Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology
Fall 2019 - This class is a joke. You can learn everything in the class by just reading Bernard's book that he requires. The second book is useless and do not even buy it, you do not need it for the weekly assignments, discussions sections, or the final. The lectures as very dull, quiet, and unnecessary. He did not go over anything that was needed in the assignments, book, or the final. Over time, fewer and fewer people showed up, and I started to attend the lecture every other class. One day, there were only 20 of us, out of 150. There are weekly assignments, some require you to go out and do some fieldwork, which can be fun or intimidating. My TA was Eric and he was very helpful. Those fieldwork assignments are 50 percent of your grade, and the final is like a bigger version of the assignments, which is 25 percent of your grade. There are strict guidelines, and if you follow them, you will end up with a grade you'd like. I would not recommend Fiske but I did learn a lot in this class.
I just read all the postings about Professor Garro. She must really have improved her style over the last few years. I took her final today (so I dont know my grade yet) and I believe that she is an excellent professor. Sometimes her lectures jump around and it can get pretty confusing. Luckily, she gave out a ton of handouts with everything you need to know. The downside to that was having to review them all for tests and she would give information you didnt need. If you're one of those people who likes to learn just to learn, then these handouts are great and so beneficial. If you just want to get a grade and move on, the handouts will drive you crazy. The assignments were vital to learning methodology. There were absolutely no surprises on either the midterm or final -- they were very fair. She would literally say "know this for the test." The questions were well thought out and very understandable (as they should be since she does write interviews and ethnographies for a living). She repeats important concepts a lot which is great because you know exactly what she wants you to know and it makes studying easier. Her TA was one of the best I've had in this department. She made discussion fun, was very knowledgable and obviously had great communication with the professor. Garros fieldwork is interesting and she chooses readings that are very relevant and helpful. If you are interested in doing fieldwork one day, think you could ever be interested in it, or are trying to decide if anthropology is right for you, I highly recommend taking her class. If I had taken this class during my first year at UCLA rather than my last year, I probably would have understood other anthropology courses better and probably would have attempted to do fieldwork each summer. I'm expecting a B in the class, only because I didn't try as hard as I should have. But she makes getting an A in her class very possible.