Michael saved in Pocket: ‘Audio Ethnography: Listening to Cultures & Communities’ by Catherine C. Braun


The theme of my 109.01 course in the fall of 2005 was “reading cultures and communities,” and the class was focused on ethnographic writing. The texts for the course were Sunstein and Chiseri-Strater’s Fieldworking, SoundPortraits.org, Transom.org, and NPR’s “This American Life” web site of streaming audio versions of their radio programs. The major assignment of the course was to conduct an ethnographic study of a community, with the final “report” composed as an audio essay. In addition, students turned in a portfolio of writing that comprised their ethnographic process over the quarter: all field notes, three field note analyses, a midterm progress report, a detailed plan for their final audio project, and a reflective essay.

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