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IISc Undergraduate Course in Humanities – Module 1

Ethnographic Methods Instructor: S.V. Srinivas This module introduces students to different methods used in natural and social sciences before elaborating on ethnographic methods. Problem thrown up in the study of society and culture will be discussed. The module then discusses subjectivity, objectivity and problems of interpretation with specific reference to social sciences. Throughout the module student will be asked to carry out exercises that demonstrate their reflexive and interpretative skills. Learning Outcomes: • • • Understand methods used in ethnography; Critically examine the issue of “objectivity” in the collection and interpretation of data; Demonstrate reflexive and interpretive skills.

Class 1: Studying Culture • • What is culture and how do we study it? Rigour of observation and recording: detailed recording and participant observation.

Raymond Williams, The Analysis of Culture Class 2: Qualitative and Quantitative methods; Subjectivity and objectivity • What are quantitative and qualitative methods and how are they different in natural and social sciences? • Qualitative methods in social sciences • ‘Objectivity’ question in research in the social sciences: • Is the camera a neutral recording device? • What difference does the presence of the observer make? ‘Rex’, How to explain anthropology to a physicist? URL: http://backupminds.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/how-to-explain-anthropology-to-a-physicist/ Class 3: Recording and Interpretation • Should the social scientist only record, or interpret? • Is it possible to record without interpretation? • Is ethnography theory? Laura Nader, Ethnography as theory Class 4: Native and Foreign • • Who is the subject of enthography? What is a 'community'/'society'?

Kirin Narayan, How Native is a 'Native Anthropologist'? Raymond Williams, Native

pp. pp. . 1983). No. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader. Williams. 1994. Representations.” In Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. 2. 412-454 James Clifford. “On Ethnographic Authority”. 56-64. 118-146. Thick description Class 6: Doing Enthography 1 • 'Writing' an ethnographic account: detail and reflection Clifford Geertz. (Spring. Notes on a Balinese Cock-fight Class 7: Doing Ethnography 2 • Class exercises Class 8: Spillover and clarifications Assessment: Short essay/essays (1000 words) demonstrating students’ grasp over the concepts and issues discussed. pp. American Anthropologist 95 (3): 786796 . (New York: Harverster Wheatsheaf). convergence Thick description and its uses Clifford Geertz. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 1 (1) (2011): 211– 219 ‘Rex’. Raymond. “How to explain anthropology to a physicist?” URL: http://backupminds.wordpress. “How Native is a 'Native Anthropologist'?. (London: Fontana).Class 5: Subjectivity in ethnography • • Methods to tackle subjectivity: reflexivity.com/2013/07/18/how-to-explain-anthropology-to-a-physicist/ Williams. “Native. in The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books) 1973. Raymond. 215-216. In John Storey ed. triangulation. Laura Nader. 1983. “The Analysis of Culture”. Readings Clifford Geertz. “Notes on the Balinese Cockfight”. Kirin Narayan. “Ethnography as Theory”.