Personal Ethnograpy Project

Personal Ethnograpy Project

This ten (10) page assignment is worth 200 points.

This exercise teaches you some of the basic principles used while conducting fieldwork in cultural anthropology. Ethnography is the work of describing a culture. Typical ethnographic research employs three kinds of data collection: interviews, observation, and documents. This produces three kinds of data: quotations, descriptions, and excerpts of documents. The result is one product: narrative description. This narrative often includes charts, diagrams and additional artifacts that help to tell the story. The goal of ethnographic inquiry is to understand another way of life and is a useful tool for understanding how other people see their experience. Rather than studying people – ethnography means learning from people. While this may not be a classic ethnographic inquiry, you will work with many of the same goals and techniques to acquire information about your personal history in order to share it with others…it will be an ethnographic inquiry of your family. This is less like writing a paper and more like making a visual scrapbook. I want to learn about you and your cultural history, so show me with visuals AND words.


1. Conduct any necessary research and gather all materials and information to complete the assignment.
2. Lay out and design each page of your document to make sure you include all the required items.
3. Remember to concentrate on conveying visual information as well as text.
4. Follow the format – piece together the pages of your project as detailed below:

page 3: family origins
– identify what part of the world your family originates from (this may be many places)
– explain when they arrived there (or here) if they came from somewhere else
– include a map showing the location of your family’s origins (be specific)

page 4: lineage chart
– include a lineage chart showing you as Ego and using anthropological symbols
(click HERE for instructions)

page 5: family identity
– include a circular family chart showing the names of your family members
(click HERE for instructions)

page 6: family & cultural traditions
– share one tradition or custom your family retains from these origins
– explain the background or context and the importance this practice has for you
– you might include an artifact or heirloom passed down through generations (if your family has one)
– don’t forget to provide a visual sample

page 7: linguistics
– identify the languages found in your home
(include all that are present, even if you don’t speak the language)
– provide written samples with translations so we can experience them

page 8: food and culture
– identify some special foods that are eaten in your family
– explain why they are important and how they fit into your life
– include a recipe for one of these dishes (preferably a family one)

page 9: celebrations and holidays
– identify a special holiday that is observed in your family
– explain how this celebration is observed in your tradition
– provide context for how and why this is important to you

– include images/visuals on every page
– use colored fonts and creative layouts
– strive to create an experience, not just a written essay
– details and effort will be considered in grading

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