Ethnographic Portrait

Welcome to English 110 of the Fall Semester!

As a final assignment, students will work in groups to produce an ethnographic portrait.

Throughout the development of American society, culture norms have been created to keep a structured system of race, gender and class among people. In specific, examples of the experience that immigrants undergo after migrating to the United States emphasizes societal pressure on everyone besides Americans to conform and categorize themselves into any American norm but their own. In order to be considered American, immigrants are expected to fit society’s standards.

In this project, students are provided with the opportunity to interview, research, and collaboratively work on a first-hand experience of an immigrant who underwent various amount of cultural hardships when arriving to the United States. Students will be speaking out for immigrants who are minorities in the United States facing institutional racism and the cultural construction of gender as they attempt to obtain the American dream.

The following articles will be provided for students to go through:

“Gender Stereotypes And The Relationship Between Masculinity And Femininity: A Developmental Analysis” by Monica Biernat.

AND

“Immigrant West Indian Families And Their Struggles With Racism In America” by Dadrene Hine-St. Hilaire

Students will work in groups of 3 to complete the assignment. Both at home and in class, students will be conducting the interviews, research on databases, and writing an ethnographic portrait on someone who is an immigrant after the age of 10.

In order to assure that students succeed on this assignment, I will already have graduate students who have agreed to be interviewed on their immigrant experience.

The assignment will be evaluated not on the content of the final project (every story matters!), but the way information was collected and worked on throughout the group. Collaboration is a must for an individual passing grade.

Good luck everyone!

4 thoughts on “Ethnographic Portrait”

  1. Hi Juliana. I really loved the idea of this. First off you used the idea of having students work in groups, which is good. It also relates to our class considering our most recent project. I liked the idea of an “ethnographic portrait”. The idea of meeting immigrants who had to change their own norms in order to fit in and follow American norms. You presented a good idea that students would “…collaboratively work on a first-hand experience of an immigrant who underwent various amount of cultural hardships when arriving to the United States. Students will be speaking out for immigrants who are minorities in the United States facing institutional racism and the cultural construction of gender as they attempt to obtain the American dream”. Students would have hands on experience talking to someone who faced a situation in which they had to change their lifestyle to complete their dreams or fit into society. This kind of project will have everyone involved and interested into someone’s past. Also I liked that you had a few graduate students ready to help the students. That would be helpful to the students as they would feel relieved of finding who to interview. You have new people who the students do not know. Another reason why that is good is because students wouldn’t go running to a known person to interview them. Instead they have someone unknown to ask. Last thing I would like to mention is the way you said you would grade everyone. Everyone would have to collaborate and work together which is the main factor of the project. That is an essential part of the project and the idea of active learning. Overall very creative task!

  2. Juliana, you seemed like a real teacher with this assignment. I think this is an assignment that teachers should consider implementing on college courses such as college writing and courses about history of immigration. Having this project done in a group is definitely a plus, because, based on the interview, each member can interpret their own conclusion, and this leads to a more thoughtful essay. I also liked the introduction you gave to the assignment and the last paragraph about how the assignment will be evaluated; those paragraphs can lead the student through the right direction, and give students a clear idea of what they need to focus on.
    Great post!

  3. This was a well thought out assignment. I’ve always found stories of immigration to be good stories to hear because both sides of my family immigrated to the U.S. within the last 80-30 years, from two different places. For this reason I know I would take an assignment like this seriously. You also addressed every facet of this project thoroughly, showing your students what they had to do to complete it, and providing some resources for them to work off of.

  4. Hi Juliana. Very interesting assignment. I believe learning about the hardships and pains immigrants went through is vital for students to understand the past. There is no better way of learning this than actually getting a first-hand look at the experiences they went through. This is a very well thought out assignment that engages the students with the material. It is especially appealing to those who come from immigrant families. This is a great way for those students to learn about their ancestry.

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