Ethnography Matters

“Cultural anthropology is not valuable because it uncovers the archaic in the psychological sense. It is valuable because it is constantly rediscovering the normal.” – Edward Sapir

Participate in Ethnography Matters

There is information everywhere. How do we know who to listen to? How do we know what is real?

The media and governments around the world collect and utilize information, transforming and re-disseminating it for popular consumption. Through this process, these voices of power are the most likely to be heard.

Cultural anthropology has its disciplinary roots in illuminating the lived experiences of communities, which have historically been silenced by power structures. In a world of today, where information freely flows, can we use ethnographic methodologies for those same ends?

The ethnographic process is designed to reveal reality and support truth. Most would agree that there is an element of subjectivity in the process, but we ask if the relationship between the ethnographer and the people in the communities where they work actually reveals reality in a way in which it doesn’t exist in our newsfeeds.


Tweet your answers to the questions below @coolanthro @americananthro for a chance to win a Cool Anthropology t-shirt!

Ethnography Matters

Ethnography Matters is a project of Cool Anthropology, a collaborative organization dedicated to breaking down the closed-circuits of academic and artistic circles to bring the benefits of the anthropological perspective to a wide and public audience. We are dedicated to translating credible anthropological research into accessible forms. We work with anthropologists conducting research around the world in addition to students, multi-media artists, activists and public participants from our in-person installations and on our website at where the content and materials from this installation are available for download below at no cost.

Download “Ethnography Matters Materials” – Downloaded 3 times – 33 MB

Curriculum Guide

• Use the introductory poster to discuss the ideas behind the project- consider having participants check our Twitter feed from the first event @coolanthro #AmAnth17 to get the conversation started.

• Hang the posters around your classroom and have students write on them in the first class as an icebreaker. Consider repeating at the end of the course.

• Have students choose a poster and interview other students in the course and/or the department. Share their results with the others.

• Hold an event in the department or college and hang or place posters for “drop-by” visitors.

• Hang posters in the department lounge or common areas for a more extended period of time and then have a class or club discussion about the answers added.

• Have students answer questions directly on our website – we can send you the data!!

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Featured Content

Ethnography Matters
in a world full of press releases and fake news, contribute your perspective on why ethnographic methods are so important

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a multi-media installation offering a unique and creative opportunity for scholars and artists to translate the various stages on the road of development

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