Write an essay according to the requirements given

One 5– to 8-page review essay on a single ethnic group, based on an ethnography (a book describing a culture) of your own choosing plus two additional sources. Due by midnight on the day of the final exam. Typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides, in 11- or 12-point Times New Roman font, in black ink on white paper, with a full bibliography citing all works mentioned in the paper. The scholarly style chosen does not matter (Chicago, APA, MLA, etc.), but keep citations consistent throughout the paper. Please follow the guidelines from the syllabus.

A scholarly review essay follows a standard form. Such an essay provides the reader with an overview of the most significant points raised by the author. Unlike a straightforward book report, however, a review essay is primarily devoted to critical discussion of the text. You should keep the following in mind:

  1. You must choose a text by a single author. Older ethnographies will have lots of articles about them, and newer books fewer. This is both good and bad: If there are lots of articles, it’s easier to find them, but also harder to read many of them. If there are few articles, they’ll be harder to find, but there will be fewer to read and judge. (You may not select for review any book assigned as required reading for the course.)
  2. Review essays follow a general pattern: introduction, summary of the book, critical discussion, conclusion. (Full publication data for the book should appear between the title of the review essay and the first line of the essay.)
  • A. Introduction. The introduction to a review essay indicates the general line of argument that the essay writer will pursue. Use your opening paragraph to (1) situate the book in the context in which it is written, (2) identify the author’s main thesis and approach, and (3) preview your own critical response. Be economical: this should fit into no more than one paragraph.
  • B. Summary. The summary must not exceed two pages. If more than half of your paper is summarizing what is in the text, you have written a book report. You can’t cover all of the points the author has made; focus on the central argument and on claims that are most significant. If more details are necessary, you can mention these in the critical discussion.
  • C. Critical Discussion. Consider how the book seeks to advance the debate(s) in which the author has chosen to participate. You must situate the work in the intellectual context in which it is written. In particular, you need to identify the controversies or problems that the author seeks to address. Ordinarily, an author will define the context for you as he/she understands it in the preface, introduction, or first chapter of the book. Once you have “placed” the book, you are in a position to begin your critical analysis. You may choose to assess whether the book makes an important or useful contribution, whether the evidence supports the author’s thesis, whether the author has considered alternative explanations for the same outcome, or whether the argument is internally consistent. Support your arguments with evidence. This section counts the most!
  • D. Be careful about voice. You should always make clear to the reader who is “speaking” in your paper – the book’s author, another author, or you as the essay writer. This is usually not a problem in the part of the essay given over to summarizing the book, but ambiguity about the voice can be a source of confusion when you turn to the critical discussion.
    (adapted from http://urban.hunter.cuny.edu/~apolsky/REVIEWESSAYF03.htm) (链接到外部网站。)


All papers must be typed, double-spaced, in black ink on white paper, with one-inch margins, in 11- or 12-point font. At the top of the first page, type your name, the course name, the assignment, and the date on subsequent single-spaced lines aligned left. On the next line, center a title in bold. Retain a copy of each paper you turn in.

  • Use the Learning Center, 2 Johnston—either drop in during office hours (Monday-Wednesday 10-7 and Thursday 10-5) or call 727-3332 to set up an appointment. When you go, be sure to take your assignment sheet with you and anything you have written. Remember to allow enough time after the session to make any changes that the tutor thinks are necessary.
  • Re-read frequently! Re-read out loud if necessary. Re-read backwards if necessary.
  • Your goal is to develop an argument. An argument consists of the following components: (1) a claim, (2) reasoning and (3) evidence to support the claim, and (4) a conclusion about the claim.
  • Try for an engaging title and strong opening, the better to lure the reader.
  • Situate particular statements or points from the book within the author’s overall argument. Doing so serves to contextualize your focus and prevents you from taking the arguments out of context.
  • Support your argument with some examples from the text to illustrate what you mean to say.
  • Briefly identify the work(s) and author(s) under discussion within your text, so we’ll know what you’re addressing. Underline or italicize titles of books and longer works that can stand alone: The Meaning of Whitemen, Divorce Iranian Style. Put double quotation marks around titles of stories, chapters, poems, and other shorter parts of a longer work: “Culture,” “Chapter 4.”
  • Locate quotations: Give page number; if unclear from context, give author and date.
  • As a rule, put punctuation marks inside quotation marks: “xxxxx.” “xxxx,” “xxxx?” Nevertheless, when citing works using parenthetical documentation, the end punctuation comes outside the quotation marks: “xxxxx” (p. x).
  • Do you make a point? Avoid leaving your readers in confusion or in “So what?” land.
  • Push your analysis and explore the implications of your argument (for anthropology, for everyday life, themes in the course, your career, your major, etc.).
  • Wrap up the end of your paper by tying it back to your beginning. This will confirm your thesis, remind the reader of what you aimed to address, and show how far your argument has taken you.
  • Proofread your essay. Try having someone else read it aloud to you and listen for clarity, persuasiveness, awkward sentence structure or poor grammar, etc.
  • In general, try to avoid words, expressions and constructions that make what you’re writing sound confusing or overly complicated. The main goal in good standard written American collegial English is clarity. In other words, say what you want to say as effectively and efficiently as possible.


Review Essay: List of possible ethnographies

These are available through the Miami University Libraries or through OhioLink. Please choose one from this list, or another similar ethnography.

Lila Abu-Lughod, Veiled Sentiments (Egypt)

Walter Armbrust, Mass Culture and Modernism in Egypt

Keith Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places (Apaches in Arizona)

Ruth Benedict, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (Japan)

Napoleon Chagnon, Yanomamo: the Fierce People (Amazon)

Katherine Dettwyler, Dancing Skeletons (Mali)

E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (South Sudan)

Steven Feld, Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra (Ghana)

Doug Foley, The Heartland Chronicles (Native Americans in Iowa)

Doug Foley, Learning Capitalist Culture (Mexican-Americans in South Texas)

Elizabeth Fernea, Guests of the Sheik (Iraq)

Elizabeth Fernea, A Street in Marrakech (Morocco)

Richard Flores, Remembering the Alamo (Texas)

Ruth Frankenberg, White Women, Race Matters (USA)

Esther Horne and Sally McBeth, Essie’s Story (Shoshones in North Dakota)

Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (UK, punk)

Smadar Lavie, The Poetics of Military Occupation (Egypt/Israel)

Velma Love, Divining the Self (African-Americans)

Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety (Egypt)

Liisa Malkki, Purity and Exile (Tanzania)

Emily Martin, Flexible Bodies (HIV in Baltimore)

Marcel Mauss, The Gift (comparative)

Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa

Anne Meneley, Tournaments of Value (Yemen)

Rigoberta Menchú, I, Rigoberta Menchú (Guatemala)

Esther Newton, Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America (USA)

Paul Rabinow, Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco

Erica Rand, Barbie’s Queer Accessories (USA)

Marta Savigliano, Tango and the Political Economy of Passion (Argentina)

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil

Kathleen Stewart, A Space on the Side of the Road (West Virginia)

Ann Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire (race in European colonial modernity)

Pauline Turner Strong, Captive Selves, Captivating Others (Native Americans)

Anna Tsing, In the Realm of the Diamond Queen (indigenous people in Indonesia)

Anna Tsing, Friction (environmental activists and miners in Indonesia)

Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt (Palestine/Israel)

Chris Waterman, Juju: African Popular Music (Nigeria)

Any other formal ethnography or even a memoir, novel, or travel book, if it addresses a culture in a detailed and thoughtful way. If you go off this list, I must approve it ahead of time.

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