Writing in Anthropology


We look at forms of writing in anthropology. We examine the history of ideas and debates about what we can learn from ethnographies, and about how the particularistic "report from the field" relates to the development of general knowledge. We ask what makes for clear, analytical writing in anthropology, and to a great degree in other disciplines. We try out our ideas both on published texts and on students' own work in progress. Successful writing depends on knowing your audience, and that requires knowing the genre conventions for that audience. For example, we write differently for a specialist journal than we do for one that aims to attract a wide audience. Part of deciding how to write is understanding how particular kinds of "gatekeepers" (editors, anonymous readers, research funders, potential employers) will evaluate a text. Alongside of critically reading texts, we will discuss departmental colloquia. Depending on time, we may also invite students who are preparing a job talk to try it out in class. In each case, we will ask: how is the text structured? How do authors link their work to broader concerns in the field? Do you find this convincing? How do we decide if a text is sufficiently placed in a context? We will look for areas of strength and ways the text could have been improved. Graduate students from across the discipline of anthropology are welcome to participate, including students in archeology and physical anthropology. Most of what we will do is transportable across a range of disciplines, and therefore graduate students from other departments are also most welcome. Students must register unless they have already reached their course ceiling.
Course Attributes:

Section 01

Writing in Anthropology
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