Writing the moment



How do anthropologists move from a moment of field research t0 an argument in their writing? How can such moments expand into a framing mechanism for analysis?

In this section, students share their experiences of translating moments 'from their field' into a larger argument in their writing.

Anthropologists engage with the particularities of everyday life to gain insights into larger social phenomena. In our writing, the conversations, events, and actions we observe in the field are used as vignettes that encapsulate broader ways of understanding or being in the world. 

The interviews below demonstrate how students utilized moments from their fieldwork into an analysis in their senior theses. These "moments" demonstrate how anthropologists work to contextualize and frame the unruly information contained in ethnographic research.

Taking the Shot / Maryssa Barron '17

Maryssa grapples with a moment of conflict from her fieldwork in South Africa, which explored conservation, nature, and big game hunting. While working on a game ranch she describes a moment when a wildebeest was to be culled - but how should the animal be killed? This event provided her with a lens to see larger analytic questions in her work - What are the ethics of hunting? For whom? At what times?

The Sound of Typewriters + Materiality of Print / Cole Edick '17

The Boston Typewriter Orchestra was an evocative moment for Cole as he conducted ethnographic fieldwork on 'alternative' journalism in the Boston area. Cole connects this moment to a larger observation and conceptual framework that only emerged through the process of writing, specifically around the idea of materiality and history. 

Producing the Narrative / Marisa Houlahan '17

Marisa describes shadowing foreign journalists during her field research on the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh and the narratives they produced from these encounters. In her thesis, she brings a variety of otherwise disparate interlocutors into conversation with one another in compelling ethnography.


Where is
the Field?

See where senior thesis writers - past and present - have conducted fieldwork.