Purpose: In cultural anthropology, one of the primary goals is to learn about other cultures through interactions with members of different cultural groups. In an 8-week online class, it is often a challenge to arrange first-hand anthropological field experience with other cultures. Luckily, most of my students are deployed in other countries, live in large metropolitan areas with diverse groups of people from other cultures, or at least have access to individuals from cultural groups that are different from their own. Often people in other cultures are eager to meet American students, particularly anthropology students. Many of these individuals look for opportunities to practice speaking English with a native speaker.
Instructions: In this paper, anthropology will become more than a body of knowledge to be studied; anthropology will become an active process of discovery. For your paper, you will conduct anthropological fieldwork, face-to-face, by interviewing someone of a different culture. Choose an individual who comes from a cultural group/area that is different from your own, consider seeking out a co-worker, neighbor, etc. You will interview your informant asking the following questions:
1) What are the groups or institutions that are important in your life (family, school, church, clubs, etc.)?
2) What are the rules of behavior in each of these groups?
3) How did you learn these rules?
4) Rank the groups in the order of importance to you.
After conducting the interview with your informant, you will compare and contrast their answers with your answers, and reflect on the comparison. In a 4-6 page paper:
1) Describe the process of gathering information on another culture. Were there any problems involved? Was there a language barrier? Was there an apprehension on the part of your informant to being interviewed? Were you apprehensive at having to conduct the interview?
2) Provide a summary of your informant’s responses to the above four questions
3) Provide a summary of your responses to the above four questions
4) What general conclusions did you reach about the differences between your informant’s cultural group and your own, based on the answers to the interview questions?