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79-404 Extreme Ethnography
Observation, participation and direct experience of "the field" are hallmarks of anthropological ways of knowing, and their representation has played a foundational role in ethnographic writing both past and present. Yet reflexive and postmodernist explorations of these topics have triggered contentious debates over the nature of anthropology as a scientific or humanistic enterprise, and over its ethical, political and epistemological value. In this seminar, we will approach such questions through an exploration of the extremes of ethnographic fieldwork and writing. We will consider such topics as: the colonial history and politics of explorers and ethnographers; liminality and the place of extreme experience--such as cultural dislocation, violence, derangement, intoxication, sex, possession, and dreaming-in fieldwork and writing; field-notes as an ethnographic genre, and their relationship to "official" published ethnography; ethnographic surrealism and surrealist ethnography; the dimensions of sensory experience (visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.) in fieldwork and ethnography; collecting and the powers of "exotic" objects; inter-subjectivity and its implications; and experimentation with alternate ethnographic forms, such as autobiography, film, diary, and poetry. **Please Note**: students electing to take this class should have a background in anthropology.
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