Cultural Ethnographic Interview and Paper





Midterm Paper

– Cultural Ethnographic


and Paper


See Due Dates


50 points


As a student in this CDL course, you will be


to complete both a Midterm & Final Paper. You cannot pass the course without a midterm and final paper.


This midterm cultural ethnographic paper is a report on an organization, family or group that you picked to


and report the answers to the majority of the questions listed below.


You will be acting like a pseudo-anthropologist in the field conducting an ethnographic interview (see book for description of this process), and it is an important research effort of this course. Many students report this as an excellent opportunity to learn more about a co-worker, friend, or casual acquaintance’s culture.



do not

need outside resources for this paper, such as information from journals, books or the Internet.


Write a

2 ½ -3 ½ page, single-spaced paper


Cultural Ethnographic Research

on a topic that would allow you to interview and explore in detail a family, society, organization/group or culture of your choice, and

must be one different than your own.

(See List Below). Choosing to interview someone from another culture will allow each of you to do some ethnographic work that will make your midterm cultural ethnographic paper more interesting and relevant and parallel work an anthropologist might do in the field.


Students must incorporate at least

five cultural anthropological concepts/terms,

issues or topics discussed. Use your book as a guide for anthropological terms. The terms highlighted at the bottom of the page are anthropological concepts. Some examples are kinship terms, marriage rites, how lineage is traced (matrilineal, patrilineal), descriptions of rites of passage, or linguistic terminology.


Post (no attachments) your paper on Blackboard under


, Midterm Paper.

The best way to approach this assignment is:


Choose a family, group, or organization; one that you are not a part of but interests you.


Get permission to interview that person or group (please avoid interviewing a minor under 18 years old without a parent present).


Prepare interview questions that would allow you to derive at any of the following information.


Tell me who you interviewed (use a fake name if protecting identity of informant), their age, gender, in what situation did you interview them (location), and why you chose them.

Make sure you write comments only based on their single perspective


which is influenced by their generation and gender. Be caref

ul not to generalize

about the entire culture from only 1 informants information.


Introduce the culture from which your informant comes from (Where in the world it is located, what is the population like)


Describe wedding, & marriage practices & expectations, (Matchmaking, role of divorce, monogamy, abstinence, dowry, family obligations, live with parents until married)


Views on birth (showers, baptisms, ceremony for naming, circumcision, out of wedlock births, adoption, abortion)


Language (expectations, reading and writing, body language)


Gender roles & Age Expectations (jobs, children)


Views on Death (heaven, mourning, spirits/ghosts, burial within 24 hours, cremation, wake, celebration)


Describe a typical dinner experience. (Who is invited? What food is served? What conversation topics are discussed? What topics are avoided?)


Describe the main festivals and holidays. (rituals, songs, food, religious significance)


Religious beliefs (general or specific)


Taboos (Are there any? Tattoos, piecing, eating certain foods, incest, homosexuality)


Political and/or Economic situation of culture


Growing Up (Enculturation into America possibly)


Function of Music, Dancing & The Arts (Certain instruments played? Specific dances? Art style?)


Role of Sports in the culture (rugby, soccer, caber tossing, rowing, baseball)


Future (What About Their Culture’s Future?)

3. Record the answers to the above questions (either use a laptop, tape recorder or hand-written field notes)

4. Write-up a cultural ethnographic reflection detailing who you interviewed and what were their answers in a narrative description with insightful comments from an anthropological perspective. In order to receive the highest grade, make sure to incorporate terms and ideas from your book.


The following families, organizations or groups are

just some examples

of persons or groups that can be chosen to interview. You may also interview just one person from a culture different than your own.


– Two or more people related by blood, marriage or adoption. Cultural Families may be:

Samoans, Canadians, Nigerians, Norwegians, Swedish, Austrians, Kenyans, Puerto Ricans, Italians, Chinese, European Americans, Cubans, Polish, Japanese, Iranian, Korean, Vietnamese, French, Mexicans, Spanish, Native Americans, Haitians, Russians, Indonesians, Australians, Brazilians, Indians, Pakistanis, Greeks, Germans, Pacific Islanders, Turkish, Egyptians, and many, many, many more.


– Group of persons united for some purpose (Churches, Clubs, Political Parties)

Women or Men’s Rights Organizations, Association of Retired People (AARP), Animal Rights, Soak Gakkai International Organization,Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gay Rights, Human Rights Organizations, and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD)


– An organized group(s) who generally; share a common territory, language, and who act together, for collective survival and well-being; number of persons, animals or things together. Groups can be separated by gender, age, common interests, and/or social rank.

Amish, Gypsies, Stratified Societies, Girls & Boys Club, Junior Achievement, Masons, Jack & Jill, and Fraternal Order of Police

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