Transnational Tortillas

Transnational Tortillas, by Munoz; or Revolutionizing Romance: Interracial Couples in Contemporary Cuba, by Nadine T. Fernandez; or The Gebusi, by B. Knauft; or Lines in the Water, by B. Orlove

In this final written assignment you will be reading a book-length ethnography. In your analysis of the book you selected you should incorporate all you have learned about cultural anthropology so far this term. This final paper should evidence your mastery of the substantive content of this course.

Traditionally many ethnographies follow a certain pattern in their organization which you may observe in the book you selected. The location of the culture to be studied is described, followed by an introduction that details the principal focus of the author’s work. The foci of most ethnographies generally relate to theoretical issues in anthropology and the objective of the anthropologist is to add to anthropological theory, thus contributing to the development of the discipline. Following the introduction outlining the theoretical issues to be addressed is a discussion of how the focus of the study was refined as a function of field work conditions and information (data collected). The next part of an ethnography takes the reader into the empirical data collected (based on extensive participant observation and interviewing). These data are typically organized into logical and interconnected categories. Following this “thick” ethnographic description, the ethnographer analyzes his/her data and draws conclusions that he/she feels are supported by the data.

In developing your analysis of the ethnography selected for this assignment, please use the following questions as a guide:

What was the intended research objective(s) of the study? That is, what theoretical issue or issues guided the study?
What difficulties, if any, did the researcher/anthropologist encounter in pursuing the initial study objectives? How were the initial objectives modified or refined?
What field methods were used in collecting data? How long was the anthropologist engaged in the study?
How does this book or issues raised in this book connect to other course readings, materials, and/or discussions?
Are the conclusions made by the author supported by his/her analysis of data? Do you feel you understand how the different aspects (institutions, traditions, values, beliefs, etc.) of the culture are woven together to create a holistic sense of the culture or the culture’s worldview? Has the author accomplished his/her research objectives in terms of the theoretical issues that originally and subsequently guided the study effort?
How has this work contributed to the discipline of anthropology? To a better understanding of culture and the importance of anthropology in addressing many contemporary issues and problems that affect our daily lives? How has this book contributed to our understanding of the world?
In one or two paragraphs at the end of your paper, compare and contrast one or more aspects of the culture your read about to your own, or to another culture with which you are familiar.