REL 5195: Religion and Fieldwork (Fall 2016)
Religion and Fieldwork/Fall 2016
Religious Studies 5195 Section 08B6 (4936 Section 03E1/)
Instructor: Dr. A. Whitney Sanford Office: 107 Anderson Hall
T 4 (10:40-11:30) /R4-5 (10:40-12:35) (AND 0013) Office hours: T11:30-1:30; R 9:30-10-30
Many scholars in religious studies conduct fieldwork and ethnographic research to explore religious traditions and cultures. Fieldwork in Religious Studies includes ethnographic methods such as participant-observation, conducting surveys, gathering ephemera, and visiting archives. Combining classroom based learning with supervised field research, this class will introduce students to the theoretical and practical issues of religion and fieldwork and will focus on the “nuts and bolts” of fieldwork. Over the semester, students will discuss and practice a variety of methods, including participant-observation and interviews, and will explore the role of emerging communications technologies in the fieldwork process. Students will also learn about different modes of presenting research, written and digital.
This fall, students in this class will contribute to the “River of Life, River of Dreams: Springs, Fish Camps, and Old Florida Environmentalism along the St. Johns River” exhibit to be held at the Matheson History Museum. This exhibit is an historical and ethnographic study of the St Johns River and its riverine cultures. This project offers opportunities to learn and practice skills in ethnographic fieldwork; digital humanities; public humanities; and exhibit design. In particular, students will learn how to map their projects and how to design an exhibit on the Omega platform. We will dedicate sufficient class time to adapting methods and skills to students’ own research areas.