Comparative Ethnography Essay

Comparative Ethnography Essay

A. The Assignment

Compare TWO of the fulllength ethnographies covered in this class (i.e. texts by A. Ghosh (In An Antique Land: History in the guise of a traveller’s tale), D. Bird Rose (Dingo Makes us Human), or K. Stewart (Ordinary Affects)).

The finished essay is to be approximately 12 pages in length, double-spaced, using 12 point
Times New Roman font and normal margins. NOTE: one of these may be that which you
covered in your assigned seminar.
Your essay will present a carefully researched discussion and argument responding to the
following instructions:

1. Compare two of the ethnographies covered this year. Develop a thesis or proposition
statement and a coherent argument from this statement that compares the effectiveness of the
two books in providing robust accounts. In writing on the ethnographic texts themselves, try
to elucidate the key proposition they, in turn, are built around. Consider whether the author’s proposition and text is grounded moreso in a theoretic concern, or as a consequence of their position, their situatedness (or both?). It is crucial that you focus the reader by drawing attention to the most emblematic elements in the text. Therefore, you must carefully select and compare especially representative passages or quotes from each of the texts that most powerfully demonstrate the key distinctions and similarities between the two texts. These sections must also clearly support your thesis/proposition and argument.
2. Your argument must incorporate, in an analytically sound way, a discussion of:
a) the particular way that the authors manage (or not) to generate a robust ethnographic
account; and,
b) how knowledges are situated (cf. Haraway) in relation to the ethnographer as writer
and researcher, to the research subjects, and to moral/political concerns.
SOSA 2001/13-14 Final Comparative Ethnography Essay Guidelines 2/15/14
p. 2/4 Prof. B. Noble
3. You must find and cite one especially pertinent peer-reviewed social science journal article that critically addresses the practice of ethnography. You will draw key claims from this article that strongly support your proposition and argument. You must either quote directly from or paraphrase the claims from the article, and cite the source precisely and correctly.
4. You must also include and cite properly one key, supporting quote from the Gay y Blasco
& Wardle text How to Read Ethnography. Again, the quote and the argument behind it from
the text must strongly support your thesis and argument. You must either quote directly from
or paraphrase the arguments or propositions from the article, and cite the source precisely
and correctly.

B. Objectives
The objectives of the assignment are:
1) to hone your skills at critically distinguishing the knowledge-producing, textual, and moralpolitical practices of ethnography and ethnographers;
2) to compare two full length ethnographic texts where, upon a full reading, you have
identified specific passages that most strongly demonstrate the key distinctions and
similarities between the two texts;
3) to analyze these text comparatively in regard to both the situated knowledges and/or the
political location of the ethnographer and of some key ethnographic subjects presented
in the ethnography;
4) to develop a clear, well-supported thesis statement that speaks to the salient points of
contrast or similarity between the two works, and to support that thesis with a sustained
argument and discussion over the course of a complete essay;
5) to argue as to how each text achieves greater robustness in it ethnographic effect;
6) to make critical and focused use of two supporting texts (one from the course, one you have researched yourself) that clearly and directly enhance your argument;
7) to gain experience in crafting a social science research essay which introduces, conveys,
and supports your propositions in a clear, persuasive, and carefully documented manner.
You will benefit from reading the Buckley’s handbook Fit to Print, especially the sections on the “Literary Essay”, the “Book Review”, and the “Research Essay”. Note that this essay is not a book review per se, and mostly blends elements of the Research Essay and the Literary Essay.

C. Specific Technical Requirements
Your finished assignment will be 2500 words (plus or minus 100 words) in length, plus
properly cited references (Web, print, or media) which you have researched and which bolster
your argument and consideration of cases. You must use proper APA citation procedure for
all these references, and for all in-text citation. Link here to the Library’s APA style sheet used by SOSA.
In addition:
a) Provide clear concise descriptions of your case material when presenting this in your
b) Include no fewer than six highly relevant quotations — that in total account for no more than 500 words of your entire essay length, and all of which must be fully and properly cited.
c) Provide a clear introduction (which will contain your thesis statement) and a conclusion to your essay (approx. 1 page each), both of which bring home clearly what you have attempted to do and say in the essay.
e) Include on a separate page after the body of your text a list of supporting references (i.e. the two ethnographies compared, the course text book, the Haraway article, and the external journal article that supports your argument).
f) Include a cover page for the entire assignment with an evocative title of no more than 12 words that suggests the thesis (the key trajectory and proposition) of your paper. Your name, ID number, date submitted, course number and section are to be included on the cover page, plus a word count for the body of your essay. Please number all of your pages.
g) Check spelling, grammar, and clarity of language carefully. Your ability to order your ideas and construct compelling arguments in complete, paragraphs using carefully-composed
sentences, grammar, and punctuation will be an important criterion in the evaluation. (Use
Buckley as a general guide to writing.)

As always, carefully guard against plagiarism of any possible sort, and use the power of careful citation and documentation to ensure you employ and acknowledge the ideas, texts, words,materials of others in a correct and thorough manner.