GWSS 490 B: Special Topics in Women Studies

Feminist Ethnographic Studio

GWSS 490 Ethnographic Studio
Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
THO 202
Sasha Su-Ling Welland

Syllabus Description:

GWSS 490 B: Special Topics Course
Autumn 2019
T/Th 10:30 am -12:20 pm
Thomson Hall 202

Instructor: Professor Sasha Welland 
Office: Padelford Hall B-110P
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:00-3:00 pm
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You can sign up for my office hours here.
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Anqi Peng, ChinaTongue, video installation, 2016, previous student project

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, cultural aesthetics and ethnographic representation. Guiding students in research-creation, in which art practices are research methods, the studio centers critical feminist praxis in knowledge production.

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 or planned 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 the instructor only. Please submit inquiries or project proposals to the instructor at Applications (500 words or less) should describe the ethnographic research already completed, underway, or planned 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. Participants will be admitted based on the level of preparation and thought demonstrated in their proposals. 


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

Required Course Text
The following book is required and has been ordered for purchase through the University Book Store. It has 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.

  • D. Soyini Madison, Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance (2nd edition), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2012. (NB: I ordered the 2nd edition because I thought there would be more used copies and therefore cheaper than the new 3rd edition. While the book has been updated several times, any copy you can find should be fine.)

Suggested Course Text

Course Reserves

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: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:05pm