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Anthropology Senior Seminar Syllabus

Anthropology 450: Senior Thesis Seminar
Fall 2010
Friday, 1:30– 4 p.m.
Gest 103
Course description:
 The senior thesis seminar is a year-long course in which you (a senior
anthropology major) design, implement, and write up an original research project.  
During the fall semester, you develop and/or refine a thesis topic, do library research, and
conduct field work.  You also write one thesis chapter (by the end of the semester).  
Anthropology 450 also includes some assignments that will help you develop skills in
ethnographic methods, library research, and thesis writing.  
Course work:
Students must attend all class meetings and participate in class discussions, do all
readings, and complete all assignments.  Students must also conduct six or more hours
per week of independent research in the library (locating scholarship related to your topic
or working with primary source materials) and/or in a field setting (ethnography).  In
addition, all departmental lectures and events are considered part of your course work
for this class.  I will make sure you hear about these events ahead of time.   
Course assignments are graded, and with the exception of the final paper, returned
during class.  At the end of the semester your grade is based on your cumulative work,
including independent research, class participation, and written assignments.
1. Preliminary Research Proposal (3-5 pages).  Due 10 Sept
2. Revised Research Proposal (5-7 pages).  Due 1 Oct  
3. Field note (variable length, but should be substantial, perhaps 4-5 pages).  Due 8 Oct
4. Thesis chapter draft (7-10 pages).  Due 5 Nov
5. Oral Research presentation and thesis timeline.  On/Due 3 Dec
6. Thesis chapter final version (15-20 pages).  Due 10 Dec
Sally Campbell Galman, 2007.  Shane, The Lone Ethnographer.  Lanham, MD:  Altamira
Press.  Available for purchase in the Haverford bookstore.
Available on Blackboard.

Schedule (subject to change):
3 Sept  (Friday):  Introduction to course, thesis.  “My thesis research” assignment (in
class).  Brief review of ethnography and anthropology—what are the key features?  
Discussion of how to begin research: sources such as the Annual Review of
Anthropology, Anthrosource, and the Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology;
comparative analysis; methods, topic, and site.   
10 Sept  (Friday):  Read Shane, The Lone Ethnographer (hereafter STLE), chapters 1-3,
and General Thesis Information, for class discussion.  Preliminary Research
Proposal due.  Your research proposal should define your field site and topic,
contextualize your work in a field of scholarship, and indicate your research
methods.  Please email a copy to Margaret Schaus (
and to me, and turn in a hard copy to me.  Use at least one appropriate review
article (such as from the Annual Review of Anthropology, or from the
Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology) and three other articles to establish the
background for your field.  Note that your classmates will read your proposal for
next week.
17 Sept  (Friday):  Meet in Cricket Library (please enter library through Cricket Library
door, the porch entrance across from Chase).  Read Research Proposals for entire
class, Knopf and McMenamin 2008, The Literature Review, and STLE chapter
four.  Come to class with written suggestions about methods and sources for your
classmates.  Bring a copy for each researcher and one for me.  Session will focus
on library research and the literature review and include a presentation by
Margaret Schaus.
24 Sept  (Friday):  Meet with Margaret Schaus, Philips Wing, Magill Library.  This is
your chance to follow up with specific questions for Margaret and do a targeted
search with her help.  Margaret will take turns working with students.   
1 Oct  (Friday):  Revised Research proposal due.  Please email a copy to Margaret
Schaus ( and turn in a hard copy to me.  Read
STLE chapter 5.5-6, Bernard 2002, Holy and Stuchlik 2006.  Discussion of
ethnographic field methods: observation, mapping, interviews, quantitative data.  
8 Oct  (Friday):  Field note due.  Read STLE chapter 7, Roth 2004, Twine 2006, Kaya
2009.  Discussion of field methods such as team work, photo elicitation, and
spatial analysis.  Organizing your data.  Outline of cultural materials and other
22 Oct  (Friday):  Read STLE chapter five, Wikan 2002, Abu-Lughod 2002, Online
Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology (chapters 1-5),  Discussion of ethics in
anthropology.  Analysis of how to dissect and article, with Jesse Berg.  Extra
“mind map” lab hour with Jesse Berg, time and location TBA.
29 Oct  (Friday):  Read STLE chapter 8-end, Churchill 2005, Salzman 2008, Bloch 1998.  
Ethnography as research and writing.
5 Nov  (Friday):  Thesis chapter draft due. Discussion of research process, data
organization, and writing.  Basics for final writing: formatting, citations, grammar.  
Read style guides ( and   
12-26 November:  Individual meetings with Maris about research.  
3 Dec (Friday):  Student presentations on projects and thesis timeline.  Planning for
continuing research over break.   
10 Dec (Friday):  Final Chapter Due.  Make sure to give a second copy to your advisor
for the spring semester.
Spring seminar:
Students meet weekly with their thesis advisers for the first half of the semester.  
You, the student, should schedule these meetings.  We will have a few large group
meetings, and your advisor may choose to have his/her advisees meet as a group.   
Dates to remember (subject to revision):
Discussion of First thesis chapter and thesis timeline with thesis advisor: 18-26 Jan
20 pages of new material:  22 Feb
Complete rough draft:  22 Mar
Final draft:  12 Apr
Oral presentations:  26-28 Apr


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