthropology.
Fieldwork is at the heart of ethnography. While anthropology has
experienced many and powerful changes in the last one hundred years,
fieldwork and ethnography remain a constant defining feature. Where
the field is and how ethnography is realized and presented have
undergone shifts and transformations but the basic desire to
understand how individuals and communities meet the challenges that
face all human societies persists and colors the questions we ask and
the ways in which we hear the infinity of answers.
Ethnographers are interpreters. Their ability to do this depends on
mastering both the theory and the craft of anthropology. How they
frame the stories of individuals and groups will depend on their
ability to listen and observe and set those stories within the larger
context of region, nation, or world. Many anthropologists today are
natives of the cultures and societies they describe. This also
affects the way in which they understand and interpret people’s
stories. Ethnographers’ modes of telling may range from academic
writing to writing for the educated public to film, video, cd, and
other kinds of narrative prose and poetry. What is important is that
they tell those stories as truthfully as possible, whatever the medium.
This course will meet as a seminar/discussion on one day and will view
films, videos and CDS on the other.
These will include active participation in class discussion, written
short reviews of readings, mini ethnographic field projects to be
analyzed and presented in different formats, and a reflective final
essay about the field.