A university is a microcosm of society, with its large and diverse population of students, staff and faculty; its hierarchies and habits; and the relations of power and meaning that shape everyday practices in classrooms, labs, dining halls, offices, clubs, and residence corridors. Exclusion, fashion, friendship, sex, competition, religion, bureaucracy, fear, faith, education – everything happens in a university. ANT473 invites students to devise and carry out an ethnographic research project on a topic of their choice connected to, and situated within, the University of Toronto. Class time will be used for brainstorming research ideas and possible sites, and for presenting preliminary findings for collective feedback and analysis.
The purpose of the course is to learn how to conduct an independent ethnographic inquiry, analyse data, and write it up as a contribution to knowledge. It may be published on a website (location tba). The skills you learn will be useful in any field of work you enter in future, as you will become more aware of the social and cultural milieu in which you are living and capable of examining it and reflecting upon it in a way that goes far beyond the casual and everyday.
The course is loosely based on the Ethnography of the University project at the University of Illinois. See the website http://www.eui.illinois.edu/ for a rich archive of past student projects, some inspiring ideas and resources, and some potential angles for US/Canada comparison. The main method we’ll use for analysis is the “extended case method” explained and illustrated in Michael Burowoy’s book Ethnography Unbound (on reserve at Robarts), and we’re going to use his teaching method too: http://burawoy.berkeley.edu/syllabus/272E.pdf.
Read the work of students previously enrolled in this course below.
White Skin and White Masquerades: The Performativity of ‘Whiteness’ at Trinity College by Alican A. Koc
This paper was published in Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of
Anthropology (Vol. 22:1)