Looking for a New Perspective? Enroll in SCOM 349 in Fall 2012

In Writing the New Ethnography, H.L. (Bud) Goodall  writes that “[a] good story is a good read.  It gives pleasure, enlivens the imagination, and delights the senses.  It appeals as a form of literature as well as a way of knowing.  It teaches through the manner of expression as well as through its claims about the world” (p. 195).  What do stories have to do with knowledge about communication?  Everything!

Ethnography is a word used to describe a broad set of methodologies in which researchers study and write about people and cultures, offering readers in-depth understandings of communication and relationships in specific contexts.  In this class, we will learn how to read and interpret a wide range of ethnographic works in communication studies on topics ranging from family secrecy, bullying in schools, college drinking culture, organizational dirty work, friendships across sexual orientation, and communication in the context of grief and death (and more!). In doing so, we explore how ethnographic methods and writing can assist communication practitioners in gaining insight and understanding into real-world problems, a critical step toward social change, social justice and communicative interventions.

Enroll in SCOM 349 Ethnographic Approaches to Communication Studies to learn more about what narrative has to offer the study of communication, including visual forms of ethnography. Take a sneak peak at the ethnographic film based on the work of Dwight Conquergood that we will watch on the second day of class:

Fall 2012 Course Information:

SCOM 349 Ethnographic Approaches to Communication Studies                             Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00 – 3:15 pm                                                                           Instructor: Dr. Melissa Aleman

SCOM 349 is a core requirement for Cultural Communication concentrators and minors. There are no pre-requisites for this class and it serves as a wonderful elective to students in all the concentrations in SCOM, as the ethnographies cover a range of topics across SCOM concentrations including interpersonal, conflict, organizational, health and advocacy studies.

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3 Responses to Looking for a New Perspective? Enroll in SCOM 349 in Fall 2012

  1. Melissa Vickers says:

    This was one of my favorite, most memorable, and most thought-provoking classes at JMU. It even inspired me to write a thesis (an ethnography). Highly recommended!

  2. Lawton Tufts says:

    Just wanted to echo Melissa Vicker’s comments. This was one of my favorite classes at JMU and I continue to utilize the skills I gained from it. In fact, I’m currently taking an ethnographic approach to a legal research project at William & Mary Law. I highly recommend this class, you won’t be disappointed!

  3. Jone Brunelle says:

    I agree, this class was fantastic–it’s when I first realized I was in the right major! As a creative writing minor, I appreciated the narratives we read, films we watched, and how free-flowing class discussions were. I continued to use skills from this class in the rest of my academic communication career, in my work after graduation, and to help me get into grad school. Highly recommend it.

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