COMM 2325-Journalism and/as Ethnography
Dr. Robert Huesca
Course Description. This class explores the relationship between the practice of journalism and the method of ethnography through readings and practice. The first part of the course will introduce you to the basic steps involved in conducting an ethnography. The second part of the course will require you to apply that knowledge to both readings and your own ethnographic project. The goals of the course are to: (a) achieve a broad understanding of what constitutes an ethnography; (b) develop an ability to analyze journalistic work using criteria from ethnographic methods; and (c) refine a variety of skills used in conducting an ethnography.
Didion, J. (1983). Salvador. New York: Vintage.
Fetterman, D. M. (1989). Ethnography step by step. Newbury Park: Sage.
***Liebow, E. (1993). Tell them who I am: The lives of homeless women. New York: Free Press.
Nelson, J. (1993). Volunteer slavery: My authentic Negro experience. New York: Penguin.
Santiago, D. (1983). Famous all over town. New York: Plume.
***Liebow is being held on 2-hour reserve at the library. All other texts are available at the bookstore.
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Grades will be computed as follows:
- Midterm exam (25%)
- Quizzes (5%)
- Field Notes (10%)
- Papers: Paper 1--5%, Paper 2--15%, Paper 3--10%, Paper 4--20% (50% total)
- Participation, performance, and attendance (10%)
A brief description of each assignment is included below. In-depth descriptions of the assignment requirements will be given later in the semester.
- Exam. A closed-book, essay exam of major issues from our principal text.
- Quizzes. There will be four unannounced quizzes--one per book assigned in the second half of the class. Quizzes will cover reading material assigned for that day.
- Field Notes. You must keep detailed and dated field notes, either typed or handwritten. On certain days, we will share field notes with one another.
- Papers. A total of four papers is required. All of the papers must be based on primary research that you have conducted on a chosen "culture." Fuller instructions on these papers are attached.
- Participation, performance, and attendance. Small groups will be assigned specific dates for discussion/performance of the four ethnographies that we will be reading. A specific lecture is designated for explaining exactly what constitutes a performance. If we are lucky, we will have a guest performer/speaker.
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Policies are as follows.
- Attendance (read carefully). The participation portion of your grade is based largely on attendance. A sign-in sheet will be passed around during class and you should sign only your name. Anyone signing the name of a fellow class member will receive a zero for participation in the class. One absence is allowed without penalty. Beginning with the second absence, the participation grade will be reduced. Beginning with the third absence, the final grade will be reduced, in addition to a reduction of the participation grade. Students with serious, documented illness or family emergencies necessitating more than four absences should withdraw from the course or talk to the instructor regarding a grade of incomplete, which will be given only when complete documentation is presented consistent with university policy. Please be on time to class; consistent lateness will result in a reduction of final grade.
- Written assignments. You will note in the syllabus that each paper is required to go through at least one, peer-guided revision (extended instructions attached). All written assignments must be typewritten, stapled in the upper left-hand corner (no plastic covers), with 1.5 inch margins all around. Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period. If for some reason you miss a first draft assignment, you will receive a maximum of half credit on the final paper. All assignments must include name of course and professor, name of assignment, your name, and title on the first page. All other pages must be numbered in the upper right hand corner.
- Exams/Quizzes. No early exams given. Late exams given in cases of documented medical emergencies only. Missed quizzes cannot be made up except in the case of documented medical emergencies.
- Academic integrity. Students are expected to be familiar with the definitions of academic integrity outlined on pages 1 and 2 of the Student handbook, particularly the section on plagiarism. Any violations of academic integrity will be dealt with as outlined in the student handbook.
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