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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

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Introduction to Anthropology: Cultural

First Midterm Essay 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

 

Summary

Nacirema: Describe a routine or common event from your everyday life that would seem extraordinary to someone from a different culture or subculture.

50 points, total (10% of your grade for the class)

Nacirema (1000 to 1500 words - about 2-3 pages):

Describe a routine or common event from your everyday life that would seem extraordinary to someone from a different culture or subculture.

Routine: Try a simple routine like the way you fix your hair, listen to music, change a tire, take in the mail, or get ready for a date. List the specific behaviors of your routine, and identify what might be strange or extraordinary to others unfamiliar with such a routine.

Event: Describe a commonplace event that is familiar to you, like a church service, holiday celebration, bar mitzvah, Quinceañera, graduation, wedding, or funeral. List the specific actions and the different roles expected or required for the event, and identify what might be strange or extraordinary to others unfamiliar with such a routine.

This is a first exercise in anthropological observation and "distancing." You will mostly be graded on your creativity in making the familiar unfamiliar.

Outside references are not required for a passing grade on this assignment. Otherwise, follow the "Guidelines for Written Work in Cultural Anthropology." Be sure to use a spell-check and check for grammar.

To enhance your grade, compare the routine or event you describe to an event or routine that serves a similar function in a different culture (another culture or sub-culture you have experience with, or one that's been described in class). If you are discussing a culture for which you do not have first-hand experience, you should cite your references according to the rules described in the "Guidelines for Written Work in Cultural Anthropology."

 

Contact Me if you have questions or concerns.

 

 
   

 

Cultural Anthropology bookmarks on del.icio.us

Anthropology bookmarks on del.icio.us

evolution | genetics | primates | biodiversity | taxonomy | paleontology | deep time | fossils | paleoanthropology | hominins | culture

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Last modified 23-Sep-2009