Ethnographic and Scientific Storytelling

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Ethnographic and Scientific Storytelling

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Creative Writing

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course description

    Storytelling is a creative act, an imaginative performance and a political articulation of lived experiences. 

    We use the power of stories to share how the differences, pains, pleasures and happiness of others can be narrated. Our scientific storytelling combines creative non-fiction writing, theoretical thinking and ethnographic sensibilities. Therefore, we base our hands-on anthropology on learning-by-doing. Our hands-on anthropology moves beyond disciplinary limits and includes anyone with interests in sociocultural interactions and lived experiences.  It makes no difference if you are a student of medicine, arts or social sciences, we believe you can tell stories through skills that you will gain through this course.

    It is difficult to argue with the simple principle of ‘stories matter’ but then the question is how to tell the stories and remain faithful to those who share their stories with scientists and researchers. Students who conduct fieldwork and collect narratives, as well as interviews for their research, are familiarised with the troublesome task of turning the collected data into academically appealing stories.

    This course engages with visual anthropology, anthropological thoughts, creative writing and principles of reflexivity to teach students scientific storytelling. It guides students through how to how to tell stories and form scientific inquiry in collaboration with interlocutors, informants and civil society activists.

    Students of social sciences, cultural studies, social work, law and business administration with interest in fieldwork, ethnography and interviews will learn how to use their own life experience and background to share their research and stories from the field. The course concentrates on how ethnographers and researchers carry out the process of their creative writing and storytelling.


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