CULT 860: Special Topics in Cultural Studies

CULT 860-001: Critical Ethnography
(Fall 2019)

07:20 PM to 10:00 PM W

Research Hall 201

Section Information for Fall 2019

Ethnography—literally, ‘writing about (a) people (or culture)’—is a powerful method for examining social practices in specific settings. And because it asks after what people actually do and think (as opposed to what they would do or think if they acted according to an abstract theoretical paradigm), it also provides a means for both testing and developing theories of culture. Long associated with cultural anthropology (and qualitative sociology), ethnographic methods are taken up today by cultural studies practitioners in many fields (including English, folklore, history, etc.).

This course will survey classical and contemporary ethnographies, laying out the basic methodology of participant-observation fieldwork while asking key questions about the ethnographic product and how the technique has changed over a hundred years. How have ethnographic techniques served contradictory aims: colonial snooping or spying on the one side and liberationist aspirations on the other? What procedures might distinguish critical ethnographic practices from their power-serving alternatives? How do successful ethnographies connect the ‘micro’ setting to the ‘macro’ system? Lastly, how have critical ethnographies grappled with varied forms of social inequality (gender, sexuality, race, class) and what insights have they gleaned from people’s everyday practices?

Topic Varies

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Specialized interdisciplinary topics in cultural theory and analysis. Notes: These courses are designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the term.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program, or permission of the instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

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