M 1:30-3:20 Denny 401
W 1:30-3:20 Denny 402-401

Stevan Harrell
Professor of Anthropology
Adjunct Professor of Chinese
Faculty Associate, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

This, like all core courses, is an experiment, though a similar experiment was carried out in Fall of 1992, resulting in a never-worn baseball jersey with the number 17 and the motto "We eat the books and the books eat us." The point of the experiment is to try to get you to appreciate the enterprise of ethnography as the heart of the discipline of anthropology. To this end, we will be reading a large number of ethnographic books, published between 1928 and 2007, along with reviews, commentaries, and other odd snippets we might find instructive. There will be little reading of theoretical articles, and minimal reading of theoreticians who were not ethnographers (even James Clifford sneaks in, having done ethnography on two museums and one civil trial).

You will have weekly writing assignments, usually short, concerning the value of various ethnographic works as science and as literature. These are generally to be posted on the class message board in time for others to read and comment before class. They will thus be due Monday and Wedensday mornings at 8:00.

As explained in more detail in the linked pages, some weeks everyone will read, write about, and discuss the same readings. Other weeks, half the class will have lots to do (read and compare two works) while the other class reads only snippets as it is preparing for its more intensive week. This way, we get views of more ways of doing ethnography, and everyone gets to indulge in the valuable exercise of comparison.