AMST 200
Ethnographic Directions in American Studies Spring 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

This course introduces students to the practice and politics of ethnography, broadly defined as the study and representation of people, culture, and society. Our approach will be post-positive and interpretive, with attention to the social stakes of ethnographic research and methodology writ large. We begin the semester by looking at the history of ethnographic methodologies in anthropology and sociology, and then examine efforts to decolonize ethnography. We then read several examples of decolonial, feminist, or otherwise critical ethnographic research related to marginalized or minoritized groups in the U.S. — such as undocumented migrants from Latin America, formerly unhoused Black girls, DinĂ© fighting resource extraction on the reservation, and Cambodian refugees in the Bronx — along with articles that illuminate issues of power, observation, consent, and representation in ethnographic research. Through readings, discussion, and engagement in ethnographic exercises, students will gain familiarity with the different phases or components of conducting ethnographic research, while also considering different styles of ethnographic production, including creative work. While this course is designed to look specifically at ethnographic directions that intersect with the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, it is open to any student interested in the study of pressing social issues (such as the prison-industrial complex, refugee resettlement, and drug addiction) and creating communities of mutual care and solidarity for surviving, fighting, and quite possibly, solving them.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3335
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly: Average 75 pages of reading; participation in class discussions. Every 3-4 weeks: research assignments. Once per semester: group presentation. End of semester: one 5-page paper.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Enrollment preferences if over enrolled: AMST majors, students seeking methods courses
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course covers ethnographic approaches to understanding social relations and cultural processes, with particular attention to scholarship in which power relations; structural analysis; and race and gender are central.
Attributes: AMST Space and Place Electives

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