3 pages ). part b W r i t i n g
Unit 1 Culminating Assignment: Ethnographic Observation: Doing Cultural Anthropology
Upload to Canvas in doc or docx, format by the due date. Papers in other formats will not be accepted.
Goal: In Unit 1 of this course, we’ll introduce cultural anthropology and what we call the anthropological perspective, the culture concept, and how anthropologists go about studying culture. We’ll learn that anthropologists undertake fieldwork, write ethnographies, and attempt to make more general theoretical observations about social and cultural practice.
Need a title, which summarizes all writing content
Part A: Observation:
Depending on the situation, you can adopt one of two strategies:
- Sit and observe while taking notes. Note as many details as you can. Focus on how the “natives” behave and what they say (if you can hear them). If appropriate, you may interact or ask questions. This approach focuses more on observing.
- Participate yourself in a situation. If you cannot write down notes, make mental notes. As soon as possible afterwards, sit down and write down your thoughts as accurately as possible. You may, of course, combine the two approaches. (This option may constitute more of a challenge, because you will be reconstructing your observation from memory. If you wait too long, the details will begin to fade and your description may be too vague.)
Afterwards, use your notes to type out a more polished observation. (Suggested length for this section: 2-3 pages).
Part B: Analysis/Interpretation.
“Hmm, what do I think is going on culturally?” (Suggested length: 1-2 pages.)
In a concluding section, analyze and interpret your observation from an anthropological or cultural perspective. I’ll be particularly impressed if you are able to draw on course readings. If you cite these refer to author and page in parentheses: (Bohannon, p. 25).
- What can you say, culturally about the particular situation you have observed? What questions does this raise in your mind?
- Do not indulge in sweeping generalizations (i.e., “Everybody in the bar was a drunken fool,” but rather, “The three groups I observed watching the sporting event displayed very different behaviors.”). I encourage you to focus as much as your situation allows.
- How can you relate your analysis or what you have observed back to class readings or discussion? (This is key.)
- What have you been able to see, and what haven’t you been able to see?
- You might also reflect on your experience as a “participant-observer.” How did you feel while undertaking the observation? What has this experience suggested to you about how you observe people or about doing ethnography?
1. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeWritten presentation: As you read though the paper, note obvious errors in language use as well as places where the writing might be clearer. Please point out some of these to the writer. (Most of us don’ t like to have our grammatical and spelling mistakes pointed out, but it’s better to fix these now before your final submission.)
2. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDescription: Briefly summarize the paper’s ethnographic description. What is the paper about? What key details stand out to you? What did you learn about this setting? What would you like to know more about?
3. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAnalysis and Interpretation: How does the author use the culture concept or other anthropological approaches to analyze the ethnographic description? How might the author improve or deepen the analysis? Is the author
4. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeReflection: Does the author reflect on his or her own position, ideas, biases, feelings in relation to this ethnography? (How did the author feel in this Pentecostal service, biker bar, or family dinner and why ?) Does the author address ethnocentrism or relativism?
5. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClosing comments: In closing, say one or two things you liked about this paper. In other words, what do you see as key strengths or potential? Also, make one or two meaningful suggestions for improvement.
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