September 17th, 2013: Ethnography

For our second meeting, the students broke into their clans again and reviewed their clan characteristic they had created last week. Then each clan had to designate an “ethnographer” that would travel to another clan to learn about their culture and create an ethnography. Ethnography is the way anthropologists study and teach others about different cultures. After the ethnographers visited the other clans and recorded the clan name, their shared ancestor, who their leader was (or if they had a leader), their attire, a clan totem/symbol, and any other identifying features, the entire class reconvened in a big circle. Each ethnographer got the chance to stand up and tell the class about the foreign clan that they got to study. The clans being described were then able to critique the depiction of their clan. Most ethnographers got it pretty close to correct, but in some cases clans felt that they weren’t represented completely accurately. The aim of this exercise was to give the students an idea of how difficult it is to be an outsider learning about and describing a culture different from their own. We also emphasized that anthropologists only work with the cultures they study for a limited amount of time.  It is impossible to learn everything there is to know about a culture during this time.  Additionally, cultures change over time and questions that the researchers ask influence the answers they get.

The Wizard Clan symbol
The Wizard Clan symbol
The Magical Rainbow Zebra clan symbol
The Magical Rainbow Zebra clan symbol
The Ice clan's symbol
The Ice clan’s symbol

 

 

 

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