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Creating a Culture: Directions for Your Essay

The Content of Your Paper


One of the requirements of this course is a minimum three page essay. For this assignment, you
will create your own culture, designing a history and environment, as well as political, economic,
social, and belief systems. Your culture will experience dramatic change due to the introduction
of a new technology. Your essay should detail how this change will affect your culture.

One half of the essay should describe your culture before the event, and the remaining half
should discuss how the new technology altered the political, economic, social, and belief systems
of your culture.

The essay is about social change. The aim of the project is to enable you to combine creative
thinking while demonstrating your knowledge of anthropological concepts. Your culture may
live on Cloud 9 or in the sewer pipes under the city. It must, however, make sense. By making
sense, I mean for example that your culture cannot have great cities and subsist by hunting and
gathering (unless you provide some mechanism that allows for that possibility).

Grading Criteria
You must incorporate at least l0 of the anthropological terms that we have learned this term into
your essay. See last page for a list of acceptable terms. Be sure to clearly demonstrate that you
know what the term means. Also, be sure to underline your terms.
Correct example: the pastoralists on Creatania engage in unicorn herding as a way of life. One
aspect of their social system is patrilineal descent which means that only males inherit unicorns
from their parents. Unicorns are important to marriage arrangements because they are used for
bridewealth. The groom and his family present them as gifts to the bride and her family before
or during marriage.
Incorrect example: the pastoralists on Creatania practice patrilineal descent and bridewealth.
(Although this sentence uses the underlined terms correctly, it is unacceptable because it does not
demonstrate knowledge of the terms.)

Grading Feedback
You have the option of turning in a first draft for suggestions for improvements at least two
weeks prior to the final due date. No papers will be accepted after the last day of class.
Grading will be as follows:
You will receive l0 points for proper usage of l0 terms. Five points will be subtracted from your
score for each term that you use incorrectly.
Your paper will also be evaluated for how well it fulfills the assignment, e.g., full credit will not
be given to papers that are too short, too long, lack social change, or that do not make sense.

The Format
Your essay must conform to the following specifications:
... it must be typed and spell checked (some grammatical errors will be forgiven but there will be
no mercy for spelling errors;
... you should use a 12 point font (this document is in 12 point font);
... left/right, top/bottom margins should not exceed 1 inch;
... it must be double spaced throughout;
... it must not exceed five pages;

Examples of Anthropological Terms to Use in Your Paper:


You can also use any listed in your book

patrilocality

sexual selection

hunter-gatherers

demography

lactation

bipedalism

social stratification

estrus

population pressure

origin myths

subsistence strategy

creationism

sexual dimorphism

epidemiology

theory

evolution

ethologist

egalitarian

conflict resolution

neolithic

megalithic

taxonomy

natural selection

paleolithic

misognyn

population density

hominid

prehistory

human universal

foraging

innovation

endogamy

matrilineal

cosmology

polygyny

patriarchy

supernatural

monotheism

polygamy

patrilineal

fallow

assimilation

neolocality

gender

pastoralists

anthropomorphism

bridewealth

matriarchial

secularization

horticulture

reciprocity

biodiversity

meritocracy

rite of passage

achieved status

caste

ethnobotany

socialization

material culture

creole

ethnography

non-material culture

holism/holistically

ritual

cultural relativity

participant observation

diffusion

dowry

genealogy

cultural contact

feminization of poverty

ideology

bilateral descent

ethnocentrism

human rights

acculturation

aboriginal

serial monogamy

market economy

deforestation

artifacts

ascribed status

conspicuous consumption

fossils

carrying capacity

applied anthropology

cross-cultural comparison