Cultural Anthropology Fieldwork

Cultural Anthropology 2019

In my Cultural Anthropology 2018-2019 course, I adopted a package of books by Kenneth J. Guest, emphasizing cultural anthropology fieldwork:

This page is a rough version of the course outline for Cultural Anthropology 2019, highlighting our focus on cultural anthropology fieldwork. The pages preserve student comments from Cultural Anthropology 2018.

For an update, here is a YouTube Lecture Playlist from Cultural Anthropology 2023:

I will be updating a version of this course as Cultural Anthropology Toolkit 2024.

Part 1: The Culture Toolkit

Humanity / Nationality


  • Edith Turner, “There are No Peripheries to Humanity”
  • Lucas Bessire, from Behold the Black Caiman


  • Nancy Scheper-Hughes, “Mind(ing) the Body: On the Trail of Organ-Stealing Rumors”
  • Keisha-Khan Perry, “‘If We Didn’t Have Water’: Black Women’s Struggle for Urban Land Rights in Brazil”



  • Chapter 3, “Fieldwork and Ethnography”
  • Fieldwork: “Mapping a Block”

Chapter 4, “Language”

Laura Bohannan, “Shakespeare in the Bush”

  • Barbara Myerhoff, excerpt from Number Our Days

Part 2: Considering History & Power

Becoming White

  • Chapter 5, “Race and Racism”
  • Karen Brodkin, “How Did Jews Become White Folks?”
  • Fieldwork: “Initiating a Classroom Conversation about Race”

Stupid Deaths

  • Paul Farmer, “‘Landmine Boy’ and Stupid Deaths”


Audra Simpson, from Mohawk Interruptus

Part 3: Making Sense of Change

Jonathan Rosa and Yarimar Bonilla, “Deprovincializing Trump, decolonizing diversity, and unsettling anthropology”

Chapter 8, “Sexuality”

Deborah Gould, “Life During Wartime”

Gillian Tett, from Fool’s Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan (281-285)

Philippe Bourgois, “From Jíbaro to Crack Dealer” (238-249)

Chapter 12, “Politics and Power”

Margaret Mead, “Warfare is Only an Invention”

Chapter 13, “Religion”

George Gmelch, “Baseball Magic”

Daromir Rudnyckyj, “From Wall Street to Halal Street”

Kenneth J. Guest, “Fuzhounese Chinese Undocumented Workers”

Related: Cultural Anthropology Fieldwork

This course is part of a series of Cultural Anthropology courses that have evolved over time. Here is the 2023 YouTube lecture playlist:

Other versions of Cultural Anthropology include:

Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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