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, economics and language ) and, in some ways, its evolution.
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 are what sets humans apart from other species. Culture varies with time and location. For this assignment, students will be observing a particular setting for 25 minutes, writing up your observations, and then analyzing them. Listen to APUS anthropologist Donna Rosh give you some pointers for people-watching as an anthropologist (or read the script).
Directions for 4-6 page Assignment:
What is an anthropological concept? Anthropological concepts are anthropological terms and ideas. Examples of some that we've studied include ethnocentrism, ethnicity, reciprocity, kinship, language, and communication. You should not use this exact list of four concepts and expect them to fit your observation scene. You may, of course, use others - depending on what concepts are relevant to your observation. Lists of additional key concepts can be found in Lessons, in the Lesson Overview section. We also have two examples to share with you from APUS anthropologists- one from Jennifer Cramer's fieldwork in The Gambia and one from James Turner's fieldwork in Mexico.
One common misstep is to apply the four subfields of anthropology or to apply the four parts of the definition of culture.
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