Sherry B. Ortner




Anthropology 137 - Ethnographic Imagination

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of “ethnography” – the intensive study of people’s lives as both shaped by and shaping their social and cultural worlds.  Ethnography as a term has a double meaning – both the fieldwork through which knowledge is gained, and the written works though which that knowledge is represented.  Through the critical reading of various kinds of texts – classic ethnographies, histories, journalism, novels, films – we will consider the ways in which understanding, interpreting, and representing the lived worlds of people – at home or abroad, in one place or transnationally, in the past or the present – can be accomplished.  We will also consider the major critiques of ethnographic practice and writing, and some of the ways in which both have changed in recent decades.

Past Courses (archived course webpages with links to syllabi)