Transformative Ethnography

Transformative Ethnography is a method of increasing cross cultural literacy by doing anthropological fieldwork. Student practitioners learn to integrate into a foreign culture by practicing music or art. By learning to embody rhythms, melodies, aesthetics and more, students learn the culture's values, gender roles, and other social categories.


Through everyday practices in food, art, music, or even walking, among other specialized skills, the practitioner increases sensitivity to foreign habitus, and slowly learns to embody them. In the process, we become part of a holistic experiment in the art of de-constructing, questioning, and re- constructing our habitual patterns of thinking and acting as multicultural beings.


I designed and developed this method over my twenty years of fieldwork experiences in Brazil, West Africa, and beyond. This methodology draws on sensory, contemplative, imaginative, and reflexive practices in the field of anthropology.

You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

--Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

© 2017

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