Somewhere I Belong: The Unit 2 Project

15 Sep

The unit asks you to consider the terms place and community. Where is it that you feel you most belong or you most want to belong? Where is your place, or where is the place you most want to be? Who is a part of your community? These are some of the questions you may ask throughout this unit.

For this unit, we will be doing ethnographic research and writing. This will require some field work on your part. You will be photographing, conducting interviews, and writing observations. These smaller steps will be part of your research process and help you build towards your larger final essay.

The final package will be a multi-modal project (that means more than one type of communication method—pictures, videos, soundbites, interactive posters, etc.) of 1250+ or a 5-8 minute documentary (iMovie is great for this).

1 Interview on WordPress blog – these can be done using a webcam or audio recording posted to your blog or by transcribing an interview word-for-word and posting the the transcription on your blog — due 10/6

3 research journal entries on WordPress blog – I will post separately about how to do these– 9/22, 9/28, 10/5

1 final project – due 10/19

These are, of course, the minimum requirements. Feel free to go above and beyond.

A small pointer: a community does not have to be a literal place, and it certainly doesn’t have to be your hometown.



A miniaturized version as an example

I am an equestrian, a member of the horseback riding community. I know the “language,” both the jargon equestrians use and the signs horses give to communicate. I know the proper barn etiquette: clean up after your horse if your he poops in the barn, left passes left in the ring, dust off your boots before you get in the show ring, etc. I am also aware of the culture, including the traditional costumes.

My picture: I chose a picture of my horse and me at the barn where I’ve been riding since I was 11 years old. A better picture would probably be the actual barn because it represents a whole community rather than just an individual. This picture seems to be more about the sport or the relationship between my horse and myself rather than the community. Since this is a rough draft, it’s ok to have a “rough representation” (plus, this was the only picture I had available at the moment). I would not make this my sole image.

My interview: I would probably interview another rider, a trainer, or a barn owner to find out more about the community and its problems. I would ask many open-ended questions instead of yes-no questions.

My research: This would depend on the angle I take. If i’m talking about what it means to be an equestrian, I might research articles from Olympic riders. If I’m talking about collegiate equestrians, I might read something by Bob Cacchione, head of the Intercollegiate Horseshow Association (IHSA). If I’m talking about problems in the equine industry, I might look up something from an equine vet about the deadly diseases, such as Strangles, that affect barns or talk to the guys over at the Meadowlands about how badly the racing industry is doing. In my research journals, I could write about all of these, but eventually, I would have to figure out what and how to use the research I have done.

End project: I think this also depends on the angle I choose. If I was working with the problems in the industry, I might put together and informative website with my narrative as the homepage, or I could make an expose-type documentary. If I was talking about what it was like to be an equestrian, I might do a blog post with pictures and video clips, or I might go for a documentary with lots of photos and a voice-over of my narrative.


A limited list of other communities I could have chosen:

  • English majors
  • amateur photographers
  • doctoral students
  • Compositionists
  • writers
  • Twitter users
  • Subraru drivers
  • middle class girls from New Jersey
  • women
  • fans of House music

The list is really quite endless, but I’m sure I’ve already revealed too much about my lifestyle with these entries.


7 Responses to “Somewhere I Belong: The Unit 2 Project”

  1. -Lyrics! September 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM #

    The North Shore, Staten Island

  2. klari237 September 17, 2011 at 4:50 PM #

    This looks like a fun and interesting project we will be working on.

  3. klari237 September 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM #

    The community I am considering working on is the St. John’s University community

  4. alexcastillo06 September 19, 2011 at 11:21 AM #

    The community I am most apart of is my hometown community of Pismo Beach, Ca. I belong there and was raised there

  5. Derek Martinez September 20, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

    The community I’m considering for this project is new jersey wrestlers

  6. Vito Nicassio (@Veeets) September 21, 2011 at 12:54 AM #

    The community I’m considering for this project is Miami

  7. stephaniedontis September 21, 2011 at 9:55 AM #

    the community i am considering for this project is my friends and I who play darts together.

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