UCLA Labor Center

Exemplary Ethnographic Research

Diverse forms of ethnographic inquiry are featured on this page. When browsing, please note the topic of study selected, the the researcher(s) vantage point (i.e., assumptions, biases, engagement with the community), and the ways in which the research did or did not affirm the identities of the participants.


RACE: Are we so different?

The exhibition RACE: Are we so different? brings together the everyday experience of living with race, its history as an idea, the role of science in that history, and the findings of contemporary science that are challenging its foundations.

Interactive exhibit components, historical artifacts, iconic objects, compelling photographs, multimedia presentations, and attractive graphic displays offer visitors to RACE an eye-opening look at its important subject matter.

Developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, RACE is the first nationally traveling exhibition to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view. Combining these perspectives offers an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.

Click here take the digital tour of the RACE exhibit

The RACE research study utilized three distinct perspectives to study the issue of race: historical analysis, scientific human variation of people, and lived experiences.  These distinct perspectives lend themselves to form theoretical frameworks that informed a particular perspective and point of reference. 

You can explore, compare and contrast how three different approaches inform different aspects of the research:

Click here to explore the RACE historical analysis

Click here to explore the RACE human variation

Click here to explore the RACE lived experiences

Being Indigenous

To be Indigenous is a project of the ONG Community, in which indigenous and nonindigenous people participate to collect information about indigineous tribes in Chile.  The aim of the project is to better understand the original cultures that inhabit on the national territory and the continental region.

The anthropology research projects supports the exploration of culture (i.e., music, language, culture, art, food, etc.) according to the region.  More specifically, the research project developed an interactive map that allows one to better understand the tribes’ location and its relation to culture.

The videos to the right illustrate aspects of the indigenous tribe and Chile.  The video below demonstrates the ways in which ethnography research informs current events that impacts the livelihood of an indigenous Chilean tribe.

Click here to learn more about this project

Click here to explore the indigenous tribes by region

Download the most recent publication of the Being Indigenous project, in which the researchers translate indigenous folktales.  The purpose of the publication is to understand the roots of Chilean culture.

Being Indigenous


A Million Feet of Flim/ A Lifetime of Friendship: The John Marshall Ju/’hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection

From 1950-2000, filmmaker John Marshall documented the lives of a group of Ju/’hoansi (!Kung San Bushman) of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia. Marshall and his colleagues shot over one million feet of film and video (767 hours), beginning in the last years that the Ju/’hoansi still lived by gathering and hunting in their harsh desert environment. Tremendous and rapid changes occurred during the ensuing fifty years, both on the individual level and within Ju/’hoan society at large.

Marshall’s film and video document these changes, along with interviews in which Ju/’hoansi share their thoughts and feelings about the past and their hopes and concerns for the future.  All this, as well as audio recordings, photographs, maps, film and videotape logs, translations, and other papers, comprises the John Marshall Ju/’hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950-2000, held at the Human Studies Film Archives, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

This audiovisual collection is unique in the world for its focus on one group of people over such a long period. The material can be used to study historic and contemporary Ju/’hoan life, culture, and language as well as the politics of international development amongst indigenous populations, the evolution of documentary and ethnographic filmmaking, human adaptation, and the cultural landscape of the Kalahari Desert.

Watch and listen to John Marshall narrate his ethnographic research project.  John Marshall collected 767 hours of original film and video. The unedited footage is an unparalleled documentary record of the changes experienced by one group of people over a fifty-year period. This footage is invaluable for research on the history, language, and culture of the Ju/’hoansi, as well as current issues facing the San and other indigenous groups around the world.

309 hours of audiotape. The audio recordings include: ethnographic interviews and linguistic studies; storytelling and folklore; music, dance, and games; conversation and ambient domestic sounds; and wildlife and ambient natural sounds. Read more about these audiotapes in the John Marshall Collection finding aid.

Click here to listen to the audio recordings