The Latest & Greatest in Ethnography: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

From today's Book World in The Washington Post:  Thank you, Matthew Desmond. Thank you for writing about destitution in America with astonishing specificity yet without voyeurism or judgment. Thank you for showing it is possible to compose spare, beautiful prose about a complicated policy problem. Thank you for giving flesh and life to our squabbles …

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Arlington Community Gardens

Last weekend I began fieldwork for the Summer 2016 Field School. I'm back along the Columbia Pike, this time studying community gardens along Four Mile Run and Douglas Park. The project stretches me in new and exciting ways. I'm an avid "urban farmer"--I cleared the azaleas alongside my house to create three 8X10 garden beds. …

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The Field School 2016

Today I begin the first field visit to prepare for the 2016 Field School for Cultural Documentation. I'll be working with Community Gardens in Arlington County. I grew up on a farm, so the idea of a kitchen garden makes sense to me. I tore out landscaping around my house to exploit the only sunny …

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About the Field School: How Folklife Archives Work

The Folklore Studies Program at George Mason University is one of the few programs in the U.S. the offers comprehensive instruction in ethnographic methods and data collection.  Thirty-seven years ago, my colleague, Professor Emerita Margaret Yocom founded the Northern Virginia Folklife Archive. Students have been submitting original work to the archive since. In 2011, working …

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BBC Ethnography Prize (for UK Ethnographers)

The Thinking Allowed Award for Ethnography Thinking Allowed in association with the British Sociological Association announces a new annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography: the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub-culture. Are you involved in social science research and completing or will have …

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A Historian of the Present: Alan Lomax and Me

If you're a folklorist, Alan Lomax is a legendary figure.  Unlike say, anthropology, whose great men and women who lived and worked in the 19th and early 20th centuries, in folklore many of our legends walk among us.  That's the cool thing about attending the annual American Folklore Society meetings. The "big deal" scholars are …

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