REVIEW ESSAY GUIDELINES
Titles Claimed for Review:
This project gives you the opportunity to:
SELECTING A BOOK
You will choose a recent (2000 or later) mongraph (not a collection of articles) presenting an ethnography of a single culture or region (not a survey of a pluralistic society, such as Canada or India).
Please choose a culture outside the United States and different from your own. The ethnography must fully explore the lives of women. It may also include men and children, perhaps in less detail but perhaps also quite thoroughly. Chances are very good that the ethnographer will be a woman, but this is not required.
An ethnography will always provide a holistic perspective, even if it has a special focus, for example weaving by Maya women in highland Guatemala. This means the author's thesis or research focus will be presented in the context of the culture as a whole: how people make a living, organize their social lives, enact their politics and beliefs, and create their art and other expressive culture. Any good anthropological study will provide this; a journalistic, partisan, or traveler's account might not.
An ethnographic study always involves extended first hand observation. Look for fieldwork--the author went to the community where this culture exists and spoke to the people. She lived with them and observed their daily life, seasonal round, and special ceremonies. The words and experiences of the living people must be present!
DO NOT select a book used in another class you have taken or are taking. It is essential that you read your ethnography in light of the critical discussions taking place in our meetings. However, if you have read an excerpt or just one chapter of an ethnography for another class, you like the author's style, and you want to know the rest of the story, then that book would be an excellent and acceptable choice.
I have provided a list of recent ethnographies (2000 and later) that appear to be good candidates for this project. However, I have read only a few of them and I expect you to investigate any that appeal to you before committing to review them. Make sure that: the author's perspective is anthropological; the text includes accounts of first-hand experience with living people; the topic is compelling; and the author's writing style appeals to you. If you find books on this list that are not suitable, please tell me! I'll delete them!
As soon as you have settled on a few good prospects, come and see me in my office to secure your choice. Since reviews will be shared with the class, only one person may review each book. Come with a complete citation and evidence that you've investigated your choice. The longer you wait, the more likely someone will have claimed your choice. Consult the list at the top of this page to see if anyone has!
DEADLINE: I need your selection by Thursday of Week 3.
I expect you to take notes--chapter by chapter--as you read. These notes will be summarized and processed into the overview of the book's contents that will become part of your review. This overview (not your notes) is due at the end of week 6.
I must have the opportunity to read your overview before you and I meet in week 7 to discuss your outline.
As you read be on the lookout for (mark, record page numbers of) quotes that capture:
Your review will include a summary that highlights the major points made by the author. This must be a fair and accurate presentation of the work and should appear early in your essay. It should be preceded by an introduction (of the people, the author, the region, a historical event in the life of the culture, or an incident in the course of the fieldwork) that captures the reader's interest. Your introduction should end with the thesis of your review: What anthropologically significant statement do you want to make about the work you have read?
Your review is a critical analysis of the book. You will want to decide for yourself what is worth discussing. It will be helpful to:
Use anthropological format and style for citations. These are modeled for you by any article in American Anthropologist.
You may present your review in the same manner as reviews published in American Anthropologist, with complete information about the book at the top of the review. If you do this, then you may document passages quoted from the book with page number alone (34). However, additional sources you consult and cite must be arranged in a References Cited section at the end of your essay, just as references are provided for an article in American Anthropologist. Here is the style guide we use in Anthropology.
I assume that you have received formal training in writing a documented research paper and understand how to paraphrase material, how to quote the words of another author, and when to cite sources. Any article in American Anthropologist will serve as a good model for your paper. Note that anthropologists use in-text citation, followed by an alphabetically arranged list of sources called "References Cited." This is the simplest, most efficient method of citation and the only one acceptable in anthropology courses at WOU. In-text citations always include the author's name and the publication year; specific information and direct quotes require the page number, in addition. ENCLOSE QUOTED MATERIAL IN QUOTATION MARKS! The citation goes outside the quotation marks.
In recent years it has become ridiculously easy to copy written work from a wide variety of sources. I expect you will have read one or more published, academic reviews* of the book you are reviewing--in the course of selecting it in the first place, or as you try to understand it after your first reading. If you use ideas from reviews, it is mandatory that you recite them accurately and cite them clearly and exactly. Other reader's reviews are of interest to me only if you disagree with them. It is much more important that you perform your own evaluation and present your own ideas so that you can receive credit for them. [*go ahead and read the Amazon.com reviews if you wish, but since they're not peer or editor reviewed, don't use them in your paper.]
a high value on academic honesty and expect my students to do the same.
Plagiarism is defined in the WOU Code of Student
Responsibility and in any good writer's handbook. Plagiarism may result
in a grade of zero on the assignment and referral to Campus Judicial Affairs.
If you are not sure whether you have given proper credit to the source of your
ideas and materials, ask your professor!
Prepare and include with your completed paper a CITATION & ABSTRACT of your review. Write it after your paper is finished. Be sure to include the AAA style citation data, name of culture, geographical location and major descriptive features, your main analytical points, and grounds for your endorsement of the work. These will be reproduced and shared with the class for future reference. You've never written an abstract before? Take a look at articles published in American Anthropologist for models.
Remember that 10% of the course grade is allocated for meeting these deadlines:
with me on your review selection no later than Thursday January 20th. 
I will post your choice DURING our conference so that others will know your book is taken as soon as you convince me to accept it. Come to this meeting with book in hand, having read enough to know that you like it and will enjoy working with it.
in your typed up overview by 5 PM Friday February 10th. 
Keep a copy so that you can prepare an outline of your proposed analysis over the weekend.
with me no later than Friday February 17th on your review outline.
Bring a formal outline of your review specifying the points you plan to include in your analysis. I will have read your summary and will ask helpful questions.
4) Bring two copies of your complete rough draft to class on Wednesday March 3rd . Be in class to accept a copy from a peer to review over the weekend. Be in class the following Monday to return this draft and receive your own.
5) Bring your completed paper to class Wednesday March 10th. 
Once your paper is complete, design a presentation that will convey the most vivid and insightful parts of your analysis in a lively and entertaining fashion. This requires that you selectively and thoughtfully prepare material for oral delivery. DO NOT read directly from your paper. If you have a quote to share, extract it in advance. You are welcome to use the presentation equipment (powerpoint, doc cam) in the classroom; otherwise write your main points on the board or provide handouts.
Your final, worth 10%, requires that you listen and respond appreciatively to the presentations of your peers, as well as share your own. Asking questions at the end of a presentation earns you special merit.