Cultural Studies | Special Topics in Cultural Studies Creative Ethnography
C701 | 15082 | Lepselter


Crises of representation, ubiquitous over the last several decades,
have spawned a growing interest in exploring new ways of portraying
social life. Ethnographic writers (most notably feminist and
indigenous anthropologists) often make use of techniques and
perspectives from genres such as fiction and memoir. An increasingly
visible body of interdisciplinary writing, sometimes called
fictocriticism, mixes elements of theory, fiction, ethnography and
memoir.  This course primarily explores works of ethnography that
seek to represent the real through expressive, nonstandard forms.
We approach the often permeable boundaries and overlaps between
fiction and ethnography through both close readings and discussion
of selected texts (including fiction itself) and through the
studentsí own forays into producing nontraditional, creative
ethnographic writing.  By considering the meanings and uses of
fiction and ethnography we will explore issues on subjectivity and
social life; narrative and poetics; and imagination and the
ambiguity of genre, to explore the different ways in which various
writers attempt to grasp and portray some aspect of the real. While
the course focuses primarily on writing, we will also consider the
links between fictive and ethnographic film and the special issues
that arise in visual media. Students will complete a written work of
creative ethnography as a final project.