Carol Z Jolles
Introduction to the descriptive and analytic literature of cultural anthropology. Extended examination of representative accounts of the lifeway of peoples from selected areas of the world with an emphasis on methods of observation and analysis.
ethnography: that aspect of cultural anthropology concerned with the documentation of living cultures
This course will explore some of the ways that anthropologists write about the people and cultures that are the focus of sociocultural research. Readings for the course have been selected especially to expand understanding of the most fundamental forms of human societies. Modern hunting and gathering societies from three continents are the subjects of the five books chosen for the course. The readings also have been chosen because they reflect the differing perspectives of the researchers who have studied the selected societies. To gain a better understanding of the course material, students will also read articles that examine different anthropological approaches in order to learn more about the whole process of writing ethnographies, the specialized form of writing that most cultural anthropologists prefer.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The goal of the class is to provide students with the basic intellectual tools that allow one to make more informed and enriched readings of ethnographies. This includes: (a) understanding how to value this specialized form of anthropological writing; (b) recognizing and evaluating the different points of view that anthropologists bring to their writing; and (c) grasping the motivations inherent in the "doing" of sociocultural research.
Students should be prepared for the fact that the course will involve a considerable amount of reading. They should also be prepared to contribute to class and section discussions.
Class assignments and grading
This is a lecture course with weekly discussion sections. There will be class and section discussions, required small group interaction, and small group projects related to the material of the course. Students will be examined on the course material and responsible for an in-depth project that involves ethnographic writing.
Grades will be based on a point system. There will be no curve.