Ethnographic Encounters: The Americas between Darkness and the Good|
Spring 2020 not offered
Ethnography is both a primary research method and a genre of text within anthropology. As a research practice, it involves "deep hanging out" among a group of people in order to understand how they organize, make sense of, and live in the world. As a form of writing, it seeks to convey ethnographic insights to wider academic and non-academic audiences. Ethnographic texts are not mere descriptions of people's lives, however; they are deeply informed by theory, disciplinary trends, and the historical contexts within which they are produced.
This course will take a critical, hands-on approach to understanding ethnographic theory and practice. Beginning with canonical texts from the early 20th century, we will track how ethnographic standards have been defined, contested, modified, and reworked over the course of a century. As such, students will gain an appreciation for the range of ethnographic modalities, from salvage and interpretive ethnography to more recent approaches that privilege critical, morally engaged, postmodern, and postcolonial perspectives. While the temporal lens of the course will be broad, spanning almost a century, the geographical focus will be limited to the continents of North and South America. Thematically, we will explore three intersecting topics that are highly relevant--but by no means exclusive--to "the Americas." They include (1) colonialism, health, and subjectivity; (2) the workings of neoliberalism; and (3) ethnography between "darkness" and "the good." The hands-on portion of the course will allow students to apply what they learn during the semester toward designing and implementing their own ethnographic research project.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Readings will include articles and ethnographic works by Claude LÚvi-Strauss, Sidney Mintz, Orin Starn, Lisa Stevenson, Seth Holmes, Rachel Prentice, Vincanne Adams, and Donna Goldstein, among others.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Class presentations, three short essays, final ethnographic writing assignment, and peer review exercise.
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