Assignment 2: Project Proposal

Yongho Kim
Assignment 2: Project Proposal
September 21, 2004
Ethnographic Interviewing

1. “Altazor Arts Collective”, and as a second possibility, “Roots Theatre”

2. Altazor is Latin American, English-speaking, radical theatre group based in a major latino neighborhood in the Twin Cities. I am thinking of Peter, a recent Macalester employee, who upon finishing contract at the Spanish Department has started working with this theatre group. He is an actor and assistant director, and has four years of involvement with the theatre (he was involved in the group before leaving Macalester, and is full-time as of two years now, I believe)
Roots is a chicano political theatre group based in another latino neighborhood in the Twin Cities. I do not have contacts there, but my current employer has contact with the director of the theatre, Leonardo.

3. Advantage: these groups are continuously in need to “get the word out” about themselves, so they would be happy to talk about themselves, even if it was anonymously. Another is that this is a specialized field of work, so that it will both have an explicit culture and a rich jargon.

4. I am not sure if anyone in the group is involved only putting a few hours a week in the project, or if they spend time only for upcoming projects, or what. If any of these is true, then the research may have considerable hardship actually getting the interviews done.

5. Research with Human Participants Statement

a. Risks: very unlikely, but the group may have undocumented immigrants performing (as part of their “political statement”). People involved may not have enough time, especially as they approach a new performance. People may try talking to me in Spanish (quite a few of them know that I work for Centro, a latino labor center).

b. I will try to interview someone investing considerable amount of time, such as directors. I will also ask frankly if there are undocumented workers performing, and explain them that my interview transcripts could become, in a worst case scenario, target of court subpoena; and that therefore it is in the best interest of both that I engage in research in environments where no illegal activity (regardless of whether or not it is criminal) may occur. I will also make sure that my informant is comfortable talking in English.

c. To secure anonymity, the interviews will be stored in tape cassettes which I will keep in a bag with a lock in my room. (I am not sure as to what to do with the keys of the lock, though) I will transcribe the interviews into files that will be saved in my computer with a running password-protected file server system to access them from around the campus. Whenever I draft a transcript, I will shred it using proper machines at the Anthro dept before disposing of it. I will be using pseudonyms throughout the transcription of the interviews. I will write down critical number data in codes, so I’ll worry less about things such as addresses and phone numbers leaking out.

d. I will call their office, and try to set up an appointment (I work fairly close to their office). Depending on the outcome I will meet them or set up a phone introduction to explain briefly the project to him or her and request to talk with someone who would be willing to put the time. When talking with the director or actor, I’ll introduce myself as a Macalester student taking an anthropology class in which we are to learn interviewing techniques while trying to learn the interviewed’s perspective as much as possible. I’ll also say that I have a curiosity as for how the task of distributing the work is organized. I’ll explain him that this will involve a series of 7 or 8 interviews over a period of 10 weeks lasting 45 to 60 minutes, resulting in a 30 page academic paper describing his work from a neutral position that will be read only by my professor and me, for which I will receive a grade. I’ll also say that I’ll be happy to give him copies of the final paper. I will have to use a recorder in order to take good note of what my informant may have to say, but that will preserving a strict anonimity with the use of pseudonyms, careful handling of the data, and avoidance of information that narrows the site or person down. I believe this should give my informant enough information to decide whether or not to partake in the project.







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