Faculty of Arts


Exploring Ethnography


This course is an exploration of ethnographic approaches to human cultures, including key elements of ethnographic fieldwork and analytical approaches. We use ethnography to understand contexts and processes, such as worldviews, political or economic forces, historical change, gender structures and ethnicity that shape people’s lives. In any given year, a particular ethnographic region (e.g., Europe, Melanesia, Polynesia, South-East Asia, New Zealand) or theme (e.g., art, economics, racism, technology, violence), will be covered.

Special Topic: Ethnographic Engagements with the Environment:

In 2020, our class will be engaging with anthropological approaches to environmental issues. We are specifically going to be using ethnography to explore humans' entangled encounters with the environment, examining core anthropological texts as well as engaging with other forms of contemporary knowledge, such as poetry, blogposts, podcasts and cartoons. By the end of the course you will understand key anthropological approaches to contemporary ecological and climate debates and different cultural perceptions of and approaches to the environment.

You will have the opportunity to keep an ethnographic journal over the course of the semester, which will allow you to document your own thought processes and the early stages of ethnographic production as you observe, sense and make sense of environmental factors unfolding around you, using concepts that you learn over the semester.


Learning Aims/Place of Course in Programme

Ethnography is concerned with research and writing in social and cultural anthropology. The course is intended to provide social anthropology students with in-depth study in a particular topic. By the end of the course, you should:

  1. Understand ethnographic research
  2. Understand relationships between theory and research
  3. Understand relationships between cultural particularity and common human issues
  4. Be able to identify appropriate resources, undertake research, analyse approaches and write appropriately
  5. Understand particular ethnographic issues in cross-cultural contexts 
  6. Appreciate the relationships between human sameness and difference



Coursework only

View the course syllabus.

Availability 2021

Not taught in 2021


Lecturer(s)  Pauline Herbst


ANTHRO 368: 15.0 points


ANTHRO 203 or 30 points at Stage II in Anthropology



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