Senior Writing I-Workshops Arc

  • Oct 27, 2023, 11:00 am12:00 pm
  • Nov 2, 2023, 12:30 pm1:20 pm
  • Nov 9, 2023, 12:30 pm1:20 pm
  • Nov 30, 2023, 12:30 pm1:20 pm


Event Description

The senior workshops are designed to help students write their senior thesis by breaking it down into manageable steps, anticipating roadblocks or speed bumps along the way. No preparation or reading will be required! The workshops are crafted around an arc that is intended to teach students how to refine their topics; how to find their unique writing voice; how to organize and analyze evidence; how to interweave theory and ethnography; how to situate their topic within a historical and political context; and how to speak to contemporary anthropological debates and use key terms.

For the Fall, there will be four workshops held after Fall break. During each meeting, students will complete a short writing exercise. Keep in mind that writings in these exercises need not necessarily end up in the thesis itself, as these exercises are intended to facilitate exploration, experimentation, and overall greater ease in the writing process. The themes of the workshops are as follows:


Workshop 1: Ethnographic/Archival Inspiration

Friday, October 27th, 11:00 am - 11:50 am in Aaron Burr Hall 216 with Prof. Thalia Gigerenzer

The theme of the first workshop will be the “Ethnographic/Archival Inspiration,” during which students will be asked to write what drove them to their topic. As more than a “positionality statement,” this workshop explores students’ concrete, intellectual, and personal relationships to their topic. The workshop will allow students to find their authorial voice, which makes the writing process smoother, and the final product richer. Another benefit is finding their arguments’ “center of gravity,” providing for more focused and cohesive arguments.


Workshop 2: Opening Scene

Thursday, November 2nd, 12:30 - 1:20 pm in Aaron Burr Hall 216 with Prof. Ikaika Ramones

Building on the first workshop, the second workshop, “Opening Scene,” will ask students to “zoom out” a bit from the first prompt and write an opening to their thesis, which can be an ethnographic or archival vignette. This workshop also covers how to choose vignette material that can reveal, demystify, or provoke the core prompt of their thesis. This workshop also begins the process of selecting, analyzing, and interpreting ethnographic/archival information as it relates to their avenue of inquiry.


Workshop 3: Context 

Thursday, November 9th, 12:30 - 1:20 pm in Aaron Burr Hall 216 with Prof. Ikaika Ramones

In the third workshop, “Context,” students will be asked to consider and write about the historical, political and cultural context of their topic. This is aimed to help them with writing the introduction. The workshop will briefly consist of locating salient historical, political, and cultural scholarship, if necessary for students. The workshop then pivots to weaving such information into one’s writing in a smoother and more integrated manner, all while maintaining authorial command.


Workshop 4: Interpreting Data: Connecting Theory to Ethnography 

Thursday, November 30th, 12:30 - 1:20 pm in Aaron Burr Hall 216 with Prof. Thalia Gigerenzer

In the fourth workshop, “Interpreting Data: Connecting Theory to Ethnography,” students will receive a writing prompt aimed to help them practice connecting theory to ethnography/archival data. To avoid imposing theory onto data, or instances in which the data do not support the argument, this workshop explores how to derive and refine theory from data.