Introduction to Ethnography

Course Number: ATH 208
Transcript Title: Introduction to Ethnography
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 27, 2019
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisites

MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Explores the patterns found in culture through ethnographic descriptions of contemporary peoples. Introduces ethnographic research methods and theories for studying and interpreting societies. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

  1. Appreciate a broad perspective of human behavior.
  2. Construct a view of culture that reflects how personal and social values are shaped by culture.
  3. Apply current understanding of anthropological methods and theories.
  4. Appreciate existing global cultural diversity.
  5. Recognize the role of ethnocentrism in reducing bias and prejudice in cultural misunderstanding.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)

Major

2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)

Major

4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Major

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Tests, research papers, discussion, quizzes, homework, group projects, and other forms of assessment all may be used for this course at the instructor's discretion.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

  • Introduce anthropological theory and methods.
  • Diachronic and synchronic comparative studies of culture.
  • Survey cultural diversity in a variety of environments.
  • The processes of enculturation, acculturation, and assimilation.
  • Cultural adaptation, including independent invention and cultural diffusion.
  • Define ethnocentrism, holism, comparative method, worldview, and cultural relativism.
  • Language and communication differences, including kinesics.
  • Ecology and subsistence methods, including subsistence failure.
  • Economic systems, including reciprocity.
  • Kinship and family structures.
  • Personal and collective identity, sex/gender roles, and group affiliations.
  • Authority, law, and politics.
  • Supernaturalism: religion, magic, and worldview.
  • Applied methods in anthropology.
  • Impact of globalization on indigenous and local cultures.

Competencies and Skills

The successful student should be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate the application of anthropological theory and methodology in comparing different cultures.
  2. Distinguish various culture patterns using anthropological criteria such as political organization, subsistence methods, etc.
  3. Relate the basic steps in preparing for field research and conducting ethnographic projects.
  4. Design an in-depth ethnographic study of a current-day culture, consisting of research steps.
  5. Analyze data from field research in order to produce meaningful answers to research questions.