ENVIRON 304 - Topics in Culture and Environment
Section: 001 Corporate Ethnographies
Term: FA 2008
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

This is a seminar intended to explore and practically discuss approaches to ethnographic work and representation that highlight those areas where documentary and ethnography converge. We will cover a range of materials circling around the notion of everyday life, the elements of story and narrative in ethnographic writing and their implications for what we do in the field, the ethics of fieldwork and representation, the implications of being a person studying persons, and more. In discussing these issues, we’ll also be talking about the actual practice of ethnographic research: field methods. Our common need to work in a concrete place, observe concrete things, and talk to real people implies a need to be familiar with things like taking field notes, conducting open-ended interviews, and the like. The reading and discussion materials are constructed along the lines of a sampler that moves back and forth between the general and the specific. Concrete examples from various ethnographies or ethnography-like writing will give us the proper grip on more general weekly themes. Seeing how a range of people have tried to convey the immediacy of human experience within more general discussions will help us to feel confident in our own experiments with experience. Among the readings will be selections from such texts as Robert Coles' "Doing Documentary Work" (Oxford University Press, 1997), James Agee and Walker Evans' "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" (Houghton Mifflin, 1941), Howard Becker's "Tricks of the Trade: How to Think About Your Research While You're Doing It" (University of Chicago Press, 1998), John Van Maanen's "Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography" (University of Chicago Press, 1988), and other works currently being selected. Many readings will be available on CTools though there will be 4-5 paperback texts to be purchased. This is a discussion seminar. Be prepared to talk. Grades will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, very brief weekly 2-3 page reaction to readings and discussion, and a sequenced essay assignment involving ethnographic observation, vignette construction, and reflection.

ENVIRON 304 - Topics in Culture and Environment
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Note: This is a meet together with RCIDIV 302.001
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