ANTHRCUL 553 - Blurred Genres: Autobiography, Fiction & Ethnography
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
400-level coursework in Anthropology, Graduate standing, and permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Where does the story of the observer end and the story of the observed begin? Autobiography, ethnography, and fiction share a concern with constructing meaningful representations of the self and of the other in narrative form. This course will focus on the history, politics, and possibilities of interconnecting autobiography, ethnography, and fiction. We will read widely in a variety of ethnographic, fictional, and autobiographic genres, including literary journalism, autobiographic ethnography, feminist ethnography, fieldwork accounts, the memoir, autobiographical criticism, family stories, and fiction that uses first-person voices. Our theoretical aim will be to gain an understanding of our current historical moment as one in which writers both inside and outside of the academy are pursuing intersecting trajectories in their use of the personal voice to explore the social world. We will consider the recent “memoir boom” and its impact on the academy as well as the academy’s impact on its flourishing. We will also consider gender differences in the use of the personal voice, exploring the fine line that distinguishes “reflexive” (often coded as “male”) and “confessional” (often coded as “female”) writing within anthropology. And we will ask what anthropology, as a personal act of witnessing scripted in diverse genres, can teach us about identity and the need to belong. To underscore the importance of “positionality” in the construction of blurred genres, the course begins with a focus on insider/outsider dilemmas in “native” anthropology and then moves into a broader examination of the theme of belonging in texts of autobiography, ethnography, and fiction that give attention to issues of voice, identity, memory, the meaning of home, and diaspora and displacement.

Students will be encouraged and mentored as they explore critical and creative approaches to the relationship between autobiography, ethnography, and fiction in their own writing.

Course Requirements:

No data submitted

Intended Audience:

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Class Format:

The format of our meetings will be divided between lectures, student presentations, and discussion of the assigned readings.

ANTHRCUL 553 - Blurred Genres: Autobiography, Fiction & Ethnography
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
M 12:00PM - 3:00PM
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