Identify A Culture

Assignment: Identify a culture or perhaps some cultural phenomena, then compare and contrast both insider and outsider perspectives, discussions, and explanations of that culture or cultural phenomena; in addition to comparing outsider and insider perspective you will also engage in a cause-and-effect analysis of that culture or some of its practices.  Your outsider-perspective analysis must include the theories, concepts, and studies present in Clash!. In addition to the theories presented in Clash!, you may include other theories discovered through your own research. But make sure that your essay makes use of the concepts from Clash!, concepts such as the culture cycle, dependence/interdependence, and any other areas of cultural analysis explored in Clash! that are relevant to your essay. For example, if you were to explore Southern California surfing culture, your essay would likely benefit from utilizing the analysis of U.S. regional cultures found in Chapter 6 of Clash!.  In addition to the outsider perspective found in Clash! and other academic sources you find relevant, your essay must use an insider source. An insider source is the product of a native or natives of that culture. Novels, poetry, music, movies, visual and/or digital arts, interviews, academic work from natives to that culture, as well as other sources may serve as insider perspectives. Academic discourse often favors the outside expert’s point of view. For example, if you were to explore female genital mutilation, you would likely hear many voices from outsiders, most of whom would likely be, understandably, critical of the practice. However, in this assignment, an essay that only explored this outsider position would be incomplete. You must go further and find insider voices, people for whom the practice is natural and normal, or at least those who have experienced it firsthand. Then, through comparison and contrast of these perspectives and cause-and-effect analysis, arrive at a more thorough exploration of your chosen culture or cultural phenomena/phenomenon.  Length and Formatting: 6-7 pages (not including works cited page). Follow MLA conventions for academic writing: In general, 1-inch margins all around, 12-point MLA-approved font (Times New Roman if uncertain), double-spaced, page number and last name in upper right-hand header (.5” from the top). Sources: You will need at least four sources. We will discuss different types of sources and their appropriate use. Among your sources you must include:  ·       Clash! ·       One insider source of your choosing ·       One multimedia source representing insider perspective ·       One additional academic article accessed through our college databases This assignment challenges us to find authority outside traditional institutions. Consequently, it may be challenging to determine whose voice is authoritative on a given subject. For example, a paper exploring the issue of sexual violence facing Native American women on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation would want to look at the work of sociologists, anthropologists, and similar experts dealing with this issue; however, it would be necessary to listen to those who are directly affected by this phenomenon — the survivors. Finding these unmediated insider voices can be more challenging. For this half of your research you may use social media posts like Instagram and Twitter; visual media such as TV, movies, photography, and paintings; novels, poetry, or essays; as well as interviews with native participants, which you may conduct yourself.  Organization: The dominant rhetorical mode of this assignment is compare/contrast (and perhaps some synthesis) and cause and effect. There are a couple of ways to organize a compare-and-contrast essay. One method is whole-to-whole while the other is part-to-part. We will talk about the specifics of each of these. You will need to decide what method is most appropriate for your topic. Also, your essay will benefit from use of our previously studied rhetorical modes.  The Purpose: This is a research assignment (blended with some cultural analysis and perhaps a little psychology or economics or biology, depending on the direction of your exploration and your own areas of interest) designed to help you practice the research and the higher-order analysis waiting for you at the university level. Potential Areas of Focus: Broad areas of consideration in which you may find more specific topics are family, friends, love, marriage, work, leisure, education, class, food, medicine, sex, death, art, religion, migration, drugs, technology, individualism, collectivism, war — basically the entirety of human experience.  For example, if you chose to explore the veneration of the cow in Hindu culture, you would next need to find sources that explore cow veneration from both insider and outsider perspectives and consider the following questions: How are these perspectives in conflict with one another? Can these two perspectives be reconciled? How are these perspectives in agreement? How does looking at this phenomenon from both perspectives lead to a richer and fuller understanding of the issue?

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