Thesis Ethnography Paper

This usually means a topic they weren’t planning on.

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In this second post, I share the steps I go through to squeeze an ethnographic experience into what are admittedly short, one-term courses (12 weeks).Reading my notes out loud lets students see that while some observations seem like they aren’t about anything, over time they can become the basis of an idea or argument.They also see how my notes sound “like me” and that this is just fine.In linguistic anthropology I have them choose a “Community of Practice” which is pretty wide open and can mean anything from drag queens to gym rats.In a third year Politics of Indigeneity course, I had students watch patrons pass through (or not) the Aboriginal Canadian exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.I generally choose “public spaces” as the ethics approval for these activities is fairly straightforward.I have sent all my students to the same place and have let them choose their own—both ways work.They almost always cluster well, with only one or two real outliers.In larger classes, I reorganize tutorial groups by these shared interests.I would love to hear from others who experiment with “hands-on” approaches in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology. Explore Sending students out into the world is less institutionally daunting than it may seem.Course theme and coincidence largely guide my choice as to how to structure where students will do their observations.


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