I have spent the last few days preparing course syllabi for the fall semester and I was thought-experimenting about ways I can possibly incorporate blogs and other online technologies into the classroom.
Then I remembered that a few weeks ago over at Fieldnotes, Tad McIlwraith had wonderful things to say about Aaron Fox’s new ethnography Real Country: Music and Language in Working Class Culture (and also reported by Lorenz over at anthropologi). So I went over there to take a quick look.
Fox’s ethnography, which is a study of how country music expresses Texan working-class identity in a particular local community, is of interest to me because it is related to my dissertation topic: his treatment of class culture has made me think about a chapter of mine that deals with mineworkers in 1950s & 60s Japan who were into writing haiku poetry.
Yet besides his rich ethnography, I was also struck by Fox’s decision to “extend” his book into cyberspace. At his website for Real Country, he has all kinds of materials — interview transcripts, some real stellar photographs, audio files, and even a video clip — pretty much everything short of reproducing the book itself. I had so much fun going through his multimedia files, and I can see how students would too. It looks like he has not uploaded all the materials he has, but the site is very organized and easy to use.
What’s even more impressive is that Fox has begun a blog devoted to discussing the book with his readers. He wants the site to be a place “where students can interact with [him] and ask questions about the book.” Sure enough, there have already been a few students reading the book for class who have logged on and chatted with the author. Some of the discussions have been really enlightening. For example, when he was asked about his photographs, he talked about his passion for “working class documentary photography.”
So I am wondering if any of you august readers and bloggers of Savage Minds know of other online presentations of ethnographic materials? Or a list of ethnographic blogs already out there? Or better yet, your experience with such blogs in the classroom?
Thanks! I promise I’ll return the favor by compiling them into a list and posting it here.