I’m Sophia Fazal, an Anthropology and Journalism student here at UA. I am fortunate enough to have a hand in the UA-TMSE Anthropology Partnership this semester. I am happy to report that week 3 covered Cultural Anthropology and it was way too much fun! The students broke up into their created clans from last week and went over their clan fundamentals. They then designated a “Guardian of Culture,” and two ethnographers within their groups. While the “Guadian of Culture,” provided a discretionary background for his or her own culture, the ethnographers traveled to different clans to gain knowledge.
The Shadow Clan discussing ritual practices and drawing individual totems.
The Shadow Clan chant is a right of passage that every member must learn.
Ethnography is a technique used by anthropologists to learn and share about different cultures. The ethnographers were provided with a worksheet to take notes on the clan name, shared ancestor, appointed leader, ritual attire, and a totem/symbol or right of passage.
At the end of the lesson the ethnographers presented their information about the clans they had gone to study. Most of them were able to share basic information about the clans, but only a few were persistent enough to learn ritual secrets. Some clan members disagreed with the ethnographer’s presentations of their clans and chose to share with the class.
The Wolverine clan sharing their ritual practice, handshake with their ethnographers.
The exercise simulated the hardships anthropologists face when studying cultures from an etic perspective. The class discussed the importance of asking lots of questions, interviewing a variety of people, and staying non-biased toward cultures different from their own.
Next week the students are going to focus on Archaeology.