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Doing Ethnography (February intake)


Admission requirements

Only students who are admitted to the master’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology can take part in this course.


This course aims to prepare the MA student for the complexities of fieldwork, with a special attention to the fieldwork to be conducted for the MA thesis.
General lectures will deal with topics such as ethics, fieldwork identities, reflexivity and fieldwork notes, health care, sensorial fieldwork, and academic “savoir faire” needed to write a good research proposal.

Each of these lectures will be followed by small group discussions in which students, by means of ethnographic exercises, will link literature and in-class discussions to their personal fieldwork topics. Specific attention will be paid to formulating central research questions, operationalisation, methodology and organization of each student’s fieldwork topic.

The main aim is to help students in framing the student’s personal research interests, skills, and possibilities, and to help her or him to discuss these aspects with their individual thesis supervisors, under whose supervision the research proposal, too, will be written.


  • 2 February – 17 March, 2011. Wednesdays 13-16 h and Thursdays 11-13 h

  • Location: Pieter de la Court Building (Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden)
    room SA07 on Wednesdays and room 3B50 on Thursdays

Mode of instruction

Total: 5 ECTS = 140 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures ( 7 × 3 h = 31,5 sbu)

  • tutorials ( 7 × 2 h = 28 sbu)

  • weekly assignments, each about 600 words in length using literature and ethnographic exercises. (80 sbu)

Assesment method

Examination of the course will take place by weekly written assignments that connect the literature to the individual’s research plans, thus giving ample space for reflection on possibilities and impossibilities, on expectations and worries, on do’s and don’ts. The assignments will each week be discussed in the work group sessions. Only one assignment may be graded as insufficient.

Presence is obligatory from the start of the course. Students who are not present at the first lecture will not be allowed to participate in this course.


Blackboard will be used to make information and assignments available. Blackboard module for this course wil be availavle for registration from mid January 2011.

Reading list

  • Robben, Antonius C.G.M. and Jeffrey A. Sluka, eds. (2007) Etnographic Fieldwork: An Anthropological Reader. Malden, MA, Blackwell.
    (a selection will be read, chapters will be indicated for each meeting.)
    The book is available at bookshop “Atleest”, Kort Rapenburg 12a, Leiden. This book is also used for the course Large Issues, Small Places.

  • Additionally, a selection of recent and relevant journal articles is electronically available through the university library.


Students are required to register for this course on Blackboard but do not need to register on uSis. See also Admission requirements above.


Dr. Marianne Maeckelbergh: room 3A27, tel. 071-527 3433, e-mail: