ANTH 305

Mondays & Wednesdays 1:00-2:15 am; Bailey 110 Jennifer R. Guzman, PhD

Bailey 108, Mondays 2:30-4:00, Thursdays 11:30-1:00, and by appointment. Feel free to visit office hours to discuss any questions you have about course content, assignments, or your academic progress. Feel free to email questions that can be answered briefly. If you have a complex question or situation, please visit me during office hours. I read e-mail Monday-Friday. Allow 1-2 days for a response. When sending email, include ANTH 305 and a topic in the subject line.

(585) 245-5174

Christina Montelli (

Course description

This course introduces students to the methods that anthropological linguists use to study speech communities and language in context. Students will gain hands-on experience in planning and carrying out an ethnographic project that documents the language practices of a sociocultural community in the Geneseo area, bridging theory and practice. The course focuses on developing students' understanding of the history of and applications for various methods, most centrally participant observation, interviewing, and videorecording, as well as developing students' competence in using these methods as a suite for data collection. Students will gain practice in conducting a literature search and contextualizing their own findings in extant linguistic and anthropological research. Through discussion of course readings and the experience of carrying out a project, students will explore, as holistically as possible, how communities use language and other semiotic resources in their everyday interactions to organize their worlds and construct meaning in their lives.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will develop familiarity with ethnographic research methodology as it is used in the fields of linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics.
  • Students will be able to describe ethical considerations, steps in the informed consent process, institutional review board procedures, and the development of ethnography as a tool for linguistic anthropological research.
  • Students will gain basic proficiency in participant-observation, fieldnote writing, ethnographic photography, ethnographic videography, transcription, subtitling, and ethnographic writing.
  • Students will hone analytical skills for identifying and describing speech communities and patterns of language use in naturalistic contexts.

Required Texts

o Sally Campbell Galman. Shane, The Lone Ethnographer. AltaMira Press. ISBN: 9780759103443

o Alessandro Duranti. From Grammar to Politics. University of California Press. ISBN: 9780520083851

o Charles L. Briggs. Learning How to Ask. Cambridge University Press. ISBN:

9780521311137 o Other readings will be posted to MyCourses

Please bring each day's readings (and your notes about them) with you to class. We will work

with them regularly during class.

Required Supplies

  • 16GB SDHC Flash Memory Card for video cameras
  • Access to Inqscribe, Keynote or PowerPoint, and Final Cut Pro/iMovie (available in the computer lab)

Class Format

Classes will have 2 components: 1) review of students' ethnographic assignments, 2)

introduction to ethnographic methodologies relevant to upcoming assignments.

Assignments:                                                                  l

  1. Reading response: due by 5 pm the day before class via dropbox. You should also bring a hard copy of your reading response with you to class. Responses should show evidence that you read the assigned articles and contain at least one thoughtful comment OR question (in at least three sentences) for EACH of the required readings for each class day. Comments should discuss a piece of information that was new, surprising or thought-provoking for you. Include WHY you thought it was interesting or significant. Questions should pertain to something that either you did not understand, did not agree with, or something that you would like to know more about and would be interested in exploring further during class discussion. These comments and questions give you the chance to make judgments and think critically about the articles. We will discuss some responses and questions in class.
  2. Progress assignments: will be presented orally/visually in the first half of class and are described in detail in the schedule, below.
  3. Fieldnote journal: Write up 2 typed pages of field notes following each weekly field site visit as a Word file. Fieldnotes will first be written as part of Week 4's assignment, "Entering the Field." Turn in all of your field notes together as a 'field journal' with your final paper. The field journal may also be requested a few times during the semester.

Final Requirements:

a)    Students are required to present a final project constructed in Keynote or PowerPoint that pulls all of the weekly assignments together. The final project (10 minutes + 5 minutes for questions) will be presented during the final exam period.

b)    Students are also required to write a 5-page final paper that focuses on the communicative practices in the chosen community. Examples include but are not limited to: directives, gossip, greetings, prayer, verbal dueling, gesture, kinship terms, etc. Detailed instructions will be distributed after Spring Break.

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Active and engaged participation in class is crucial to success in this class. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings, materials, and methods. Students will also be expected to present their fieldwork assignments regularly. Late assignments will be penalized one-half of a grade per day (e.g. a B+ drops to a B). This is a labor-intensive course, but you will come out of this class having conducted original research on the ethnography of everyday speech in a particular community, which can be useful across disciplinary boundaries and for graduate school applications and future jobs.

Grading Structure

10  Participation

10  Reading responses

35   Progress assignments

15   Field journal

15   Final project presentation

15   Final paper

100   TOTAL

Grading: Grading for this class follows the standards for letter grading described in the Geneseo Undergraduate Bulletin:

A/A-      Excellent work

B+, B, B- Very good work C / C+   Satisfactory work

C-                   Work demonstrating minimal competence

D                    Marginal work

E (failure) Inadequate work Other possible grades are: P (pass), F (fail), S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), and W (withdrawn). Consult the Bulletin for details about these latter grades.

Accommodation: If you need classroom accommodations due to a documented or suspected learning difference, please contact Dean Buggie-Hunt ( at the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and bring me a letter outlining the accommodations you require. Do so as early as possible.

Academic Honesty

This falls under the category of "things you should already know," of course. Just a reminder: you are responsible for abiding by the SUNY Geneseo policies on academic honesty. Here is a link. Student Affairs policies.html

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Readings and assignments are due on the date they are listed. Schedule subject to change as needed.

WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS In class: Introductions

Watch short interview of Alexandra Horowitz discussing "On Looking"


  • Shane Ch. 1 "Alone On The Range, 'A Fistful Of Reserve Reading'
  • Shane Ch. 2 "Whither Ethnography? Or, Showdown At The Paradigm Corral"
  • Grammar to Politics Ch. 1 "introduction"

Assignment (due in class)

(a)   "Learning to see" - Take a 20-minute walk around any location, jotting down everything that you see. Then take two or three others on separate walks, jotting down what they tell you that they are seeing and what you see them do during their walk. Type up two to three paragraphs summarizing how you viewed the environment differently than the two/three others that accompanied you on their walks. Do not turn in your handwritten notes but bring them with you to class. To be discussed in the beginning of class.

(b)   Bring in 3-5 ideas for possible ethnographic projects.


Assignment (due in class)

Complete the "Protecting Human Research Participants" online training module ( Bring a copy of your certificate of completion to class.


Shane Ch. 3 "The Good, The Bad, And The Beginner"

Shane Ch. 4 "Wanted: Theoretical Framework, Dead Or Alive"

Duranti. The Scope of Linguistic Anthropology. Linguistic Anthropology, pp 1-22.

Assignment due:

Each student will read ONE article or chapter listed below and come to class prepared to give a brief summary (no more than 5 minutes) explaining to the

Field Methods - Spring 2015

class the main findings of the linguistic anthropological study, the data presented to back up the claim, and the methods used, as best as they can, based on what the reading provided about data collection and linguistic analysis. This exercise is not to test students on their summary skills but to give the class an overview of various topics and methods in linguistic anthropology.

Each student will choose ONE of the following to read and present to the group

  1. Black, S. Laughing to Death. Joking as support amid stigma for Zulu-speaking South Africans living with HIV.
  2. Garcia-Sanchez, I. Language socialization and exclusion (Moroccan immigrant children in Spain).
  3. Conley, R. Living with the decision that someone will die: Linguistic distance and empathy in jurors' death penalty decisions
  4. Hsiao, Chi-hua. Performing New Moralities: Subtitle Groups as Cultural Translators in China. (Successful NSF grant proposal).
  5. Loyd, Heather. The Logic of Conflict: Practices of Social Control among Inner City Neapolitan Girls.
  6. Corwin, Anna. Lord Hear Our Prayer: Prayer, Social Support, and Well-being in a Catholic Convent.
  7. Heath, S.B. What No Bedtime Story Means: Narrative Skills at Home and at School
  8. Soloman, 0. Language, Autism and Childhood. An ethnographic perspective.
  9. Schieffelin, B. Teasing and shaming in in Kaluli children's interactions
  10. Philips, S. Participant structures and communicative competence: Warm Springs children in community and classroom.
  11. Basso, K. To Give Up on Words: Silence in Western Apache Culture
  12. Kulick, D. Anger, gender, language shift and the politics of revelation in a Papua New Guinean village.
  13. Goodwin and Goodwin. Emotion within Situated Activity.
  14. Ochs & Taylor. The "Father Knows Best" dynamic in dinnertime narratives.
  15. Keisling, S. Power and the Language of Men.
  16. Morgan, M. No Woman No Cry. Claiming African American Women's Place.

February 4 ****Students need to have gained access to their fieldsites*****

Duranti Ch. 2 "Methods as Forms of Life"

Assignment due

1. Write 2 paragraphs describing how you gained access at your fieldsite. Write 1 paragraph with ideas about which aspects of the cultural community you would like to analyze.


February 9 Shane Ch. 5 % "STOP: Safety And Sanity In The Field"

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Loyd, H. Growing up Fast. Ch. 3, 'Entering the Field and Methodology.'

Assignment due:

• Gather three scholarly sources related to your field site or subculture and briefly summarize the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or two sentences explaining how this work may illuminate your topic. You are not expected to have read each source in full by this date, but read as much as possible in order to determine if it could be helpful to use as a resource for your ethnographic analysis. Investigating the broader context of a subculture or field site enables one to start gaining a better understanding of how communication may work within that community. This exercise also helps one to start thinking about ways of testing and creating theories related to the subculture one is studying. Type up the annotated bibliography and bring it to class.

February 11 ******atjend: Panel: Careers in Translation and Interpretation (7:00pm, Doty Tower Room)******

Shane Ch. 6 "Ethnographic Data Collection Methods"

Agar, M. The Professional Stranger. 'Getting Started,' Pg. 21-39


February 16 -Bernard, H. Russell. 2006. "Participant Observation". In Research Methods in

Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, pp.342-386.

Assignment due

  1. Write 250-300 words about how you entered the community you are studying and reflect on the consequences of the choices you made in entering in the way that you did.
  2. After visiting and observing your field site for about 2 hours (this may vary depending on community), write 2-3 pages of single-spaced typed notes describing in detail your field site, participants, and activities within it. List any initial patterns of behavior that you see.

February 18 Galman Ch. 7 "Dealing With And Analyzing The Data" pp. 79-84 only

Duranti, Alessandro. 1997. Linguistic Anthropology, pp. 99-102,113-116.

Also recommended:

  • Bernard, H. Russell. 2006. "Field notes: How to Take, Code, and Manage Them." In Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, pp. 387-412
  • Agar, M. The Professional Stranger. 'Who are you to do this?' pg. 41-62

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Week 6

February 23


  • Duranti Ch. 3 "Hierarchies in the Making: Space, Time, and Speaking in a Fono"
  • Loyd, H. Growing up Fast. Ch 2, "The Social Geography of the Quartieri Spagnoli" (26-30, 47-95)

Assignment due:

  • Observe an activity in your field site (between 30 minutes to an hour), taking detailed notes. Try to choose an activity that enables you to see the start and finish of it. Write your notes and impressions as a field journal entry and bring to class. Practice coding the notes using codes that you find relevant to your site.
  • Type 250- 500 words describing the activity, any patterns you see in language or behavior, and their possible cultural meanings. Bring to class.

Also recommended

Ochs, E., Graesch, A., Mittmann, Bradbury, R., & Repetti, R. 2006. Video Ethnography and Ethnoarchaeological Tracking. In The Work and Family Handbook: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives and Approaches, ed. by Pitt- Catsouplhes, Kossek, E., & Sweet, S. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 387- 40.


  • Pink, S. Doing Visual Ethnography. Ch. 1 (The Visual in Ethnography)
  • Pink, S. Doing Visual Ethnography. Ch. 2 (Planning and practicing 'Visual Methods': Appropriate Uses and Ethical issues)
  • Collier, John Jr. and Malcolm Collier. 1986. "Shooting Guide for a Photographic Survey" in Visual Anthropology: Photography as a Research Method. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp. 41-42.


-Pink, S. Doing Visual Ethnography. Ch. 4 Video in Ethnographic Research, (pp 11-26 only)

-Duranti, Alessandro. 1997. Linguistic Anthropology, pp. 116-118

Shooting and Editing Techniques and Tutorials

  • iMovie Project Book. A primer on shooting video
  • iMovie: The Missing Manual
  • Online tutorials for iMovie editing
  • Shut Up and Shoot guide

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Assignment due

  1. Use photography to document activity-relevant spatial environments in relation to how they are used. Select 5 digital photos to show and discuss in class.
  2. Use photography to document material objects at your field site. Select 5 digital photos to show and discuss in class.
  3. Use photography to document activities and/or participants in the midst of interactions and activities at your field site. Select 5 digital photos to show and discuss in class.
  4. Create a Powerpoint, Keynote or Google Docs presentation, labeling each section. You may include captions if you would like.

March 4 Barbasch, I. and L. Taylor. Cross-Cultural Film-Making. "Picture" 95-123 (Shooting



March 9 Duranti, Alessandro. Linguistic Anthropology, pg. 102-110.

Agar, M. The Professional Stranger. Beginning Fieldwork. Pg. 83-111

Assignment due

  1. Film establishing shots, pans, tilts, wide shots, close-ups, zooms, tracking shots, two-person and one-person shots, plus a short relevant activity from two different angles to probe how the position of the camera and microphone makes different phenomena salient.
  2. Tour the field site with at least one participant narrating activities, objects and space to achieve a better understanding of the social and material worlds that participants inhabit (either you or your participant can hold the camera while participant gives the tour)
  3. Review your clips, select and label 2 brief establishing shots, pans, tilts, wide shots, close-ups, zooms, tracking shots, two-person and one-person shots and 30 seconds each from the two different angles in which you filmed an activity. Edit 1- 2 minutes from the tour that is most relevant to your project. Show and discuss clips in class. Total footage should be less than 5 minutes.

March 11 Learning How to Ask "Introduction," "The Setting: Mexicano society and

Cordova, New Mexico," "Interview techniques vis-a-vis native

metacommunicative repertoires" (pp 1-38)

March 17,19 - No classes - SPRING BREAK


March 23 Learning How to Ask "The acquisition of metacommunicative competence,"

"Listen before you leap" (pp 39-93)

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Assignment due:

Prepare a limited set of questions or themes for an interview that explore some dimension of a participant's life in relation to the social group and research questions you are studying.

March 25 Learning How to Ask "Conclusion" (pp 112-126)


March 30 -Pink, S. Doing Visual Ethnography. Video in Ethnographic Representation, pg. 168-190

-Rollwagen, J. Anthropological Filmmaking The Role of Anthropological Theory in "Ethnographic" Filmmaking. Pg. 287 - 309

Assignment due:

  1. Video or audio record your interview
  2. Transcribe brief segments of the interview that reveal significant reflections.
    1. Create a Word file highlighting the relevance of these reflections along with the corresponding brief transcript segments.

April 1             Freudenthal, S. Anthropological Filmmaking. What to Tell and How to Show It:

Issues in Antrhopological Filmmaking. Pg 123-134


April 6             -Ochs, Elinor. 1979. "Transcription as Theory" in Developmental pragmatics, ed.

by E. Ochs & B. Schieffelin. New York: Academic Press, pp. 43-72.

-Duranti, Alessandro. 1997. Linguistic Anthropology, pp. 122-161.

Assignment due

"A day in the life" anthropological film rough cut due. Assignment will be discussed further as due date approaches.

April 8            -Schegloff, Emanuel. 2007. "Conversation-analytic transcript symbols" in

Sequence Organization in Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.265-269

Also recommended:

-Bucholtz, Mary. 1999. "The politics of transcription" in Journal of Pragmatics, 32 (2000) 1439-1465.


April 13 Galman Ch. 7 "Dealing With And Analyzing The Data" pp. 85-96 (only) Duranti Ch. 5 "The Grammar of Agency in Political Discourse"

Field Methods - Spring 2015

Assignment due:

  1. Using Word transcribe about 3 minutes of verbal and non-verbal interaction of an activity according to CA conventions. You may choose to transcribe several smaller clips of a particular linguistic feature that is repeated over the interaction(s) (e.g. greetings, directives, gossip, etc.)
  2. Select 2-3 key framegrabs from the video segment and incorporate them into your transcript.
  3. Print a hard copy and bring it into class to discuss.
    1. Using Inqscribe, subtitle 1 minute of the sequence. Export and bring the subtitled clip to class.
    2. Bring to class a list of 3Jinguistic features that are salient in your participants' interactions, in other words, communicative practices that make up the "Grammar of (your subculture)". Give the class examples.

April 15 Ochs, E. Constructing Panic, pgs. 1-76 and 134 -172


April 20 Fife, W. Doing Fieldwork. 'Creating and Testing Theory' pg. 139-147

Assignment due:

Analyze the 'Grammar of (Subculture)' to describe both the verbal and non-verbal communicative resources people use on a day-to-day basis to actively construct their worlds.

(a)  Choose three themes. For example:

Language/Practices of aggression and intensity Language/Practices of support and encouragement Language/Practices of hierarchy

(b)  Under each of these three subthemes, break it down even further into 2-3 communicative practices that make up this grammar

(c)  You must give an example of each communicative practice that was displayed in natural interaction in your footage/audiorecordings. TRANSCRIBE the talk and non­verbal communication that exemplifies your point using CA conventions.

(d)   Include framegrabs if they help prove your point (and if it is a non-verbal communicative practice, then you must include the framegrab). Try to transcribe the talk surrounding the non-verbal practice.

(e)  Set up each linguistic practice with a sentence or two that tells us how each linguistic/non-verbal practice relates to the larger subtheme and your project.

(f) Analyze the interactions, explaining each phenomenon by referring to line numbers in the transcript

April 22 From Grammar to Politics Ch. 6 "From Political Arenas to Everyday Settings"

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April 27 -Shane Ch. 8 "Writing up your results"

--Geertz, Clifford. 1973. "Thick Description." The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, pp. 4-30.

  1. Prepare a bibliography of 10 references relevant to your analysis.
  2. In 750 -1000 words, situate the linguistic practices you are seeking to understand in terms of the broader socio-cultural structures, ideologies, processes, theories, etc. Use this assignment to talk more about the themes that you have set up in your linguistic analysis, and then go deeper and broader, linking people's everyday words and practices to larger theories that you have either created or have read in the literature that you have already talked about or in the literature that you still need to find.

April 29 From Grammar to Politics Ch. 7 "Conclusions"

Week 15

May 4             Workshop to prepare final projects

DUE: Final papers

Final presentation assignment:

Using KeyNote/PowerPoint, Inqscribe, and Final Cut Pro/iMovie assemble a 10-minute visual presentation that introduces your field site and analysis. The presentation should draw from and display participant observation insights, photographs, maps, tracking data, interviews, establishing and pan shots, subtitled video footage, transcripts and frame grabs.

SHOWTIME! Presentations of final projects: Tuesday, May 12,12:00-3:00 am, Bailey 110. The final exam period will be devoted to final presentations of fieldwork. Presentations will be will be 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes of discussion.

Field Methods - Spring 2015