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GWSS 490 A: Special Topics in Women Studies

Meeting Time: 
WF 1:30pm - 3:20pm
MGH 287
Joint Sections: 
GWSS 590 D
Sasha Su-Ling Welland

Syllabus Description:

Course Description

This craft-based workshop supports advanced undergraduate and graduate students to develop ethnographic research within creative formats alternative to the predominant practice of analytic, propositional prose. It provides a collaborative environment for students to explore the relationship between ethnographic content and form, or put another way, the relationship between cultural aesthetics/poetics and ethnographic representation. As a GWSS offering, the studio centers critical feminist praxis in terms of research ethics, audience, knowledge production, and social justice.

For undergraduates, this studio course guides students in creating a capstone project, different from but possibly complementary to an honors or senior portfolio. For graduate students, it provides a way to practice or prototype modes of ethnographic inquiry and representation they want to incorporate or develop further through dissertation research.

Prerequisites & Process

In order to participate, students must have a well-defined project based on some previous ethnographic research and a preliminary proposal for the medium in which they intend to work, such as creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, photography, performance, video, audio, or some combination thereof. Previous research can include interviews, oral history, auto-ethnography, participant observation, etc. The focus of the workshop will be on sharing resources and models; iteratively producing and revising well-defined projects that can be completed within ten weeks; and providing constructive feedback to fellow participants.


In order to maintain a workshop environment, the course is limited to 15 students. Registration is by add code from instructor only. In order to apply, please submit a project proposal to Applications (500 words or less) should describe the ethnographic research already completed or underway and a proposal for how you want to develop this material, including the medium you will use and a rationale for why you have chosen it. 


For more about the history of the course, see “Ethnography Unbound: Experiments in New Scholarship.”

Course Texts

The following books are required and have been ordered for purchase through the University Book Store. They have also been requested for course reserves through the Odegaard Undergraduate Library, with a 2-hour loan period. Other required readings will be uploaded to a folder in the Canvas Files for this course.

The following suggested books have also been requested through course reserves as resources for you to consult as  you develop your projects.


The UC Collaboratory for Ethnography and Design (CoLED)
Keywords for Ethnography and Design, Cultural Anthropology
Ethnocharrette: as developed by the Center for Ethnography at the University of California, Irvine

Catalog Description: 
Exploration of specific problems and issues relevant to the study of women. Offered by visiting or resident faculty members. Primarily for upper-division and graduate students.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:06pm