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Category Archives: Ethnography

Are Ethnographies Novels?

One of my class assignments is to ask students to provide a short review of chapters in the ethnographies they read. Students are to include the following in the reviews: 1) a concise summary of the chapter; 2) a point or two noting the relevance of the chapter to the course and/or anthropology in general; […]

Canadian Ethnographies About Non-indigenous People?

My request for help finding an ethnography to teach in a First Nations of British Columbia anthropology class has generated more than a dozen comments on the blog, via email and through facebook. Since I wasn’t entirely clear that I was looking for an ethnography of an indigenous group or community — but the list […]

I’m Looking for Suggestions for BC Ethnographies

It’s that time early in the semester when I am required to submit my book requests for next semester. I will be teaching a first year course called British Columbia Native Cultures during the Winter of 2011. For years, I have required that students read Hugh Brody’s Maps and Dreams: Indians and the British Columbia […]

Good Examples of Bad Ethnographic Experiences?

A student asked me recently for examples of ethnographies in which the anthropologist ‘had a bad time’. He observed that in all of the anthropological writings he has read, the anthropologists generally present themselves and their experiences positively. I was stumped. The ethnography for the course, a survey of Canada’s first peoples, is Robert Jarvenpa’s […]

My Wireless Lifestyle

Advertizements for retailer Digital Communications on the Team 1040 radio in Vancouver say their cellphones and other wireless products are perfect for my ‘wireless lifestyle.’ What is a wireless lifestyle? If I have wireless internet in my house and a cell phone, do I live a wireless lifestyle? Ethnographers, please … weigh in … Further […]

Ethnographic Project About UBC Golf Course Conflict

Charles Menzies (Forests & Oceans for the Future; UBC Anthropology Dept) posts his research proposal for an ethnographic investigation of the social construction of place at the UBC Golf Course. His focus is on how non-natives construct their attachment to the Golf Course and Pacific Spirit Park. The golf course is the site of a […]

Nokia Cell Phone Researcher on TED

A presentation by Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase is now available on His talk is about cell phones and how to design the cell phones of the future. He asks why, regardless of culture, do people usually carry with them keys, money, and a cellphone. Some of Chipchase’s anecdotes come from observing cell phone users […]

The Ethnography of Chewing Gum Chewers?

Fast Company magazine, famous for its early coverage of corporate anthropology*, has a short piece this month (subscription may be required) on the research that went into Wrigley’s new gum ‘5’. The descriptions of the participant-observation research are fantastic: The development of 5 came out of a management edict to make a splash among image-conscious […]

New Book by Robin and Jillian Ridington

A new book has been written by Robin Ridington and Jillian Ridington about their fieldwork among the Dunne-za Athapaskans of northeastern British Columbia. Titled ‘When you Sing It Now, Just Like New: First Nations Poetics, Voices, and Representations, the book is something of a career retrospective. It complements Robin Ridington’s earlier monographs, Trail to Heaven […]

Anthropology at Intel

I’m sure this article from PC Magazine is making the rounds through the blogosphere. It is a new account, however, of the use of ethnographic research techniques by Intel and other technology companies. Here’s what Intel says they do: Intel’s anthropological researchers immerse themselves in the “natural environments of real people” – including hospitals, elder […]