A guide for students in Anthropology
Selecting Anthropology Ethnographies
Please consult your syllabus and/or your instructor for guidelines and assistance for selecting an ethnography for your project.
- Some students prefer to visit the library to browse the Ethnography bookshelf (Shelf #11 on the 3rd Floor). Please visit our homepage to check library hours.
- From off-campus, you can browse the approved Ethnography books, from the library catalog. You will still need to visit the library to pick up your selected ethnography.
Print Ethnographies - Samples
- Nisa: the Life and Words of a !Kung Woman byCall Number: DT797.N57 S53 1983This book is the story of the life of Nisa, a member of the !Kung tribe of hunter-gatherers from southern Africa's Kalahari desert. Told in her own words--earthy, emotional, vivid--to Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist who succeeded, with Nisa's collaboration, in breaking through the immense barriers of language and culture, the story is a fascinating view of a remarkable woman.
- Himalayan Herders byCall Number: GN635.N425 B58 2002An ethnographic study of a Tibetan Mountain village and the Sherpa people in the Yolmo region of Nepal.
- The Dobe Ju/'Hoansi byCall Number: DT1058.K86 L44 2003This classic, bestselling study of the !Kung San, foragers of the Dobe area of the Kalahari Desert describes a people's reactions to the forces of modernization, detailing relatively recent changes to !Kung rituals, beliefs, social structure, marriage and kinship system.
- Lamotrek Atoll and Inter-Island Socioeconomic Ties byCall Number: DU568.L36 A5 1989This book discusses the inhabitants of many small atolls & islands of the Western Pacific. The existence, methods, & reasons for this long distance interaction are disclosed in this study of the people of Lamotrek Atoll in the Western Caroline islands of Micronesia.
- Nest in the Wind byCall Number: GN 21.W37 A3 1989This is a very personal record of field experiences of Ward who managed a scientific research project on the tropical island of Pohnpei in the early 1970s. The standard questions of ethnography: family life, sex, childbirth, economics, politics, religion, medicine, magic, & death are thoroughly examined.
- The Rashaayda Bedouin byCall Number: DT133.R37 Y68 1996This case study integrates cultural meanings with the pastoral economy in clear, non-technical language. Drawing on the Bedouin notion of habitus, the author points out connections between the cultural organization of space, the sexual division of labor, and gender identity, giving students a strong model of the kind of analysis influential in contemporary anthropology.
- Grand Valley Dani byCall Number: DU 744.35 .D32 H44 1997This case study examines an isolated tribe in Indonesia, West New Guinea, when tribe members were still using stone axes, bows, arrows and spears, up to more present times spanning 34 years (1961-1995).
- The Pueblo Indians of North America byCall Number: E99.P9 D6 1983Detailed case study/analysis of the Pueblo Indians of North America.
Online Ethnographies - Samples
Most of the ethnographies allowed for this project are not available online. Below are the only current titles available in an online (and legal) format:
- Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman byThis book is the story of the life of Nisa, a member of the !Kung tribe of hunter-gatherers from southern Africa's Kalahari desert. Told in her own words--earthy, emotional, vivid--to Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist who succeeded, with Nisa's collaboration, in breaking through the immense barriers of language and culture, the story is a fascinating view of a remarkable woman.
- Tsewa's Gift: Magic and Meaning in an Amazonian Society by"An outstanding and innovative study on hunting, gardening, and love magic among the Aguaruna. . . . [It is] both highly useful ethnographically and an important contribution to the understanding of how a primitive culture conceptualizes its transactions with nature. The book touches on cosmology and religion as well as the ethnoecology of hunting and agriculture--with an interlude on sex." --American Ethnologist
- Under the Ivi Tree byThis study concerns the differentials of economic growth among the Fijian people. It brings together relevant factors drawn from social, cultural, economic and political analysis. As a case study in economic growth, it portrays the interplay between individuals and the social and economic conditions which surround them, and demonstrates the limitations of the institutions within which they function. Controversial points of interpretation are discussed and supported with documentation gathered from field-work.
- Mehinaku:The Drama of Daily Life in a Brazilian Indian Village byThomas Gregor sees the Mehinaku Indians of central Brazil as performers of roles, engaged in an ongoing improvisational drama of community life. The layout of the village and the architecture of the houses make the community a natural theater in the round, rendering the villagers' actions highly visible and audible. Lacking privacy, the Mehinaku have become masters of stagecraft and impression management, enthusiastically publicizing their good citizenship while ingeniously covering up such embarrassments as extramarital affairs and theft.
- Where the People Sing: Green Land of the Maooris byA personal narrative of life in a Maori village during the mid 20th century.
- Argonauts of the Western Pacific. an Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea by"Argonauts of the Western Pacific," a seminal work in anthropology, has been essential reading since its publication in 1922.
- Wombs and Alien Spirits byBased on nearly two years of ethnographic fieldwork in a Muslim village in northern Sudan, Wombs and Alien Spirits explores the zâr cult, the most widely practiced traditional healing cult in Africa. Adherents of the cult are usually women with marital or fertility problems, who are possessed by spirits very different from their own proscribed roles as mothers. Through the woman, the spirit makes demands upon her husband and family and makes provocative comments on village issues, such as the increasing influence of formal Islam or encroaching Western economic domination. In accommodating the spirits, the women are able metaphorically to reformulate everyday discourse to portray consciousness of their own subordination.