ANTHR 101 Assignments

This page contains the details of the assignments that make up your grade.

Please pay close attention to all of the details of these assignments and the different requirements for each assignment as you prepare and submit each one.

Grade Distribution

Final grades will consist of (1) reading self-report and reading quiz scores, (2) two short papers, (3) an ethnographic project, (4) three miscellaneous assignments, and (5) a final exam

Assignment Pct of Final Grade
1. Reading Self-Report and Quiz Scores 25
2. Two Short Papers 30
3. Ethnographic Project 20
4. Miscellaneous Assignments 5
5. Final Exam 20

Assignment Instructions

Click on each assignment category below to expand the detailed instructions.

General Instructions:

  1. All assignments will be turned in via Learning Suite unless notified otherwise. All documents should be turned in single-spaced and as a Microsoft Word document.
  2. Assignments are due by 11:59 PM on the due date.
  3. Late assignments will be docked 5% per day late that they are turned in.
  4. Failure to comply with the submission instructions detailed below will result in a reduced score on any assignment.

Reading the material prior to class and participation in discussions is essential for your engagement of this material and in order to learn to think anthropologically. You will therefore report daily on a five-point scale (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) how well you read the readings for each day listed on the reading schedule for that day, prior to class. This does not include "Suggested Further Readings" for any day that has any suggested further readings listed. Reading scores will be reported daily in class via Top Hat, and you must be present in class in order to report your score for the day’s reading. You must also attend the entire lecture or lab in order to report your score (i.e., reporting and leaving constitutes academic dishonesty and will result in a lower grade at the end of the course). You will use the scale described below to report your reading score for each day.

Critically, the Instructor and/or TA for your section will adjust your overall reading grade positively or negatively, depending on your performance in the Friday discussion sections and in your writing assignments. In other words, if it becomes apparent from your writing and participation (or lack thereof) in discussion sections that you have not engaged with the material at the level you reported, this portion of your grade will be adjusted negatively. We will use both qualitative and quantitative indicators to make these adjustments, at our discretion. For example, Dr. Hickman will correlate overall reading scores and reading quiz scores across the class, and detect students whose relationship between these two measures was outside of 95% of the population (approaching or exceeding two standardized deviations from the predicted value for overall Quiz Scores based on the overall Reading Self-Report Scores). In sum, we will look for evidence of students artificially inflating their reading scores and adjust the overall reading score accordingly.

Alternatively, students who actively engage in group discussions and positively contribute to the substance of discussions may receive a positive bump in their overall reading/participation score if it is apparent that their engagement with the material is higher than average. You do not have to understand 100% of the readings from each day (some are more complex than others), but you must have completely read it and sought to synthesize the main points in order to report a full score.

In addition to entering in a score each day, you will answer a quick reading quiz based on the day's readings using Top Hat. The three lowest quiz scores over the course of the semester will be dropped. The sum total of these self-report and reading quiz scores will constitute 25% of your final grade.

You will self-report a daily (for every class where readings are assigned) reading score on the quality and extent of your reading PRIOR to the class where we discuss those readings. Please use the the following scale when reporting these reading scores:

5 points- I have read the assignment deeply and thoughtfully (I looked at 95% of the words), and I feel like I have a good grasp of the main arguments in this piece, OR, even if I don't fully understand it, I have some well-thought questions and/or critiques of the piece.

4 points- I mostly read the piece(s) for today, and I have thought through some questions and implications of the reading.

3 points- I did a decent skim of the piece(s)(I looked at 50% of the words), and I think I at least read over the main points enough to engage to some degree in the discussion.

2 points- I looked at the reading for today superficially, but maybe only understand a point or two, since I didn't really get to reading it through completely.

1 point- Sorry, I didn't get to reading this one, but I really look forward to the discussion and deeply engaging with this text tomorrow! And, at least I am here in class soaking it up!

Making up missed reading scores: Self Reading-Reports and Reading Quiz Scores for any missed class period can be made up by following these three steps for each class that you want to make up:

  1. reading the selections for the day at the level of an A on the above scale (you must indicate this in the text of the makeup assignment), plus
  2. reading an additional two articles or chapters of at least 20 pages EACH (at least 40 pages total) from EITHER the suggested further readings anywhere on the syllabus OR the material cited in the references cited of that day's reading. You must read all of these at the level of an A on the reading scale (if you choose to read material cited in the current day's readings, you will be responsible for tracking down that material to read from the library).
  3. You must then write a 1,000 word essay demonstrating how these readings helped you learn to think anthropologically. Include in this assignment an indication that you read all of the articles/chapters at the level of an A on the reading scale, and provide full Chicago (Author-Date) formatted citations for the material that you read.

This reading score makeup process is the same for excused and unexcused absences. All materials are to be turned in to your TA no later than two weeks after the missed class period.

Learning to think anthropologically requires one to develop the capacity to write anthropologically. You will write two short papers of up to 1,500 words that respond to the following prompts. Each paper is due by the date listed below (as well as on the reading schedule). Each paper will constitute 15% of your final grade, for a total of 30% between the two papers. A copy of the grading rubric that will be used to grade these essays will be posted here.

First Essay Prompt (Essay Due: October 4th)

Provide a working definition of culture and explain why the cultural dimension to any element of human experience is always a critical consideration. Choose some phenomenon and describe its cultural implications. In other words, what would we be missing in our understanding of the phenomenon if we were not to consider it as something that is embedded in a particular cultural and historical context? Use concepts from the readings and lectures to make an effective argument that addresses these two issues (what is culture and why do we need to understand it in your example).

Points of clarification:

  1. Do not simply quote some other scholar's definition of culture. You may use quotes, but your definition must include your own explanation of what culture is and why it is important to understand the cultural dimensions of human experience.
  2. Do not just say that 'culture is everything' or 'culture is a web'. These statements are insufficient in and of themselves, and if you use something to this effect you must follow it up with a thorough definition and complete description of what you mean by this in your own words.
  3. A good approach to selecting a phenomenon may be to either a) choose some phenomenon that is familiar to you and describe it as a cultural phenomenon that might otherwise be thought of as a purely 'natural' one; or b) choose some phenomenon from another group that seems 'strange' or 'unnatural', and describe the cultural logic that makes it make as much sense as some parallel phenomenon from your own community.

Second Essay Prompt (Essay Due: November 25th)

You have heard Dr. Hickman say in lecture multiple times, "just because something is culturally constructed, that does not make that thing meaningless. In fact, it is the very cultural construction of it that makes it meaningful." At this point in the semester, we have discussed several "big" topics that embody this observation, including race, religion, and gender. Choose one of these topics — race, religion, or gender - and write an essays that either defends or critiques the idea that "Just because ___ is culturally constructed, this does not make it meaningless, but rather makes it meaningful." Draw from at least two of the readings on the syllabus as you make your argument either for or against the statement that you want to defend or critique (based on one of the three topics, race, religion, or culture).

Points of clarification:

  1. When you choose your topic, it is best to focus your argument on specific examples in order to make your case. For example, if you choose religion, do not just argue about religion in general, but use specific ethnographic examples that illustrate your argument. The details matter here.
  2. Be precise in your explanation. It is okay to agree or disagree with the authors we have read, or the arguments presented in lecture. What is most important is that you think through the details of your argument and lay them out clearly. Apply theoretical concepts to specific examples that make the details of your argument clear.
  3. Make sure you draw from or critique at least two pieces of literature from the syllabus. But also make sure that your argument is a novel argument, and not just repeating the arguments presented in lecture or in the readings. Come up with new examples or analyze previous examples in a new way that demonstrates your own critical thinking about the chosen issue.

Guidelines for writing the short papers

The maximum length of each paper should be 1,500 words. However, do not let the short length deceive you into thinking that this is a quick and dirty task. A quality grade will require a thoughtful essay that is succinct and packs a novel argument efficiently into the allotted space. This should require drafting a longer version and cutting extraneous detail in order to distill the paper down to the most concise version of the argument that you make based on the prompts.

Please follow these instructions in composing and formatting the document:

  • Include a title page with your name, title, the assignment title (i.e., "Second Short Paper") and the word count of the essay
  • The paper should be no more than 1,500 words and be single-spaced with numbered pages.
  • Use the Chicago (Author-Date) style guide for formatting and citation conventions. It is critical that you adequately document and cite all of your sources (including those you reference from the syllabus) and that the document is formatted properly in order to make it readable. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will dramatically affect your grade. Our Department of Anthropology website includes several other writing resources for your reference.
  • Make sure to save your assignment as a Microsoft Word document prior to uploading it to Learning Suite.

A copy of the rubric that will be used to grade these response papers can be found here.

Submission Instructions: Please upload your single-spaced paper as a Microsoft Word document to the gradebook in Learning Suite by 11:59 PM on the due date. Failing to follow these submission rules may result in your paper not being considered turned in "on time" or not graded in a timely manner.

Beyond summarizing the arguments, positions, or data in the readings, you need to stake a position or offer a novel critique to the readings you include in each paper. The selection of particular readings from lectures or the syllabus is up to you, but your sources and your argument do need to cohere around a specific topic. You may use external sources also, but all sources need full citations in the papers (the references cited does not count against your word count).

You will also carry out an ethnographic project where you engage in first-hand ethnographic research and an anthropological analysis of some topic. You may conduct data collection and analysis as a group (consult your TA if you decide to do this), if you would like to have access to a broader base of observations and work with others in your lab section on a similar topic. However, the field note and interview summaries and the final paper will all be written and graded individually. This project will be broken down into the following constituent parts, and the total project will account for 20% of your final grade.

Topic: Choose and customize one of the following topics, or select your own with the TA's approval.

  • Talking to the ancestors. Systematically research how people in some local community (e.g., BYU undergrads, residents of Utah County, a ward, another local congregation) view their relationships with ancestors. Try to understand how they actually experience relationships with the dead. For example, do they talk to them at their gravesites? Can one's deceased relatives or friends provide a spiritual medium with higher powers? Do they watch over us in protection or overseeing our moral action? Dig behind explicit theological perspectives to see how people actually experience relationships with ancestors and the dead.
  • Preparing for the apocalypse. Investigate the apocalyptic or millenarian views and experiences of some group of people. Imagining the end of the world as we know it is common, not just in American society, but around the world. Visions of the apocalypse range from imaginations of the "U.S. constitution hanging by a thread," humanity's existence being challenged by a rising generation of robot overlords, the extinction of the human race by cataclysmic climate change, an impending utopia to be ushered in by UFOs who will deliver our world from suffering, etc. etc. Some communities are more concerned with these issues than others, and each community develops ways of "reading the signs of the times" that are changing. Find some intentional community that shares a vision of end times, or some common apocalyptic vision, and study their worldview. What are the signs that provide evidence of their apocalyptic worldview? How are they preparing for the end? What are the utopian and/or dystopian fantasies that drive the worldview? What does 'preparing' for the apocalypse look like? Is the apocalypse experienced as something that is practically very far off and not calling for regular daily attention to it, or is it experienced as imminent? Try to get a sense of how people in this group experience the impending (or far off) apocalypse and precisely how they imagine it.
  • What is science? Investigate the variety of implicit beliefs about 'science' among a group of people (e.g., biological or physical science majors, engineers, humanities majors, a local non-scientific community). Try to understand what they imagine science to be, what they think it does in the world, and what part it does or should play in society. For example, what are their views of climate science? Technological progress? Biomedical science? What are the perceived intentions of scientific communities? Is science understood as an 'objective' endeavor, or is it riddled with special interests? Try and understand how a particular group of people think about these things and try to excavate their implicit ideas and the cultural models that guide their thinking about contemporary science.
  • If you would rather propose another topic as the focus of your ethnographic project, write a proposal of 300-400 words and submit it to your TA for consideration. This proposal is the prospectus assignment that is detailed below. These topics have to be approved by the TA before you begin conducting research on your topic.

Points of clarification:

  1. What do I mean by "a group of people?" In the early section of this course we will discuss what culture is, and talk about what 'cultural models' are. Cultural models are shared by a group of people that have some common bases of experience in the world that provides them at least some common understanding of that world. The 'group of people' that you choose to study for this project must have some common base of experience that relates to the thing that you are studying. For example, biology majors are all being socialized into a discipline together (despite their varying backgrounds), which likely gives them at least some common view of what science is.
  2. Try to stay focused on a tight group of questions. It is very easy to get so diffused with the questions that you ask that you don't end up with a coherent set of observations for your analysis. Focus on a particular group of people to address your questions (so that you can document common experiences among them), but also focus your questions and observations so that they cohere around a particular topic rather than being scattered all over the place.
  3. Keep a journal about your observations. Record your interviews so that you can go back to the important things that your participants said or did. You will use the Field Note and Interview templates provided below to submit your observations for grading and to share them with the rest of your group (assuming that you share data on a similar project with a group as described above).
  4. Use academic literature that you find to think about how you will research your topic. What did the author of the articles or chapters that you read do to study their topic? What evidence did they collect and use to make their argument about the cultural group or phenomenon that they were studying? Use these as a model for your own project. **If you do not know how to search for relevant academic literature, please visit the Anthropology Subject Guide on the library website for resources or consider contacting a librarian to learn how to do so.

What will I actually turn in?

1. Research prospectus (Due by September 20th). This will be worth 2% out of the total 20% of the Ethnographic Project. You need to decide on one of the topics to be studied. You will find three scholarly articles, books, or book chapters on the topic. You will turn in a 300-400 word summary of the topic to be studied, along with a list of the Chicago (Author-Date) formatted citations for all of the sources that you found on the topic.

2. Field journal and interview summaries (turned in individually, but shared with group if you so choose, Due November 1). This will be worth 8% of the total 20% of the Ethnographic Project. It is recommended that you consult with your TA as you begin to collect data and decide what you will interview and observe, what you will talk about/observe, etc. You will keep a journal and record your interviews. The expectation is that you will spend at least 5 hours conducting interviews or participant observation for your project (at least two hours of each), in addition to writing up the summary of your data. Use this document to log the time you spent conducting participant observation and interviews, which you will upload to Learning Suite when you turn in the results of your analysis. You will turn in a copy of your journal and any interview materials to the TA for grading. These will be uploaded to the Gradebook in Learning Suite for the TA. Use the following template for reporting your participant observation and interview results. This format is required for both interviews and field observations. In addition to providing raw data (observations, transcript from interviews) you do need to provide some evidence that you have begun to think anthropologically about your data. An example of what this might look like can be found here. If you decide to coordinate with others in your lab section, each member of the group may share these materials with the rest of your group via Digital Dialog on Learning Suite, which your TA will have to help you coordinate.

3. Final write-up (or video) (turned in and graded individually, Due December 5th). This will be worth 10% of the total 20% of the Ethnographic Project. This is where you demonstrate your capacity to 'think anthropologically' about the topic that you have been studying empirically. This write-up should entail your analysis of the cultural dimensions of the topic that you researched with the people that you interviewed or observed. It should draw from concepts in the course readings, lectures, and the literature that you collected as well as the observations and interviews that you collected. The point is to dig down to the cultural models and assumptions inherent in the things that people said and did as you were studying them. Please consult the grading rubric as you write up your analysis. If you go over a rough draft of your analysis with your TA at least one week prior to the deadline, a full 1% will be added to your final grade for the ethnographic project (essentially adding 1% to your final grade for the course). This paper should be a minimum of 1,500 words and no longer than 2,000 words.

If you choose, you may produce an ethnographic film based on your research instead of a final paper. The criteria for the project will be the same as a written analysis, but you may choose to use audiovisual presentation to convey what you learned in your ethnographic project. If you choose to produce a short film, it must be accompanied by a short summary (no more than 500 words) of the film and the significance of your findings. The film itself must be shorter than 15 minutes, and it must include observational footage from your ethnographic research (a modified rubric will be provided if you choose to submit a film instead of a final write-up). If you choose to produce a short film, the style and creativity of the film, as well as the ethnographic and analytic content, will both be considered in grading your final project. You may work in groups of two people (and no more) to produce the film, with prior approval of your TA(s). However, if you choose to do this, then your grade for the final product will be the same for both students.

    Elements to include in the individual analysis paper:

  • Start with an introduction summarizing the conclusions or what you will do or argue in the paper.
  • Provide some description of the observations or other data that you made.
  • Describe the cultural models or mythical reality that you believe to be at work in the lives of the people you did research with. In other words, what has to be true about the world for these data to make sense in the lives of the people you researched?
  • Draw some summary conclusions about what you learned on your topic. This should demonstrate your capacity to 'think anthropologically' about the participant observation and interviews that you did.

Miscellaneous assignments:

There are four miscellaneous assignments. The first is required of all students, but the subsequent three assignments can be chosen from a list of options.

The required miscellaneous assignment is to attend the University Forum (speaker: Kao Kalia Yang) on September 24th and write up a short response (using the guidelines below), which you will submit via Learning Suite by September 27th. This assignment cannot be made up.

In addition to the September 24th forum response, please select any three of the following activities to attend and write up a short analysis of it during the semester. The four of these write-ups together will account for 5% of your final grade. If you choose one option from one category with multiple possibilities (i.e., a talk, a church service, or Comicon) you can still do another event from that same category. Please be aware that some events are only available at certain times.

After attending the event write up an analysis of approximately 400 words using this template. This write-up should include an astute ‘anthropological analysis’ of the event. For example, you may critique what someone was saying using some of the theoretical perspectives that we have been studying, or you may analyze some cultural phenomenon by trying to describe its own cultural logic, or you may describe how it made you aware of cultural assumptions that you had previously thought as purely ‘natural.’ In the end, your write up of each analysis must demonstrate an application of concepts learned in Anthropology 101.

These three write-ups (besides the write-up on the University Forum that is due on Sept 27th) are due on October 11th, November 8th, and December 9th, respectively. However, we recommend turning them in early if you complete the task early, so that your analysis of the event is fresh. These will be turned in via Learning Suite using the above template. A grading rubric for the Miscellaneous Assignments can be found here.

We will add to this list as things come up. If you want to propose another idea that is in the spirit of these activities, take it to your TA.

  • Attend an academic talk on campus and write a brief analysis of the talk based on the things you have learned in Anthropology 101. In other words, ‘think anthropologically’ about the talk and write a short response summarizing your analysis. This must be a formal academic lecture, such as in a department symposium, guest lecture series, etc. The Department of Anthropology lists its speakers on its Google Calendar and Facebook page.
  • Listen to the BBC World Service News and/or programming for 1 week. You must listen for at least 30 minutes per day (not necessarily consecutive) for at least 5 days in a span of 7 days. You may listen while you walk, workout, cook, etc., as long as you are actively listening to the broadcast. Write a response that describes how listening to global news is different from listening to American national or local news. What are the different assumptions that go into portraying "what is going on in the world" as compared to American national or local news?
  • Attend the church or worship service of another religious or spiritual community (any group that subscribes to a metaphysics different form yours would count, such as an atheist reading group if you are NOT an atheist) that is not the religion you practice and provide an analysis based on the things you have learned in Anthropology 101. You can find a list of churches and organizations here
  • Go to the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. Pick up the handout at the secretary’s desk (tell them you are from Anthropology 101). Go through the exhibit with the handout and write an analysis on what you found, thought, experienced, etc.
  • Attend one of the following and write an anthropological analysis of your experience:
    • Comic Con in Salt Lake (http://saltlakecomiccon.com/)
    • Octoberfest at Snowbird (http://www.visitutah.com/things-to-do/events/oktoberfest)
    • Utah’s Indigenous Day at the Utah Museum of Natural History (http://heritage.utah.gov/utah-indian-affairs/utahs-indigenous-day-celebration)
  • Watch an ethnographic film on Ethnographic Film Online through the library website. The film must be at least 45 minutes long (or two films equalling more than 45 minutes). Analyze the ethnographic film(s) using concepts and ideas you have learned in the course.
  • Attend a festival or other event at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork or Salt Lake City (http://www.utahkrishnas.org/). Consider the cultural significance of what is happening at the temple, as well as why people from various backgrounds come to the temple. For example, why is the festival of colors so popular and what are attendees getting out of this event?

This course will also include a final essay exam at the conclusion of the course. The final exam will account for 20% of your final grade.

This essay exam will be hosted in the BYU Testing Center from December 14th to December 18th, and you will be required to purchase and bring a Blue Book in which you will write your short essay responses, and writing utensils to write with. Further details about the exam will be provided later in the semester. The Final Exam cannot be taken early or late. A grading rubric that will be used to grade each final exam essay (on a 10-point scale) can be downloaded here.

Slides from lectures can also be viewed here. Be aware that sometimes slides show up on more than one lecture.