MINI-ETHNOGRAPHY PROJECT

Overview

Through this assignment you will get a deeper understanding of a particular food-related experience or activity by approaching it from an anthropological perspective. Through participant observation and semi-structured interviews you will explore how  food-related preparation or production practices speak to a specific socio-cultural issue (i.e. gender roles, class and inequality, ethnicity and immigration, kinship, language and globalization, etc.)

This assignment is intended to develop your critical writing skills by offering an opportunity to produce a scholarly piece accessible to a wider audience. Equally important, it brings attention to the ethical responsibility we have when working with people. Through this assignment you will practice how to respectfully engage in participant observation, how to elaborate and conduct semi-structured interviews, and how to produce an analytical narrative that is anthropologically informed, thoughtful, and respectful towards your participants.

Products
 

  1. FINAL PROJECT: Web-based photo/video essay
    Prepare a well-written narrative sharing the results from your mini-ethnography project. The photo/video essay should include an introductory paragraph, supporting arguments, and a concluding paragraph. While the essay should be written from an anthropological perspective, it should be accessible to a general public. Remember the skills you learned during the participant observation and semi-structured interviews assignments, and weave ‘thick’ descriptions and quotes from your participants into your narrative. In your narrative include a detailed description of a particular food-related preparation or production practice, including a description of the materials and tools used. Be sure details are specific and clear, as if you were describing the activity to someone who is completely unfamiliar with it. Aim to write a scholarly piece that is creative and engaging!

    The final text should be 2000-3500 words (not including the bibliography) and contain photos, video, or sketches, depending on your project design. Remember to add a caption for each image and give proper credit to the author (i.e. which team member(s) or participant(s) produced it).

    The final project will include:

    1. Participant observation of a process related to food production/food processing.
    2. 2 or 3 semi-structured interviews with key informants. Make sure to incorporate quotes from the interviews into the body of your paper.
    3. Background research on the topic. You will need to use at least six scholarly sources and properly cite them using MLA format. These sources must be from anthropology or affine disciplines.
    4. If applicable, draw on secondary sources to strengthen your research. These may include newspaper articles, documentaries, online blogs, etc. All secondary sources must be properly cited using MLA format.
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  3. PROJECT DESIGN (1-2 pages) [These paragraphs cannot be recycled into the final paper]
    The project design should include the following:

    1. Working Title
    2. Topic Statement. This is an explanation of the theme of your study. It should include an explanation of what is the cultural group or population you will be researching, what are the food practices you will be documenting, and what is the anthropological research question driving your fieldwork. Include your working hypothesis of what you will find.
    3. Primary research method and timeline: Participant-observation will require your involvement in some sort of food production/processing practice. Explain what practice you plan to participate in, how will you guarantee your participation? How will you gain access to the site/event to be able to conduct participant observation? Do you need permission from someone? Who will you need to coordinate with?You should conduct at least two semi-structured interviews. How will you select your research participants? 
Do you have a main informant? How long do you anticipate interviews to be?
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  5. INFORMED CONSENT FORM (should not exceed 1-page) [Download template from our d2l site]
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  7. INDIVIDUAL REFLECTION PIECE (450-500 words) Reflect upon your fieldwork experience – with particular consideration to class discussions on methodology and the issue of ethics in anthropological fieldwork. Be specific. DUE 12-09-15 via d2l