Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:How Race Affects What we Study on University of Illinois Campus
Author(s):Ritchie, Samantha
Abstract:Educating the world about people and events of the world is vital to getting people to understand and appreciate diversity. Unfortunately, many events and people of the African American tradition are left out and therefore even African Americans have a hard time identifying with who they are and what they have been through as a people beyond slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. It is my firm belief that with the proper education of African American history—including how Black culture can and has benefitted the world—African Americans will develop a sense of self-efficacy that had, until now, been lacking. In light of this, I wanted to investigate the possibility that Black folks that have been educated about themselves have been able to develop a sense of identity and would want to study more based on their growing intrigue. My reasons for doing the research that I have decided to do is to uncover the way that African American college students feel about the classes that they take and whether or not these classes have an affect on their developing selves.
Issue Date:2008-12
Course / Semester:EPS 500, Race and Ethnography: A Study of the University, Prof. Priscilla Fortier: This seminar is not only a course, but part of a cross-campus initiative titled Ethnography of the University Initiative. As a member of this course students joined a campus-wide learning community in which the University of Illinois was explored ethnographically. Students began the course by thinking about what the university is, as well as about race and ethnicity as phenomena within the university’s narratives. Students learned about universities and higher education in general and the University of Illinois in particular. A third area of concentration was “ethnography,” and students learned and practiced the basic skills of observation, interviewing, and writing as an ethnographer. Students completed several short assignments that were intended to help them develop these skills, as well as one larger ethnographic project on the University. The latter allowed them to explore an aspect of the university that has to do with an issue of race or ethnicity. In addition to the readings that students did as a class, they were expected to explore other research related to their project. The course syllabus is available at:
Date Available in IDEALS:2009-07-27

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