Assignment Three, the Ethnographic Analysis assignment, will be to write a 4-5 pg analysis of an ethnographically based article in the context of the themes of course based on a list of articles supplied by the instructor.  You should select one of the articles from the selection for this assignment and discuss your chosen text in general and to analyze sections of the content in a detailed manner as well, using both in text references and other appropriate standards of citation.  You can select any article in the section designated “Ethnographies for Assignment Three” section on Blackboard.

Your goal is to engage with an ethnographic article chosen from the article list in a scholarly, anthropological way. Talk about its relationship to culture and society, the ways in which it engages with anthropological themes and perspectives, and the kinds of insights and questions it raises. The purpose of the assignment is for you to practice thinking critically in some of the ways that anthropologists do, based upon a piece of anthropological writing.

Your analysis should include:

  • the main ideas of the article in clear paragraph based form.
  • a discussion of the article in the context of the holistic themes of the course
  • a close reading/detailed analysis of at least two specific passages from the article you choose
  • substantive cited connections to at least two other course readings

**If you have never analyzed passages from a text before, here is a link to a good guide to the basics of the process. (The piece is written in the context of literary fiction, but for our purposes the process is the same.)

The Writing Center should also be able to provide guidance if you have never done a close reading before and want more help with this:

I will expect to find at least these three discrete sections in your response

  1. An initialsynopsis of your chosen article, written in such a way that someone who has not read the article can understand its main ideas and arguments.
  2. A robustdiscussion of themes raised by the course readings that you find relevant to your article– this should include specific references to details and crosscutting themes. This is an important part of the assignment– if you just glance over it, you will lose a lot of credit.
  3. Acomparative discussion considering the relationship of your text to at least 2 other texts from the class– Again, you should use specific examples and try to think about the texts holistically.

Some possible course themes you can use for the assignment include the following:

  • social structure, relationships, and beliefs
  • language and terminology
  • social identity categories (race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity)
  • material culture
  • issues of power and social control

A few other words of guidance:

  • Do NOT conduct outside research. It will not count toward your work here, all major elements of the assignment should be fulfilled using reference materials from the course.
  • If you do not include all three of the numbered sections listed above, you will not have completed all the requirements of the assignment.
  • You MUST do a close reading of your passages. Just pasting in a passage from the text is not enough.  You should have at least a short paragraph of analytical discussion of your selections at minimum to fulfill the requirements of the assignment.
  • Make sure you’re aware of academic standards of citation and referencing for something like this. I will be taking off credit if you don’t appropriately cite both specific quotations as well as details you’re using from your sources.  Just including a works cited page is not enough– if you are using article content it MUST be cited properly.


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