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An applied exploration of how one makes sense of the social world through fieldwork. Some of the key questions of the course are: What are the philosophical and epistemological underpinnings of social inquiry? How does one frame intellectual problems and go about collecting, sifting, and assessing field materials? How do qualitative and quantitative approaches to social inquiry differ? How are they similar? What is the importance of history to sociological and anthropological research? How do social researchers use archival and other documentary materials to interpret society? What is the relationship between empirical data and the generation of social theory? What are the typical ethical dilemmas of fieldwork and of other kinds of social research? How do researchers’ personal biographies and values shape their work? We will approach these problems both abstractly and concretely, through readings in epistemology as well as a series of case studies, drawing upon the field experiences of departmental faculty and guest speakers from both inside and outside the academy. The course will also feature hands-on training in field methods, in which students design and undertake their own pilot field projects.
Format: seminar; This class will be taught remotely with both synchronous and asynchronous components. Students must attend two synchronous video meetings per week. The asynchronous portion will involve semi-weekly postings on the assigned readings using the Perusall app along with weekly video lectures.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
full-participation in the seminar, an independent ethnographic project, several short written assignments, and a final research essay/proposal (roughly 30 pages of writing in total).
ANTH 101 or SOC 101 or permission of instructor
Anthropology and Sociology majors
EVST Methods Courses
EXPE Experiential Education Courses