Introduction to Anthropological Fieldwork and Ethnography


The focus of this course is on the ethnographic method as a means for learning about, and learning how to talk about that elusive process we call culture. The purpose is to gain experience in ethnographic practices--interviewing, fieldwork, qualitative analysis--and to learn how to write critically informed accounts.. This course concentrates on issues involved with an anthropology of science and technology.

Requirements of the class include weekly reading assignments and class discussion (10%). Each person will be responsible for a small presentation on reading (10%).

Each person will also conduct an ethnographic interview (20%) and conduct fieldwork including fieldnotes (10%), a preliminary report (20%), and a final report (30%).

Books for the Class

Week 1: Introducing the Anthropological Concept of Culture

Assignment for next two weeks is to conduct an hour-long interview with someone about their work, how they do it, the 'culture' of it.

Week 2: The Interview

Week 3: Power Relations in the Field

Assignment for the next two weeks is to choose a fieldsite and begin fieldwork.

Week 4: Anthropology, Race and Colonialism

Week 5: Fieldnotes

Week 6: Studying Up and Out

Write up Fieldwork problems and worries.

Week 7: Studying Ourselves

Week 8: Ethics and Anonymity

Formally write up your fieldwork and then analyze it.

Week 9: Writing Culture

Week 10: Present Fieldwork

Ethnographies emphasizing science, technology, medicine and studying up: