Anthropology: Method and Practice in the Field

This month-long journey to Guinea with Griots can be taken as a three-credit college course within Anthropology, overlapping with Ethnomusicology and History. Students will have daily classes on methodology in the field with Lisa Feder. Several times a week we will have lectures on Manding culture, history, and values by Lisa Feder, Mamady Kouyaté, and other guests. All classes will be given or translated into English. Each student will choose to focus on and take part in one aspect of life in this culture. Topics are limited to an intensive practice of a musical instrument, history and cultural values, or cooking and food. We will explore various methods of both taking fieldnotes and of representing culture through alternative ethnographic methods including writing, photography, performance, audio, and video recording.


There will be an assigned reading least to complete prior to travel to Guinea. During the voyage students will develop a theme of study under Professor Lisa's guidance, and post-trip, students will submit a final ethnography with supplemental multi-media within one month after returning to the US or Europe.* 

The methodological approach is based on embodied, sensorial ethnography, and initial stages of transformative ethnography. Classes will include daily check-ins, self- and group-reflections on the trials and transformations of mind and body as students adjust to local life. 
For more information on Lisa's methodology, click on these links: 
Transformative Ethnography (Article on the methodology)
School for Ethnographic Sensibility (Video of students studying in Serbia on Lisa's program)
Lisa's Bio (Founder of the School for Ethnographic Sensibility)
*College credit to be arranged on a case by case basis between Lisa Feder and your college adviser, and cannot be guaranteed prior to travel. 
**Note. Life in West Africa is very different than life in The US or Europe. Students must prove a steady mental and physical capacity and a willingness to live without high standards of comfort. Some prior experience living in alternative conditions is recommended. Recommendations from professors and others are required. 

For more information

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Reading List: may include excerpts from:
  • Camara Laye "Master of the Word."
  • Thomas Hale, "Griots and Griottes"
  • Eric Charry, "Manding Music"
  • John Chernoff, "African Music and African Sensibility."
  • Banning Eyre, "In Griot Time"
  • Paul Stoller, various texts. 
  • Mamadou Diawara
  • Barbara Hoffman
  • Lucy Duran
  • Steven Feld
  • Michael Jackson
  • Sarah Pink
  • Lisa Feder