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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

Class 5: Subjectivity in ethnography Methods to tackle subjectivity: reflexivity, triangulation, convergence Thick description and its uses

Clifford Geertz, Thick description Class 6: Doing Enthography 1 'Writing' an ethnographic account: detail and reflection Clifford Geertz, 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. Readings Clifford Geertz, Notes on the Balinese Cockfight, in The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books) 1973, 412-454 James Clifford, On Ethnographic Authority, Representations, No. 2. (Spring, 1983), pp. 118-146. Kirin Narayan, How Native is a 'Native Anthropologist'?, American Anthropologist 95 (3): 786796 . Laura Nader, Ethnography as Theory, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 1 (1) (2011): 211 219 Rex, How to explain anthropology to a physicist? URL: http://backupminds.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/how-to-explain-anthropology-to-a-physicist/ Williams, Raymond. Native. In Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, (London: Fontana), 1983, pp. 215-216. Williams, Raymond. The Analysis of Culture. In John Storey ed. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader, (New York: Harverster Wheatsheaf), 1994, pp. 56-64.