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Release: Nov. 29, 2001

Bedford/St. Martin's publishes new edition of Sunstein's 'Fieldworking'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Bedford/St. Martin's Press this month published the second edition of University of Iowa English and education professor Bonnie Sunstein's "FieldWorking: Reading and Writing Research."

The 352-page textbook -- intended for a wide audience that includes composition teachers and students, anthropologists, historians, teachers, community leaders and writers -- represents the first ethnographic curriculum that focuses on reading and writing. The first edition of "FieldWorking," which is coauthored by Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was published in 1997.

The book, much of which was written with a grant from the UI's Obermann Center, shows readers how to integrate skills for research, archival study, interviewing, reading and writing. Each chapter introduces students to one aspect of field research -- cultures, texts, people, places, language -- by explaining specific research skills and offering short writing options (complete with student examples) for trying them out.

For models of written research, the chapters include readings representing different disciplines (fiction and poetry, anthropology, folklore, education and journalism) and a range of voices (Horace Miner, Garrison Keillor Gloria Naylor, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jan Harold Brunvand and Oliver Sacks). UI graduate and undergraduate students wrote many of the other readings.

Sunstein, an associate professor in the UI English Department and the College of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction, has also created a website as a companion to the book. The site,, sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, serves as an additional resource for ethnographic researchers across the country, allowing them to share their work, discuss their data and explore new means of written expression. It also provides teachers, students and other leaders of cultural heritage projects with ready-to-use instruction materials.