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Introduction to Anthropology: Cultural

Final Project Assignment

"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit."

-- Wade Davis



Propose an in-depth research project on a specific culture (other than the !Kung Bushmen or Hmong) or one of the topical themes from the course.  Write a paper about your topic based on independent library research, with at least four outside references.  Give a brief presentation related to your research project in class. Point value: proposal (25 points), research paper (150 points), presentation (25 points).

Anthro2 Library Research Page

Final Project Proposal (25 points)

Propose an in-depth research project on a specific culture (other than the !Kung Bushmen or Hmong) or a comparative study of cultures focused on one of the topical themes from the course. For this assignment, you need only provide a brief description of your plan (1 to 3 sentences). Additional details will help me give you feedback right away, but they are not necessary for this portion of the assignment.

Final Project Presentation (25 points)

Give a brief (5-10 minute) presentation of your research findings for the class. We will schedule these at the beginning of the second week. Less than half of the class can give their presentation on the last day; there will be 2-5 presentations per day during the last half of the class. This is an informal presentation: visuals are recommended but not required. Mostly, this is an opportunity for the class to learn a little bit of what you're discovering in your research, and ask you questions that might help you consider your topic in more detail.

Final Project Paper (150 points)

The final project will be a paper of 1800 - 2500 words (4 to 7 pages) worth 150 points (30% of your grade for the class). You will be producing either an in-depth research paper on a specific culture (other than the !Kung Bushmen or Hmong) or a comparative study of cultures focused on one topical theme. If your topic has shifted from the proposal you submitted in the first week, you should discuss this with the instructor.

This is a formal, academic research paper. Your paper should have: a title, an introductory paragraph that outlines your topic, and one or more concluding paragraph(s). The conclusion should summarize what you've learned in your research and writing, and what your hypotheses, opinions and/or conclusions are regarding what you describe. In between the introduction and conclusion (the main body of your paper), you should be providing clear, well-organized descriptions of the sub-topics (themes or cultural comparisons) you have researched. People often find it helpful to break their paper into separate sections with headings. (Note: A "Title Page" is neither required nor desired; simply include the paper title, date and your name at the top of the first page. It helps to use a header or footer to include a page number and your name on every page.)

This paper is your opportunity to demonstrate your learning in this course. Use anthropological concepts and terminology wherever appropriate.

If you are focusing on only one culture, you should include information on at least three of the major themes covered in class (listed on the schedule). You can also compare your focal culture to what you have learned in class about other cultures (including the Hmong or the !Kung Bushmen).

If you are doing a comparative study on a topical theme, you should be comparing at least three cultures. You may use the Hmong or the !Kung Bushmen as one of those three cultures (you may even use both, and compare them to two or more other cultures). Try to link your topical comparisons to other, related topics in the cultures (for instance, gender roles may vary because of different subsistence strategies, or rites of passage may be connected to religious beliefs).

In addition, you are expected to do research independently and synthesize information gleaned from at least four reference sources beyond the required readings, videos or other material from the class (at least five outside references for an "A"). At least two of your references must come from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals (see the research guide provided by Topsy Smalley from the Cabrillo College library, or ask the instructor if you are unsure). One or more of your references must be an ethnographic or ethnological paper published in an anthropological journal (Hint: limit some of your searches to "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" and include ethnograph*, ethnolog* or anthropolog* in your search terms in academic databases like Academic Search Premier).

For formatting and references, follow the "Guidelines for Written Work in Cultural Anthropology." In general, any time you need to go to an outside source to get a fact or idea you did not discover on your own, or any time you are using a direct quote, you must cite that source as a reference. For this paper, you should include the required readings as part of your "References Cited" section and cite them if and when you refer to them in the body of your paper. (Note: Class readings do not count toward your four outside references.) Be sure to use a spell-check and check for grammatical errors. (Hint: It is often very helpful to have a classmate or someone else read over your paper or read it aloud to find places where the writing is awkward or unclear.)

Contact the instructor if you have questions or want further clarification, particularly if you are unfamiliar with how and when to use citations in your work.

Anthro2 Library Research Page

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Last modified 21-Jan-2009