Phenomenal Women

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 Your first task is to choose an appropriate topic, hereafter referred to as the subject of your study. This is your Phenomenal Woman, your subject. To begin your exploration, you will conduct preliminary research. This is the process of gathering background information about the woman you have chosen to learn and write about. You can choose a woman you know as your subject, or you can research a famous (or infamous!) woman from history or modern times. In either case, you will submit a Works Cited with your essay, consisting of three sources, including at least one connection to course material. Design: Use the information you have acquired through your preliminary research, as well as the knowledge and methods you have studied in this course, to design an ethnographic research project. Your ethnography can include interviews, surveys, focus groups, online interaction, and /or participant observation. The idea here is that you have learned enough through your preliminary research that you are able to identify challenges and pose relevant questions, relating to your subject and to women’s studies. You will conduct ethnographic research to acquire rich understanding and ideas for addressing the problems/ challenges you have identified. Ethnographic Research: The fun part! This is where you implement your ideas… Use the explanation provided in the Ethnography Pre-Reading to design an ethnographic portion to your research. How can you connect issues that relate to your subject to ground-level lived experience, and how can you tap into this experience through participant-observation? I encourage you to be brave and creative in your ethnographic methods- no one has ever made a ground breaking discovery by working within established parameters, so go ahead and push the boundaries. This being said, be sure that you are staying safe, and that you are treating your subject[s] with respect at all times. The ideal research project will be creative, exciting, and legal! Reflection: Before, during, and after completing preliminary and ethnographic research, students are asked to consider how the subject of their study fits into the larger scenario of challenges faced by women, and the cultural webs (following Geertz- Culture as Webs of Meaning, see course material) we inhabit… Helpful hints: · Your most important research tool is your open, engaged mind. · Focus on specifics and particulars rather than generalizations. Generalizations can lead to stereotypes and are to be avoided. Stereotypes are limiting and inherently false. The challenge is to use your case study to explore cultural diversity, and particular issues related to your case, without using generalizations or stereotypes. · This assignment is designed to provide you with an introductory experience of Cultural Anthropological research methods, applied to Women’s Studies. Get into it. Use the methods (Week 2 reading assignment), and experience something new. · This assignment provides students with an opportunity to engage creatively with course material, and explore a particular topic within our field in profound depth. · You may be surprised by what you learn. Do not be surprised if you are surprised by what you discover J – ethnography often uncovers the unexpected. These hints will hopefully help you with the reflective process. You can find more ideas in course reading assignments. Let yourself be inspired…

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