What is Ethnography?

Ethnography is a research method central to knowing the world from the standpoint of its social relations. It is a qualitative research method predicated on the diversity of culture at home (wherever that may be) and abroad. Ethnography involves hands-on, on-the-scene learning — and it is relevant wherever people are relevant. Ethnography is the primary method of social and cultural anthropology, but it is integral to the social sciences and humanities generally, and draws its methods from many quarters, including the natural sciences. For these reasons, ethnographic studies relate to many fields of study and many kinds of personal experience – including study abroad and community-based or international internships. For further discussion about ethnography, see Why Study Anthropology.

All Anthropology concentrators  take two core methods courses on ethnography: 

  • ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience (offered in fall terms)
  • ANT 301 The Ethnographer's Craft (offered in spring terms)

Non-Anthropology majors who have interest in learning ethnographic methods are encouraged to take ANT 300 and ANT 301 as well as ANT topics courses. Non-majors may sign up for Anthropology faculty office hours for help with their independent ethnographic research. Students are also welcomed to utilize the resources offered by the Department of Anthropology’s Center on Transnational Policing (CTP) and the Ethnographic Data Visualization Lab (VizE Lab). These ongoing resources replace the former program in Ethnographic Studies.