Undergraduate Research

Ethnography of the University – Professor Tania Li

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.  This course 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.

This project and undergraduate course is loosely based on the Ethnography of the University project at the University of Illinois http://www.eui.illinois.edu/. See the website  for a rich archive of past student projects. See http://www.eui.illinois.edu/resources/methods/ for readings and methods. EUI researchers in anthropology and other disciplines have pursued hundreds of research projects over the years. In 2015, the Ethnography Lab at the U of T made an original contribution with our concentrated focus on power in the undergraduate course entitled ANT 473 Ethnographic Practicum: The University . The provisional list of sites we explored in the fall of 2015 include

  1. student government;
  2. student services;
  3. the Board of Governors.

A PDF of the course syllabus can be found here: ANT 473 Ethnographic Practicum The University2015

Click here for samples of past students’ research.

Visit the Ethnography of the University website here.

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