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English 298 H Intermediate Writing in the Social Sciences

Linked with Anthropology 215 Introduction to Medical Anthropology, Fall, 2011

Class meets: MWF 12:30-1:20, Parrington 120
Jennifer Carroll
Office Hours: Monday 10:30-12:30 and by appointment, Denny Hall 407
Mailbox: Anthropology Office, Denny Hall Mezzanine (open 8:30-4:30 weekdays)

'What nobody tells people who are beginners and I really wish someone had told this to me
. . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there
is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it`s just not that good. It`s trying to
be good, it has potential, but it`s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your
work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know
who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn`t have
this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting
out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it`s normal and the most important thing you
can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work
will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone
I`ve ever met. It`s gonna take awhile. It`s normal to take awhile. You`ve just gotta fight your
way through.`
--Ira Glass on Design Talk

Course Description: This is a 5-credit course that is designed to teach the skills of writing
and social and ethnographic inquiry within the discipline of anthropology. This course is
linked with Rachel XXXs class, ANTH 215 and our writing assignments will be based on
ANTH 215 readings and materials. I will be in frequent contact with your ANTH 215
lecturer and TAs; however, this course is designed and graded independently from ANTH
215. These are two separate classes with two separate course loads, assignments, grades,
and expectations.

Course Website: Important class materials and announcements will be posted to this
course website. This website also contains a link to your electronic dropbox. It can be found
on your catalyst tools page ( or at the following link:

Required Texts and Materials:
All texts required for ANTH 225
A Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker.
Reading I assign throughout the quarter.
An active UW email account

Grading: There is no grading curve for this course. It is possible for everyone here to get a
4.0, but you have to do the work and take these assignments seriously in order to earn it.
Your grade for this course is determined according to the following rubric:
Written Assignment #1 20%
Written Assignment #2 25%
Written Assignment #3 15%
Completed Portfolio 10%
Participation (including in-class participation, peer review, participation in
individual and group conferences, and homework assignments) 30%

Assignments: There will be three major writing assignments in this course. For each
assignment you will be required complete preliminary writing assignments and rough
drafts. You will need to provide multiple paper copies of these assignments for peer review.
You will be reading a significant amount of each others work.

At least one of your major writing assignments will be based on original ethnographic
research. In this case, you will also be required to use basic ethnographic research
methods, record field notes, and complete coding and analysis exercises. You should be
prepared to share these exercises with your classmates. Additionally, after every major
writing assignment, as well as at the end of the quarter, you will write a short reflection
and self-assessment. The criteria for these reflections will be clarified as they come due.

You will occasionally receive homeworkusually short reading, writing or research
assignments. These assignments will be given in class. You are also required to build an
annotated bibliography for your ANTH 215 readings. Further details of this assignment
will be discussed in class.

Peer Review: Part of learning to write is learning to read and respond to others work. For
each of the major papers you write, I will assign you a peer-review group or partner: you
will read and respond to others papers and they will read respond to yours. You will be
given specific criteria through which to respond to and assess your peers work, and these
responses and assessments will be written, turned in, and graded. Everything that you
write for this course, including short homework assignments, may be subject to
some type of group reading or peer review.

Portfolios: At the end of the quarter, you will submit all of the work that you have
completed during this class in a writing portfolio. The contents of this portfolio will include
the following materials:
y Your final self-assessment (to be discussed at the end of the quarter).
y Annotated bibliography for all ANTH 215 materials
y Copies of the other papers that you peer reviewed (with your comments).
y All preliminary writings, rough drafts, field notes, coding exercises, and final drafts
from all three writing assignments.
y Reflections from each writing assignment.
This list is not inclusive and may be subject to amendments. The required contents of your
portfolio will be clarified towards the end of the quarter.
Conferences: For each major essay, I will schedule individual or group conferences to talk
about your first draft and ideas for revision. You should come to conferences prepared to
discuss the responses you have received from peers, your own assessment of your draft,
and your plans for revision. Always bring printed material for any writing you would
like to discuss.
Late Policy: Extensions on the final drafts of your major papers may be negotiable, but no
credit will be given to any other assignments, including but not limited to rough drafts,
homework, and peer reviews. In order for this class to function smoothly, you need to have
all assignments in on time, otherwise your opportunity for peer review and participation
will be limited. However, these assignments must still be present in your portfolio at the
end of the quarter in order for the portfolio to be considered complete.

In case of emergency or other extenuating circumstances, please notify me as soon as
possible so that an appropriate solution to whatever delay is anticipated can be determined
as quickly as possible.
Writing Resources: There are two writing centers at UW:
1) The Odegaard Writing and Research Center is open by appointment only. I
suggest you make appointments early, as they often fill up, especially around
mid-terms and finals week.
2) The Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment (CLUE) offers late
night walk-in tutpring and help on many student subjects, including writing.
Extra Credit: There will be no opportunities for extra credit in this class.

Electronic Document Submission via Catalyst Dropbox: Whenever an assignment is
submitted as an electronic document, it is the students responsibility to make sure that the
file is correct and complete. If an electronic document is submitted and is unreadable or in
anyway corrupted, the assignment will be considered incomplete.

All written assignments should be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Do not submit
files that are formatted for Microsoft Works, Pages, Plain Text, or Rich Text. All filenames
should reflect the students name and the assignment.

Individual Student Needs and Disability Support: Every student deserves the
opportunity learn in the best and most appropriate environment possible. If you have a
question, concern, comment, request or other need please come and talk to me in person or
send me a detailed e-mail as soon as possible. I can make adjustments or accommodations
for individuals or the entire class, but only if I am made aware of them.

Students with medically recognized and documented disabilities and who are in need of
special accommodation have an obligation to notify the University of their needs. Students
in need of accommodation should contact the Office of Disability Resources for Students at
206-543-8924 (Voice) or 206-543-8925 (TTY) You can also find more information online
at If you need course adaptations or
accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information, or if
you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an
appointment with me as soon as possible

Academic Honesty: Especially in a discipline that requires you to be able to engage with
the ideas of others and to cite multiple unique sources, plagiarism is an incredibly self-
defeating activity. Plagiarism is, at the very least, grounds for a zero grade for that
assignment. If a student is suspected of deliberate plagiarism on an assignment, that
student will be reported to the Dean Representative on Academic Conduct in accordance
with UWs Academic Honesty Policy.

More information on UWs academic honestly policies can be found online:

If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism or about your own work, I am
eager to meet with you for a casual conversation to discuss these things.

Grade Disputes: The University of Washington has procedures in place to handle grading
disputes and appeals. This and other information about grading policies can be found
online at

Writing Assignment #1 Creating and Defending an Analytical Argument.
For this first assignment, you will write a research-based, analytical paper between
1500 and 2000 words in length on the topic of FGC and the Seattle Compromise.
Prompt: Following much debate about this piece of legislation in both public and
professional communities, you have decided to write a paper that explains your position on
the Seattle Compromise.
You are writing this paper as an anthropologist, and you intend to bring the unique skills
and perspectives that you have gained through your anthropological training into the
conversation. In particular, you feel that the core anthropological concept of cultural
relativism needs to be properly discussed and considered, since so many health advocates,
politicians, and medical professionals have been using this concept in their arguments but
appear to poorly understand what cultural relativism is and what its implications are.
Your paper, then, will defend your opinion that EITHER the Seattle Compromise should
have been protected and maintained, OR it should have been prohibited and the practice
brought to an end. You will construct your argument in a way that clearly demonstrates the
role of cultural relativism in your personal position on the Compromise.
You may assume that your readers are already quite familiar with the Seattle Compromise
and require no explanation of what it entails.
Use of Scholarly Sources: In your paper, you must make use of at least THREE academic,
anthropological or sociological sources that are written primarily on the subject of FGC.
These sources should be selected from the annotated bibliography that you will be turning
in on Wednesday, October 19. The purpose(s) of integrating these sources into your paper
include, but are not limited to:
y Incorporating relevant data (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, etc) that has
been collected and analyzed by other anthropologists before you into the structure
of your argument.
y Using cases and examples from the existing academic literature as evidence or as an
illustration in your own argument.
y Referencing, borrowing, or refuting arguments for or against FCG that other
anthropologists have made in the past.
y Borrowing a certain logic or rationale from another scholar who has made analytical
arguments about FGC before you.
You are allowed to include other sources, such as news pieces, general ethnographies,
medical references, and so on, if you feel that doing so benefits your paper or your
argument in some way. However, this is not required. Your paper will be graded on the
overall strength of your analytical argument and the skill of your composition, not on the
number of additional references that you use

Paper Schedule:
Monday, October 10: Research day with Anne Davis. Meet in Odegaard
computer lab. Email me ( at least 5 references before the end
of class. Submit a list of at least 20 references into your drop box before 5pm
on Tuesday.
Wednesday, October 12: Before noon on Wedensday, submit into your drop
box an annotated bibliography that includes at least seven of the sources on
your original references list.
Friday, October 14: Draft an outline of your argument for this paper and bring
2 hard copies to class.
Monday, October 17: For today, draft a title and an introductory paragraph for
your paper. Submit your introduction in class. Bring at least 5 hard copies.
Wednesday, October 19: Complete rough drafts of your paper are due in class.
Bring at least 5 hard copies. Half-spacing and double-sided printing are
Friday, October 21: Cooperative peer review in class.
Monday, October 23 - Wednesday, October 24: No class. Individual
conferences Monday and Tuesday.
Thursday, October 26: Final draft due into your drop box before midnight.
Friday, October 27: Reflection due into your drop box before midnight.

Writing Assignment #2
Ethnographic Writing: Using Anthropological Approaches to Better Understand
Human Behavior in a Health Care Setting
Your second writing assignment will allow you to better understand the research
methods and writing styles that define ethnography by authoring an ethnography of your
own. This task will require you to record cultural observations, analyze the details of those
observations through the perspectives and theories that you are learning in ANTH 215, and
struggle to find a way to present these insights that you develop in writing.
Assignment 2.1 Preliminary Fieldnotes Exercise. Due Monday October 31.
Read the selected pages from Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes by Emerson, Fretz,
and Shaw. Pay particular attention to how the authors answer the following questions:
1) What sorts of descriptive details should an ethnographer record in the field?
2) How do ethnographers record dialogue?
3) What does the term characterization mean, and how does it enhance
ethnographic note taking?
4) What are sketches, episodes, and fieldnote tales? How are they different, and
how might each one benefit you in different situations.
Once you have completed this reading, you will complete a practical observation and note-
taking exercise. Before class on Monday, you will need to conduct a brief ethnographic
study of a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant. To do this, you will need to spend at least 30-
minutes conducting a silent and focused observation in your chosen location and taking
detailed fieldnotes of what you experience, see, hear, and observe during that time. Once
your observation time has ended, look over your notes, and draft a 1-2 page typed account
of your thin description. You will hand in your field notes and your typed thin-description
in class on Monday.
Assignment 2.2 Site Proposal for Your Ethnography. Due Wednesday November 2.
Submit into you catalyst drop box a one-paragraph, typed proposal for the site that
you have chosen for your ethnography. Your proposal should address each of the following
1) What is the field site that you have chosen, and why have you chosen it?
2) What times or on what days will you conduct observations at this site, and why?
3) What are some things that you reasonable expect to observe at this site?
4) What theories or concepts from ANTH 215 do you expect to be useful in
understanding or explaining the human behavior and interaction at your chosen
5) What ethical or methodological problems do you expect to have at this site, and how
will you handle them?
Further instructions for your assignment will be distributed in class next week!

Revised Schedule for Writing Assignment #2 (v 1.1)
Monday October 31 Read selection from Writing Ethnographic Field notes (distributed
in class) on observations and note taking. Spend the weekend observing a place, bring your
notes and thin description to class.
Wednesday November 2 Turn in a 1.5 page (typed) proposal for the site that you have
chosen for your fieldwork.
November 3 6 (Thurs Sun) In the field. You will visit your site at least 2 times,
totaling at least 3 hours of observation. Take detailed notes of your observations.
Monday November 7 Submit your notes and a thin description of your observations and
what things you think people are up to at your site. Read the selection from Writing
Ethnographic Field notes on coding. We will discuss what coding is and how it is done in
class today.
Friday November 11 Veterans Day. No Class. Rough draft of your analysis is due into
your catalyst drop box. You should have begun incorporating anthropological theory into
your thinking and writing by now.
Monday November 14 Discuss application of theory in Class.
Monday November 14 and Tuesday November 15 - Group Conferences
Wednesday Nov 16 and Friday Nov 18 No Class. Write, write, write!
**You must re-visit your site at least once for one hour between the submission of your
first and second drafts. (Between Nov 11 and Nov 18)**
Friday November 18 Second draft of your ethnography is due major revisions of your
paper should be complete at this time. Post your draft to Catalyst Share Space.
Monday November 23 Peer Review in Class. This second round of peer review will
focus on language, flow, and other elements that are important to producing an elegant,
polished piece of writing.
Tuesday November 24 Final draft due at midnight.
Wednesday November 25 Response due at midnight.

Writing Assignment # 3
Exploring Health and Medicine Through An Ethnographic Interview

This assignment will be similar to writing assignment #2. You will be collecting
ethnographic data and analyzing that data with the help of theoretical frames and anthropological
literature that you have become familiar with in Rachels class. The difference is that this time,
instead of taking lengthy observations, you will be conducting an in-depth interview. This
interview will be the only source of data and will be the focus of your paper.
Medical anthropology is the focus of this course and of Rachels course. For this reason,
your interview must focus on issues of health and wellness, illness and disease, the social
structures and cultural systems that frame individual health. You may decide how your subject or
your topic relates to medical anthropology, but the connection must be clear. Perhaps you have a
friend or family member with a chronic illness. Maybe you know someone who works in a
hospital or clinic. You could interview care-takers, healers, or anyone with some sort of personal
experience that relates to health and medicine.
You will need to conduct this interview before the end of Week 10 (the first full week of
classes after Thanksgiving), because you will be turning in a paper abstract on Friday Dec 2,
and your rough draft is due on Saturday Dec 3.
Your final paper will need to be 1000-1500 words in length, and you must incorporate at
least 3 sources from Rachels syllabus in your analysis.

***Please be aware that University policy allows for this sort of research to be conducted among
human subjects so long as the material you collect is ONLY used for the purpose of this class***

Monday Nov 29: We will be discussing interview techniques, coding, and writing in class.
Come prepared to discuss your topic or subject of choice
Friday, Dec 2: Abstracts due. Write up a summary of your final paper that is between 200 and
250 words in length. Be sure to include a description of your topic, your methods, your theory,
and your argument or thesis. Bring 5 hard copies to class for Jennifer and for your peer group.
Saturday, Dec 3: Rough drafts due into the class Share Space.
Monday Dec 5: Peer review in class
Tuesday Dec 6 and Wednesday Dec 7: Individual conferences.
Wednesday, Dec 7: NO CLASS.
Thursday, Dec 8: Final draft due into your catalyst drop box. Your final draft should be 1000-
1500 words in length, should have a title, be double spaced, have 12 point font, 1 margins all
around. Your paper must also include at least 3 sources from Rachels syllabus. All of your
sources must be properly cited in-text and full references listed in the bibliography.
Friday, Dec 9: Written Response due into your catalyst drop box.

OFFICE (must be submitted by 4pm).