Anthropology Topic: ETHNOGRAPHER FOR A DAY

Format: Short essay. Minimum 6-8 paragraphs, including intro & conclusion & 4 body/evidence ¶ Length: Minimum: 950 words to get credit; Ideal: about 1200 words, give or take. about 4.5 pages + citations. Double-spaced. 12 point font. Times or Times Roman. Imagine that you are an ethnographer trying to understand student life at Queens College, NYC. You will spend one day of fieldwork exploring your fieldsite, talking to key informants, getting the insider perspective, participating in and observing some activity/activities that interest you. Hint: find some specific context / locale that you can use as a springboard, for example: a club meeting, a special lecture, a cultural event, the library, the dining hall, an administrative office, a social situation, a classroom, etc. You should use your fieldwork notes as a basis for cultural analysis and to write a brief small-moment vignette as evidence. Try to make some bigger picture connections in your conclusion. Sample basic outline, minimum paragraphs (format is flexible, but you must address these elements somewhere in your paper):

Paragraph #1: Define anthropology, culture, and ethnography AND a few additional terms that pertain; showcase your knowledge of cultural anthropology; check the textbook; cite page numbers; use quotation marks for exact quotes. Do not use basic definitions from the internet – instead, use thoughtful, detailed, anthropologically-specific definitions from the textbook and lecture (or your paraphrasing thereof.) Introduce your project. Paragraph #2: Describe your topic and locale and mention any sources that would be good to use as background information (sources of statistical data, for ex, in a larger version of your study, not necessarily detailed here). Look for “QC Info” or any useful demogaphic data to help contextualize your fieldsite and findings. (Tip: QC Info is available here on Bb.) Have some bits of quantitative data as background. Paragraphs #3 (and 4): Describe your methodology/ how you carried out your fieldwork: Explain why/how you chose your fieldsite, what you did, who you talked to and why, participant-observation opportunities you encountered, etc. Explicitly identify elements of culture that you see. How is this micro-culture defined, shared, learned? Remember to have conversations, include quotes from your informants, and ask “why” follow-up questions. Also: Remember to use pseudonyms, not real names of informants. Paragraph # 4 or 5: As evidence and to help set the scene, write a one paragraph vignette of one particular moment, based on your experience. Describe the scene vividly. Include some quotes from people you talked to. Paragraph #5 or 6: Analyze the vignette/moment as a piece of text evidence in an analytic argument that explains what you discovered about life at QC. Try to do some “thick description” (Geertz) to uncover the layers of meaning. Paragraph #6 or 7: Place your findings in a broader theoretical framework. Bring in theoretical perspectives that may apply to why your fieldsite is meaningful to its participants. Make connections. Frame in the big pictures of life at QC and beyond. How does participation in this setting/group/event help (or not help) participants integrate or become enculturated to overall QC or college or US culture (including, for ex, social structures, values, norms, stocks of knowledge, etc.)? Please cite your sources for any materials you reference!

 

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