Cultural Anthropology Mini-Ethnography, Spring 2015

Cultural Anthropology Mini-Ethnography, Spring 2015

Cultural Anthropology-Spring 2015
Mini-Ethnography – 100 points
By nowyou’ve all read about how anthropologists do what they do {ch. 3) and have read or seen
some examples of ethnographic fieldwork (Nanook of the North, most of the essays in Ferraro). Now it’s your
turn to conduct a mini-ethnographic field project and report on your findings.
1) observe or participate in a gathering, event or ceremony that involves 10 or more people. choosing
a good gathering, event or ceremony is an important first step to doing well on this assignmen! so here are
some tips: a) choose something that the participants don’t do every day b) pick something with way more
than 10 people – the more people to observe, the better c) pick something that takes a good amount of time
to complete – the more you have to report on, the better d) pick an event where you have some level of
access – you can move around and see the event from different perspectives, tatk to participants, gather
information easily. You cannot do your ethnography on something that you’ve attended in the past – you
must observe/participate in something new.
2i Either during the event or soon after, document what is happening or has happened. Taking notes
is a good idea; video and/or photographs are good ideas as well. you should be abte to describe the event in
great detail, describe the participants in detail, and have specific thoughts about how this event reflects on the
culture of the participants. Because this is a mini-ethnography, recording more information than you think
you’ll need is suggested. lf the event or gathering has literature associated with it (a program, a leaftet, a
poster, etc), getting one of those is a good idea as well.
3) write your mini-ethnography. To get an idea of how anthropologists describe events, review the
articles in the Ferraro book and think about the ethnographic films we’ve watched this semester. you mav
a Make sure you address
the following in detail:
1) What is the event – give brief introductory description of what it is you attended or
participated in
2) Describe the setting, when and where did this event take place and why did it take place
there and not someplace else?
3) Describe the participants. Who are they? Age? Sex? Ethnicity? What do they all have in
common? How are they different? What culture (s) and sub-culture(s) do they belong to? Why
are they there (asking one or more participants would be a good way to answer this)
4) Describe in detail what happened at the event. Who did what? Why do you think they did
what they did? what were the reactions of the other participants?
5) What meaning does the event have for those who participate in it {again, asking
participants this question would be a good way to address it)
6) What were your impressions of the event? What do you think is the event’s m’eaning or
purpose {this may differ significantly from what those who participated told you). How would __
an anthropologist analyze this event and how would they characterize it as a par!-“oJ broader

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