Topics in Chicano Studies – “Chicana/o Ethnography: Mapping Ethnographic Writing From Greater Mexico to the Mexico/US Borderlands”
CHICANO 180 001 | CCN: 21337
W 4:00 - 6:59 pm 118 Barrows
Ethnographic writing and data collection, the tools for describing the every day in order to understand a broader social and cultural phenomenon, has traditionally been used in such fields as anthropology to map “exotic” and “foreign” cultures. In this regard, it has furthered imperial/colonial enterprises of conquest and dispossession as well as privileging colonial knowledge and representation on particular racialized ethnic groups. On the other hand, the insurgent projects of Ethnic Studies and Chicana/o Studies during the 1960s/1970s questioned the ethnographic authority of anthropologists and sociologists in the United States and abroad. They made the case that Anglo/white social scientists misinterpreted the daily lives of “people of color”, in order to further claims of a “Culture of poverty.” As a result, the emergence of Chicana/o and US “Third World” social scientists re-evaluating the use of ethnographies to explain cultural production has opened the necessary spaces for communities of color to critique and demand accountability from researchers when conducting research in communities of color. This course will introduce students to contemporary ethnographic works produced by Chicanas/os. We will look at how Chicana/o Studies uses ethnography as a way to describe the everyday lives and experiences of Chicana/o and Latina/o communities in the United States and across different borders. We will focus on what makes Chicana/o ethnography unique to other forms of ethnographic writings. What methodological tools are used by Chicana/o ethnographers? What are the politics in conducting ethnographic research? And, where do Chicana/o ethnographers position themselves as researchers and as active observing participants? The course will not only map a genealogy of Chicana/o ethnography but also read contemporary ethnographies on such topics as Trans-border social movements, community formation, the US/Mexico Borderlands, Labor and Migration, racism and racialization, folklore, and Chicana/o cultural production.