Laurence Ralph (Associate Professor of Anthropology; Harvard University)
This course provides a critical introduction to some of the key methods used in anthropological research, paying special attention to topic formation, the deployment of theoretical resources, the techniques of engagement in field work sites and with people, and the politics and ethics of fieldwork and ethnographic knowledge production. Our approach will combine readings in critical anthropology relevant to methodological practice with workshop-style explorations of particular techniques for gathering, analyzing, and presenting field material. We will explore the limits and powers of ethnography (broadly construed) by setting up model projects and experimenting with typical fieldwork tasks. The course is intended to help students develop the tools needed to clarify their own research projects, while reflecting critically on the history of Anthropology.