One of the major ways that the Urban Ethnography Lab seeks to foster training in the ethnographic method is not only through learning about the method, as seen in the coursework sequence, but also in learning how to write manuscripts, fellowship applications, and proposals based on ethnographic research. The Brown Bag Workshop series, with meetings held once or twice each month during the academic year, is the central way we work to accomplish this objective.
The following are the UEL’s Workshop Guidelines:
- The purpose of the workshop is to improve a piece of research. A good comment doesn’t just point out a weakness but also suggests what should be done to make it better (offering constructive criticism).
- Within the workshop everyone is treated as an equal. First names are used by everyone for everyone. Everyone is an author and a critic. No specialized knowledge on a given topic is required to participate.
- Regular attendance is encouraged to facilitate a dynamic exchange of ideas and foster a stronger academic community.
- Written papers (up to 8,000 words) will be distributed one week prior to each session. Papers intended for publication or funding proposals are acceptable. Authors can include a paragraph or two contextualizing the research and its intended audience.
- Those in attendance are expected to have read the paper in advance in order to offer comments to the author. Those who haven’t read are still welcome to attend but are asked to withhold comments as much as possible.
- During the workshop, the author will be allowed to make 1-2 minutes of introductory remarks, sometimes this will be followed by no more five minutes of comments by a pre-assigned discussant (preferably another graduate student) who will open the conversation.
- When organized as such, the author will then be given time to respond to the discussant’s comments, and then the floor will be open for other comments and questions, which the discussant can help moderate.
- Members attract the attention of the leader by raising their hand (one finger question). The moderator keeps a queue of names and calls on them in the order in which they have been seen. It’s okay for an individual to raise several separate questions at once. Another kind of intervention is a two-finger question, which must be directly related to point under discussion and 30 seconds or less. Asking a two-finger question does not change your position in the regular queue.
- Written comments are encouraged to help the author not have to worry about taking detailed notes while also responding to each question or comment. (Some authors may choose to tape record the session to help with this.)
- The tone of the discussion is expected to be courteous, friendly, respectful, and aimed at helping the author improve her or his work.
- Each session will last a maximum of 90 minutes.Adapted from Chuck Tilly’s Rules of Etiquette.