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Ethnographic Vignette
Cultural Anthropology
The aim of this exercise is to expose you to some of the key fieldwork practices and research
methodologies employed by cultural anthropologists to another, analyze and interpret ethnographic
data: participant observation, interviews, oral and personal histories, field site mapping. Upon
completion of this exercise you will have experienced and described a social/cultural event from an
anthropological perspective. This exercise will sharpen your observational and intercultural
communication skills, allow you to practice note taking in the field and learn about how anthropologists
turn theory into practice.
1. Field Site Visit and Social Geography
Conduct a cursory field site visit of Foothill College, take field notes and produce a preliminary
social geography of the campus or selected location on-campus. Pay close attention to how
campus community members occupy, use and create different types of social spaces on the
Foothill campus. Identify potential “cultural borderlands”.
 Draw a social map of Foothill College or selected campus location.
 DUE:
2. Fieldwork Proposal
Brainstorm three potential cultural/social events where you might conduct field work. Examples
of events you can attend: religious services, a cultural ritual or celebration (e.g. bar/bat mitzvah,
powwow, quinceaňera, tea ceremony, wedding, etc.), family reunion, volunteer event, political
rally, etc.
 Submit a list of three potential field sites. Be specific. Include a paragraph describing
your preferred field site (what, when, who and why).
 DUE:
3. Oral Informed Consent Script
Write an oral informed consent script requesting your informants’ permission to carry out
fieldwork among them and which advises them of their rights as research subjects.
The script should: 1) tell your informants who you are and who you are affiliated with 2) the
purpose of your research 3) what kind of data you will collect 4) how you will protect their
privacy and 5) requests their voluntary participation in your field research.
 Submit an oral informed consent script and request permission for your fieldwork
 DUE:
4. Hand-written field notes
Perform fieldwork. Students are required to observe, participate, and conduct at least one short
interview while conducting fieldwork. Students must take hand-written field notes. Digital
recording of fieldwork is not permitted.
 Carry out fieldwork. Observe, participate, conduct at least one interview, take handwritten field notes.
 Save your field notes and turn in a copy, DUE:
5. Write Ethnographic Vignette based on Field Notes
Write a 6 to 8 page, ethnographic vignette that describes and interprets the ethnographic data
you collected during field work.
The vignette should: 1) provide a narrative account of what you saw, what people said and what
people did 2) where necessary, interpret the customs and practices of your informants for your
readers and 3) demonstrates the application of a holistic, comparative, situated and relativistic
 Write a 6 to 8 page Ethnographic Vignette based on your field work. Your paper
should include
o Title page
 Come up with a Title for your Vignette. Also include your name, the
class title and the date
o Proposal page
 Describe your chosen field site (what, when, who and why).6 to 8 page
o Appendix with your informed consent script
o Bibliography of works cited
 DUE:
Assignment Formatting
Typed, single-sided, double spaced, 1 inch margins all around, 12 point font.
Grading Breakdown (100 pts. Total)
Fieldwork Proposal (20 pts.)
Oral Consent Script (20 pts.)
Hand-written field notes (10 pts.)
Ethnographic Vignette (50 pts.)