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Assignment 2: Be An Anthropologist
Purpose: The goal of this exercise is to observe a 'cultural scene' as an anthropologist would (i.e. based on everything you have learned in the course to-date). The student will analyze their observations in terms of themes from the subfield of cultural anthropology such as how it helps frame our societies (family, lifestyle, lineage, language and communication) and, in some ways, its evolution.Description:Culture as we have discussed in our readings is an incredible advantage that has allowed humans to enter almost every niche in nature. The development and maintenance of culture is what sets humans apart from other species. Culture varies by time and location. For this assignment, students will be observing a particular setting for 25 minutes, writing up your observations, and then analyzing them.
Choose a time and location for where/when you are going to conduct your observations of an ethnographic scene
a.Examples of possible ethnographic scenes
i.The coming and going of shoppers in a mall
ii.Getting on and riding the bus
iii.Buying coffee at a coffee shop
iv.Crossing at a cross-walk
3) 3) Go to the specified location and proceed with your observations.
a.The easiest way to do this is to find a place to sit quietly and to simply watch what is going
i.Please do not talk to or interview people during this time.
b.Take handwritten (recommended) notes in a small notebook and/or mental notes of:
i.details about the scene itself (time of day, lighting, furniture, plants, sounds, temperature, smell, vibe/energy, etc)
ii.the people around you, not only their behavior but general information about their characteristics (age, race/ethnicity, gender, class, etc)
iii.what you see people doing
1.this is the heart of your description and should provide the instructor of how the people you saw were involved in the scene you were observing
iv. your thoughts and feelings while observing may be a brief section of the paper.
4) When your 25 minutes are finished, leave the scene. In a quiet place, fill out your notes. Be sure you include more details about the topics from step 3.
a. At this time, you should start to think about what themes, patterns, or conclusions you saw. This step is critical.
b. Type up your notes (you will add them to the end of your write-up)
5) 5) Write a 3 - 5 page reaction paper about your observations Your paper should include
a.Discussion about and definition of culture using our course materials
b.a ‘thick description’ of the location