In this seminar, we read a set of new ethnographic writings that focus on linguistic practices, using those to explore wider cultural patterns and the project of writing cultural description. In the first weeks we discuss fieldwork and some classic questions about genre, voice, rhetoric and persuasion in analytic writing. Seminar members will do their own ethnographic project and write it up for a final paper. Questions to be discussed: What is the role of linguistic practices in constituting culture, power, identity? How do people “do” ethnographic fieldwork; how is that work transformed into writing? How should one evaluate ethnographic texts? Who are the text's addressees; what are its blindspots? What counts as theory? How is the “object” of analysis delineated? How is authority achieved (or not)?
Susan Gal -- Autum 2020