Anthropology 33, Fall 2011
Group Ethnographic Project
This project will take you all quarter and will require you to be creative.
You will work in a group of
five people who all must be in the same discussion section with you.
Your T.A. will assign these
groups randomly during section.
The project is designed to introduce you and your group to the work of ethnography, including
many of the component parts that go into observing, conceptualizing, describing, documenting,
analyzing, rethinking, and presenting what is interesting about social settings and socio-cultural
More than anything, it’s designed to teach you how to
the world around you,
because that is arguably one of the most important qualities in an anthropologist.
It is meant to
provide an opportunity to incorporate the conceptual and analytical tools you will be learning in this
Finally, it is meant to provide you with an opportunity to learn how to work creatively within
Although it was once true that ethnographers tended to work alone in the field,
anthropology and other social sciences are increasingly collaborative.
The better your ability to work
together, the better your final project will probably be.
Although the final project is not due until the end of the quarter (December 5, 2011), components
of the project will be due along the way, as noted below [under
], and these
will each be graded.
The FIRST STEP is to find a setting on campus, at home, or out in the city where your group may
OBSERVE and RECORD a routine/recurrent social activity of some kind.
The particular kind of
setting and activity is up to you and your group members.
However, you may want to focus on a
setting that involves one or more of the activities which will be the focus of this course:
stories/narratives, greetings, service encounters, aspects of performances, parts of speeches,
learning, aspects of art-making, dinner table conversations, hanging out, jointly watching TV, etc.
NOTE: Selecting this class as your focus - its lectures or discussion sections - is NOT an
Interaction which occurs on television or online is also NOT an option, as
interesting as it may be.
RESEARCH ON HUMAN SUBJECTS. Anthropologists, like all social scientists working in a
university, need to comply with federal regulations on research on human and animal subjects. At
UCLA this is done through the
Office for Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS)
. Any UCLA
researcher (whether faculty or student) needs to (i) get a certificate that shows that he or she has
learned the basic principles of doing research on human subjects (this is done on the web now), (ii)
accurately describe the project and how human subjects will be selected and treated (or how one
might interact with them) and (iii) submit the proposal for the project and the protocol to OPRS,
which reviews it for approval. It is a fairly elaborate procedure and takes time.
For this project you
will NOT need to go through the approval of OPRS