Course Crafting Ethnography


Course leader: Jakob Krause-Jensen

Graduate school: Faculty of Arts

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Spring 2024

Application deadline: 01/03/2024

Cancellation deadline: 01/03/2024

Start date: 13/05/2024

Administrator: Henriette Jaquet


All students are placed on a waiting list until we reach application.


Please note that for this course registration is binding unless you are prevented by illness.

This course approaches ethnographic analysis, argument and writing as a craft to be learned. Good ethnographic craftsmanship entails giving primacy to empirical material and bringing it into dialogue with theoretical positions to nuance, refine and contradict these positions. Ethnographic knowledge production is irreducibly bound up with personal experience in particular times and places. Working with ethnographic material thus entails a particular kind of composition, the concrete arrangement and juxtaposition of ethnographic fragments and analytical reflections (Nielsen & Rapport 2018). Moving from experience to different kinds of texts (field notes, ethnographic accounts, thesis chapters) is thus a creative and transformative process of 'enscription.' As a writing matter, it is never simply a question "of how to bring certain scenes to life but how to bring life to ideas" (Strathern, cited in Narayan 2012:15) and how to "produce knowledge that confronts social and political complexity with a clarity and verve that promotes the common good" (Stoller, 2016).

Drawing on an emerging body of literature on ethnographic writing and analysis, the course will explore analytical potential of ethnography as a craft, i.e.. a particular way of composing an argument, writing forth new knowledge of the world and bringing new ideas to life.

The course combines lectures and discussions of student drafts (7-10 pages) with hands-on writing and other exercises to facilitate students in opening their material and exploring the crafting of texts, analyses and arguments based on ethnographic material.


This course proposal is a response to a request from the Faculty of Arts to DPU to develop an annual course in 'ethnographic analysis'.

The course aims to facilitate awareness and develop skills in crafting ethnographic analyses and argument through creative processes of writing. Students will 1) engage critically with and develop their own material and writing and 2) learn to use prompted writing exercises as tools for crafting parts of their thesis they find difficult or troublesome.

Target group:

The candidate must have finished ethnographic fieldwork and be in the analytical/writing phase of the thesis.


English, but we will work to accommodate candidates writing their theses in Danish.


A two-day workshop at Sandbjerg, focusing on 1) lectures drawing on the reading, 2) close reading and discussion of the candidates' work, 3) writing exercises as creative analytical tools, 4) social dramatization of relevant concepts and 5) presentation of ethnographies. The workshop will be followed by a full-day open seminar (10am-15pm) in Aarhus on ethnographic writing, involving AU colleagues and invited international guest speakers.


4 ECTS. To prepare for the course, students are expected to read the required literature, and produce a 7-10 page draft. During the course, students will reflect on the literature, read and peer review each others' work and produce and review writing based on a series of small writing exercises.


Cathrine Hasse,
Jakob Krause-Jensen,
Michael Herzfeld,


May 13 to May 15: Sandbjerg, Sønderborg
May 16: Campus Aarhus, Auditorium 3 (1441-113), Tåsingegade


Course dates:

  • 13 May 2024 09:00 - 18:00
  • 14 May 2024 09:00 - 18:00
  • 15 May 2024 09:00 - 18:00
  • 16 May 2024 10:00 - 15:00