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Course Information

Instructor Info:Kristen Luschen
Office Extension x5357
Becky Miller
Office Extension x5545
TA Info:Phoebe Smolin
Office Extension x4493
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Tuesday
12:30 PM - 03:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108

This course will examine youth culture and performance. We will explore these topics through an integrated approach, focusing on the dynamics between educational, socio-cultural, and developmental perspectives. This course will emphasize field methodology, requiring students to conduct an independent, ethnographic project that researches some aspect of youth and performance. Readings will explore the intersections of scholarship across identity, popular culture, music, youth studies, educational studies, and ethnography. Designed for Division II or first semester Division III students, this seminar will encourage the exchange of ideas, writing, and research experiences among students; each will present their work several times during the semester.

Course Objectives:

This course will examine issues and ideas in child and youth studies as they pertain to performance and the creative design of culture by and for youth. In addition to readings that interrogate cultural studies, performance studies, and youth development, students will also learn field methodologies in the service of ultimately researching and writing an in-depth ethnographic study of youth and performance. Students will learn field techniques such as interviewing, observations, fieldnotes, audio recording and other skills.  In the process, students will learn about youth culture as well as how youth create their own vibrant and unique cultures.

Evaluation Criteria:

Reading Assignments:  All reading assignments are mandatory; please print out all on-line reading.  Lap tops are not allowed in the classroom unless you make prior arrangements with the instructors.

Ethnography Project: There will be weekly written assignments, some of which will reflect the reading assignments for that week, others of which will be fieldwork assignments.  Most of these assignments will become part of your final project that is an ethnography that examines some aspect of performance and youth culture in the Pioneer Valley.  Students will conduct fieldwork over the semester and the final paper will explore the production of youth culture and identity.  Students can work together in pairs at one site or alone.  The final 15-20 paper will be based on your field research as well as on reading (secondary scholarship) and the methodologies we’ve studied throughout the semester.

We assume that you will conduct as many field observations and interviews as needed to have the requisite data for your ethnography.  Students are required to hand in a total of three sets of interviews and three sets of fieldnotes that we will read and comment on. The rest will be handed in with your final portfolios at the end of the semester. 

Additional Info:

Required Texts:  All texts are available at Food For Thought Books Collective, 106 North Pleasant Street  Amherst, MA 01002; (413) 253-5432;

Galman, Sally Campbell.  Shane, The Lone Ethnographer: A Beginner's Guide to Ethnography. 2007. Lantham, MD: AltaMira Press

Olson, Karin.  Essentials of Qualitative Interviewing.  Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.  2011

All other reading is available here on the Moodle course website. You are responsible for downloading and printing out these assignments for class discussion. We also request that you not bring laptops to class unless you make prior arrangements with the instructors.