ANTH 471/571
FIELDWORK METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Course Objectives

  1. To gain an understanding of contemporary issues associated with fieldwork in cultural anthropology
  2. To become familiar with some specific fieldwork methods used in cultural anthropology
  3. To recognize the roles of the fieldworker and the interactive nature of conducting fieldwork
  4. To examine ethical issues involved in fieldwork
  5. To be able to analyze and appraise fieldwork conducted by others
  6. To practice skills utilized in conducting fieldwork
  7. To complete a fieldwork project and write an ethnographic paper
  8. To practice communication skills in written and oral form

Skills Acquisition

As a result of taking this course you will be able to practice the following skills: data collection through observation, participation, and interviews; analysis of raw data and interpretation of findings, literature analysis on topics pertinent to your original research, reflexive thinking, oral presentation, and effective communication in writing. You will also have the opportunity, should you wish to pursue it, to conduct survey research, photo elicitation, life history analysis, and other methodologies sometimes employed in anthropological fieldwork.

General Information

This is a TIME INTENSIVE class (as reflected in the 7 credits); plan to spend 14-15 hours per week outside class. Doing well in the class is partly a function of having the time to devote to completing readings and exercises, doing fieldwork, and writing. The following is a suggested approach to time management each week: 9-10 hrs. for fieldwork/writing up field notes; 5-6 hrs. for readings/writing.

This class is listed as WRITING INTENSIVE. Writing Fellows will critique rough drafts of designated assignments (see schedule under Course Documents). Final papers will be graded on the basis of both content and effective writing. It is very important that you attend all classes and complete readings and assignments in the class schedule by indicated dates. Class attendance and participation in class exercises, presentations, and discussions are expected. Plan your work so that you can be in class every day-- including the last week of classes and the exam period during Finals Week when some presentations will be scheduled.

Students enrolled for GRADUATE CREDIT will have their work graded at an appropriate graduate level of expectation. In addition to the course assignments listed here, graduate students are also required to give a 20 minute oral presentation with a two page written handout (one page of information and one page of five or more bibliographic sources) in class during the third week of the course: 10/4-10/8 (list of choices to be provided). Graduate students will also provide a ten minute oral synopsis on one assigned article during the quarter (assignments will be made early in the quarter) and complete the one hour training tutorial about Human Subjects through BFR. Unsatisfactory work may result in a final grade lowered by as much as 5% for each assignment.

Grades will be assigned on the following percentage system:

Written assignments 45%
First test 15%
Second test 15%
Ethnographic report 20%
Class participation/
Field notes check
5%

Required Books are available at the Student Coop Bookstore.

Reflexive Ethnography by Charlotte Aull Davies (Davies on schedule)

Participant Observation by James Spradley (PO) on schedule

A Xeroxed Reader will be available in the bookstore: It's a hefty price since the copyright fees alone were $67.00. In the past, I have tried to gather all articles and put on reserve but students have told me they would prefer to be able to buy the collection of readings. If you cannot afford the $98.30 price tag, may I suggest that you and someone else in the class (see class roster under Communication here on Blackboard) go in on the reader together?

Fieldworking Second Edition by Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater and Bonnie Stone Sunstein will also be on reserve for you to consult.