Communication and Culture | Performance as Communicative Practice (Topic: Sense of Place in Narrative and Ethnography)
C313 | 26074 | Robinson, J.

TuTh, 9:30 AM-10:45 AM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 203

Fulfills College A&H Requirement

Instructor: Jennifer Robinson
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 275
Phone: 855-4607

College students, military personnel, employees of big businesses,
and many others find themselves moving to distant places that they
hope to be able to call home.  In this course, we will examine how
individuals recognize and construct a sense of home.  How do they
communicate their identities in the context of place, how they
represent their sense of those places to others, and how does their
relationship to place influence their performances of culture in
everyday life?  Using ethnographic methods, we will describe how
public spaces (e.g., streets, arenas, parks) and institutional
spaces (e.g., dormitories, rental units, schools) in particular are
marked with symbols and values and how members of social groups can
alter, interpret, and transform those spaces through language,
performance, and other symbolic constructions.

Course concepts will build on such work as Seven Feld and Keith
Bassos’s Senses of Place (School of American Research Press, 1996),
Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language, and Scott Russell
Sanders personal essays on place, as well as incorporate visual and
narrative comments on sense of place.  We will explore
international, historical, and gender variations on home making and
constructions of place.

Major assignments will include two exams and an autoethnography, in
which students will explore their own relationships to place. The
final project will consist of an 8-10 page ethnography based on
original fieldwork that analyzes the communicative forms and
practices displayed through one site of place making.