| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.

View
 

Artifact Analyses

Page history last edited by Andrew Winckles 10 years, 3 months ago

Cultural Artifact Analyses

 

 

Assignment Description

 

The word anthropology is derived from the greek word anthropos, which means human.  As humans, we tend to live together in distinct communities, which develop customs, beliefs, and practices that define who they are and help them understand the world. Thus, what cultural anthropologists really study is human behaviors and communities.

 

This assignment is designed to get you to begin to think about the communities you belong to - religious, cultural, geographic, imagined, cyber, etc. - and the artifacts that define these communities, as a means to developing a perspective on or interest in that community which will drive your research and writing over the course of the semester. 

 

This analysis will be broken into three distinct essays:

 

Essay One: The Community Analysis

 

In this essay you will begin to think about the different communities you are a part of.  These communities could be physical spaces, online communities, or even "imagined" communities.  Some examples include:

 

  1. Religious communities - mosques, churches, synagogues, religious cultural centers
  2. Ethnic and/or Racial Communities
  3. Academic Communities
  4. Physical Spaces - museums, workplaces, locations of cultural artifacts
  5. Communities Organized around interests - runners, cyclists, bikers, video games, sports, books, etc
  6. Online Communities - discussion boards, blogs, Second Life, online gaming communities
  7. "Imagined" Communities - communities that have no location or space, but that tie people together over space and time.

 

After selecting one of these communities, you will then work to outline its predominant features and beliefs.  What holds this community together?  What do its members have in common?  What are its most important traditions and practices?  In the case of a physical or religious community, you might want to observe the community's practices and describe what happens in the community over the course of an hour or so.

 

After detailing your community's defining practices, reflect on why this community might engage in these practices.  What purpose do they serve?  How do they help define this community?  Hold them together?  The best executions of this essay will look beneath the surface of the community to discover the why of how the community operates not simply describe its outward practices and conventions.

 

This essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words and is due by Sunday 1/23.

 

 

Essay Two: Audio/Visual Artifact Analysis

 

One of the defining features of every community or culture are certain artifacts that are important and symbolic to the community.  For this essay you will select one of the following audio/visual artifacts for analysis:

 

  1. A movie, episode of a television show, video game, or music video that deals with important issues in your community. 
  2. A speech or other visual presentation (you could probably find these on YouTube) that deals with an issue in your community.
  3. A song or album that was either created in your community or deals with issues in the community.
  4. A piece of artwork that defines or is symbolic to a community.

 

After selecting your artifact, you will work to identify why it is important and how it makes its argument.  This is not intended to be a review of the artifact (that will come later), but an analysis of why it is important, how it is constructed, and how it works to reach its intended audience within the community.  As such, you will need to articulate a clear thesis that identifies the key rhetorical features of the artifact, describes the formal elements of the artifact, and then work to analyze how those features interact with reality.

 

This essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words and is due by Sunday 1/30.

 

Audio/Visual Artifact Analysis Student "A Paper" Example

 

Audio/Visual Artifact Analysis Rubric

 

 

Essay Two: Textual Artifact Analysis

 

Written texts are also an important part of how communities relate to and communicate with each other.  Generally speaking, all communities have different rules for how to communicate which produce different kinds of texts. For this essay you will select one of the following written texts for analysis:

 

  1. A book or book chapter (fiction or non-fiction) that deals with an important issue or idea to your community.
  2. A extended magazine, newspaper, or journal article (must be at least 10 pages long) that deals with issues in your community.
  3. A poem, collection of poems, or song lyrics that deal with issues in your community.
  4. A series of blog or discussion board posts that discuss important issues to your community.

 

After selecting your artifact, you will work to identify why it is important and how it makes its argument.  This is not intended to be a review of the artifact (that will come later), but an analysis of why it is important, how it is constructed, and how it works to reach its intended audience within the community.  As such, you will need to articulate a clear thesis that identifies the key rhetorical features of the artifact, describes the basic argument of the text, and then work to analyze how those features interact with reality.

 

This essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words and is due by Sunday 2/13.

 

Textual Artifact Analysis Rubric

 

Previous Student Examples

 

 

MLA Formatting Example

 

Taken together, these essays are worth 6% (2% each) of your final grade.

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.