I’m working on a anthropology discussion question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
4th Paper Cultural Autobiography Overview:
Due Date: See Syllabus
Points= 150 points total
Length: 3 pages single spaced min, 12 point font, reasonable margins.
This paper should allow each of you to introspect about your own life and culture. Exploring your past, present and incorporating your future dreams, goals and aspirations. You will be defining who you are and why are you are the way you are? This introspection is important and at times painful, exhilarating and arduous. You should start from the beginning of this course thinking about this most simple but difficult question. Please trust the process and give 200% in completing your personal cultural autobiography.
In essence this paper is very much like your second paper in this course where you conducted an ethnographic interview but in this case you will be in a sense interviewing yourself and analyzing your own cultural heritage and influences in much the same way you did for the other person or people in your second paper. So if it helps review your second paper again and to get ideas for how to formulate your thoughts for this paper as well.
You may utilize the following questions and the information provided, along with your understanding of the anthropological topics discussed during this course to help you organize, process and create the outline necessary to complete this final requirement. The order in which the questions are presented have nothing to do with the outline of your paper. They are provided as a guide and you don’t have to answer all the questions. Please make sure not to give a history paper. Think about the videos and chapters you read in your book.
Here are some important items to keep in mind when working on your fourth paper:
- Feel free to use a first person narrative voice and as long as you are addressing the topics for the paper I welcome your comments and reflections.
- Feel free to use images to illustrate any points you want to make but make sure that the text itself meets the minimum outside of the space the images take up.
- Late papers cannot be accepted in most cases since this paper will be due near the very end of the course when I will need to work on final grades so please keep that in mind.
Address all of the following items in your cultural autobiography:
1. In what culture would you place yourself? This is not the same as race. Was this the same culture you were born into? Is this the same culture as your parents or grandparents? Give some detail to introduce your heritage and culture to the reader.
2. Please choose at least 10 of the following topics to address in your comments in your fourth paper:
- Describe your family structure and kinship system. How many siblings in your family? Are you the oldest or youngest? How does your birth order influence who you are today? How is that relevant to your culture? (Example: Are large families expected in your culture because of religious beliefs? Are half-siblings common – children of different fathers because of lack of marriage or the roles of males in that culture?)
- What unique qualities do you possess that comes from your cultural up-bringing? For example, do you play a cultural instrument, know a cultural dance, can you speak multiple languages, do you know how to farm, can cook certain types of dishes, and so forth.
- As a child or as an adult what do you remember about your favorite holidays or family traditions? Describe in detail to who would be invited (extended family?), what food would be served, what rituals observed, and how long would the process would take. Examples: Christmas, Thanksgiving, family reunions, local festivals; any activities centered around food and family traditions. This deals with the cultural meaning of food and traditions within your family.
- What are some food traditions from your culture? Please Note: Everywhere in the world food in its specific varieties has tremendous emotional and cultural significance. In some cultures rice rather than beef is “real food for real people” while in others sweet potatoes constitute 90% of the diet.
- What was your most memorable encounter with someone from another culture/ethnicity? Was it a positive or negative experience? Share your first culturally diverse experience (school, neighborhood, travel, food, etc.)
- What are the religious beliefs in your culture? What are your religious beliefs? How do those religious beliefs affect who you are? (example: does it affect who you marry, what social groups you are part of, what foods you are allowed to eat)
- What jobs have you held and are these jobs aligned with your culture? (Example: Does your culture influence what type of jobs you apply for or promote/limit your job choices? Do you work for a religious organization because of your culture? Would you ever work for an abortion clinic or would that conflict with your culture?)
- What are your cultures gender roles? Do you align with these? What is the role of sexual orientation in your culture? What roles do gender play in your everyday life? (Do NOT say gender has no effect in your life. Every culture has gender roles and equality issues are still very prevalent today. Women are not paid the same, assume the same jobs, or have the same roles with children. Males in the same aspect, are often expected to the “breadwinners” in many cultures and that places a lot of pressure on men to succeed and have a good job.)
- What in common interest groups, organizations, or sororities/fraternities do you belong?
- Where have you traveled in your lifetime? How have they stretched your understanding and capacity of the world and other cultures?
- How do you best describe your character? Do you believe your answer to this question is influenced by your culture? (i.e. Are girls/boys supposed to be a certain way in your culture – quiet, gentile, outgoing, dominate and so forth)
- Do you have any disabilities? How would that be handled in your culture? (family, friends, government)
- Describe marriage rituals in your culture. Are you married, single, divorced, widowed, other? Is this aligned with your culture’s values? (example: Are you expected to marry? Are you expected to marry someone of the same culture? Is divorce frowned upon? Do you have to marry in a place of worship?)
- Do you have or want children? How are children viewed in your culture?
- Describe funeral rituals in your culture? (wakes, buried in 24 hours, drinking, praying, ideas about the afterlife)
3. In a few sentences comments on the following “How has my understanding of my personal culture and who I am changed as a result of this course?”
This list can go on and on. Please do your best to describe who you are and your interactions with those in your environment. The answers to these questions may be personal, embarrassing or perhaps challenging for you to conceptualize. Nonetheless, please do your best—that’s all I expect. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me or give me a call, I welcome your questions, thoughts and ideas. We learn by asking questions.
Here are some common mistakes that students make so please keep them in mind:
“I am American, therefore I have no culture” – this is not true of course and I know you can do better especially at this point in the course.
Avoid simply stating, “I have six siblings” expand and explain in cultural anthropological terms, “Because I grew up in a Irish catholic family, having many children was expected and part of the culture and encouraged by our religious beliefs, therefore my parents had six children.”
Proofread, proofread, proofread – there is no excuse for poor spelling with modern day spell check programs
Do not give me a history report about your grandparents and parents, tell me about how your grandparents, parents and your culture is the same or different based on how the culture has changed over time, such as gender roles, marriage practices and so forth.