“Reading, Writing, Ethnography” undertakes a survey of exemplary texts in order to explore the histories, genre conventions and experimental forms for writing ethnography. The course focuses on the monograph form, and is especially concerned with the ways in which empirical observation is made the ground of theoretical abstraction and generalizing claims. Additionally, it examines the relationship between different theoretical and aesthetic movements as these have influenced the writings of anthropologists and those whose work can be considered to have an anthropological ambition—even when they have not been formally trained in anthropology. We will examine the influence of various modernisms—realist and surrealist—on the discipline, as well as the sometimes awkward relations between structuralist, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theory as they have (and have not) been realized in the writing projects of ethnographers.
Rosalind C. Morris