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Free Cultural Anthropology Essays

There are lots of areas of study out there but the one field that intrigues peoples and civilizations is the actual study of themselves and how they interact with other human cultures. I don't think that I would have enrolled for this class if it hadn't been for the minor requirement in my business major. Although this class started early in the morning and required a lot from me, I am glad that I took it. I grew up in two cultures simultaneously and the experiences I incurred have made me the person I am today. I think that it is important to familiarize yourself with other cultures not just in business but it will aid in smoother business transactions. In the following paragraphs I will discuss the breadth of cultural anthropology. Anthropology and the vast fields that are included in the study cannot be summarized in one paper. I will attempt to cover as much as I can in the following pages. I will also relate Anthropology to college students today and explain the importance of understanding other cultures. Finally I will elaborate on some of the presentations that I liked the most and offer helpful hints and comments on those groups.

The discipline of anthropology studies humankind in the cultures of the world, both past and present. This study includes humankind's physical development and the wide diversity of lifestyles people have created. The main goal of Anthropology is to understand objectively the reasons for both similarities and differences among humans, their behaviors and ideas. Using the central concept of culture, a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and material objects that members of a society use to cope with their world, anthropologists investigate and gather data on the human condition. Cultural anthropology is a broad subject and not only includes different ethic cultures but social economic cultures as well. Cultural Anthropology seeks to understand and describe each culture in its own perspective and in comparative perspective. Cultural anthropologists gather data through first-hand field study in other cultures and do cross-cultural comparative studies which provide insight and understanding of the modes and patterns of human life. In the group presentations, the group that did the Italian Mafia intrigued me and got me thinking about subcultures within cultures. It showed how deep cultural anthropology really is. Studying about Italian immigrants and their way of life is interesting as it is, but including a subgroup, a group that was not mentioned in official textbooks is amazing. The Mafia, which stands for family was originally practiced in Italy as a way of helping people and neighborhoods out. I remember seeing the video that the Mafia group did and the interview with one of the group member's fathers. He had the stereotypical New York accent and spoke very highly of the original beliefs of the Mafia. He did however note that he did not endorse or condone the illegal actions of the Mafia. I think this group did a very good job in their presentation. Their layout was very smooth and the topic of the Italian Mafia is always an attention grabber simply because of the nature of the topic. I think that the overall breadth of anthropology is meaningful to me because I think that the more a person knows about a topic the less they are to prejudge someone or something before getting to know about it. The presentations were an excellent way to introduce each group's topics and cultures in an entertaining and informative way. I don't think that I would have ever known anything about "Hindu Marriages" or "Single Family African American Homes" if it weren't for the presentations. I think that prejudice would be lessened if people were more educated with the cultures and traditions of other races. This would prevent possible ethnic clashes when hard times arise, for instance the LA riots. During the LA riots in South Central LA, African Americans destroyed Korean businesses using the Rodney King verdict as an excuse. A few months earlier, a black male entered a Korean owned convenience store and walked out with a case of beer without paying for it. The clerk, who was a family member shot and killed the victim. When it went to trial and he was found not guilty of murder, the black community was outraged and thus the hatred of Koreans by African Americans was started. If both groups had been educated more about each other's differences and culture this could have been prevented.

Cultural Anthropologists seek to understand both the cultural and individual bases for behavior; and how political, economic, and social factors affect both the individuals and various groups. Although statistical and other quantitative methods are used, much of Cultural Anthropology is qualitative-descriptive. Classical anthropological fieldwork requires prolonged residence (of one or more years) with a particular group in order to understand their way of life. Until World War II, Cultural Anthropology focused especially on non-Western cultures, including Native American Indians, gaining a unique perspective on human life and behavior. More recently this perspective and fieldwork method have been applied as well to Western culture. People with anthropological training are actively employed in many fields in which their anthropological training and cross-cultural perspectives are valuable. Some of the fields are: investment banking; international and domestic merchandising; health care; personnel work; government; advertising; broadcasting; law; social work; and many areas of business. Cultural anthropology is extremely relevant to students today more than ever because the United States is becoming more and more inhabited by cultures other than Anglo-Americans. Statistics predict that the Anglo race will become the "minority" in the next 30 years and that mostly Hispanics and African Americans will contribute the next ethic explosion in the US. Therefore it is crucial that the educated youth of today have a firm grasp of the cultures that are around them. International business will be improved and ethnic bonds will be formed through understanding the other's culture. This might not have been possible without the education of that group's culture. The presentation of the "Veil" was very informative because it showed me a different side of women wearing the veil. Before the presentation I looked at the veil as unfashionable attire worn by Middle Eastern women. After the presentation I realized that the veil represents the culture and magnifies the women who wear them. The American culture today does not really emphasize being pure in body before marriage and thus is the major reason why over 50% of marriages end in divorce after one year. The rate of divorce in Middle Eastern countries was next to none until recently. I believe that there is deeper meaning in this. The veil, to me signifies a pure unseen and untouched woman. A woman that is only to be enjoyed by her husband. As traditional and old fashion as that might seem, Middle Eastern marriages outlast most other cultures marriages in not having divorces.

I liked most of the presentations that I observed. They were all unique and informative in their own way. All of the groups put much effort and time in producing quality skits and presentations. My favorite ones were the Italian Mafia and the Second-Generation Vietnamese. I have always been intrigued and fascinated by the actions and way of the Mafia. Growing up I remember watching John Gotti on television and going through trial after trial only to be acquitted. I couldn't help but cheer him on even though he was a ruthless villain. Some of my favorite mob movies are Donny Brasco, Mobsters, and Godfather. They represented a different side of entreprenauership and business other than the Rockefellers and Vanderbilt's of their time. They had a different way of doing business and loyalty was valued above all else. The main difference between the mob and other successful "straight" businessmen was the mob acted like a family or group. They oftentimes helped out poor Italian immigrants in need and provided and found jobs for poor families. Most Italian immigrants saw the mob as a hero figure kind of like a Robin Hood. They rooted for the mob leaders when they were arrested by the law and backed them up when they could. The Second Generation Vietnamese group interested me not only because I am Vietnamese but also because I see first hand what the past two generations of Vietnamese people have gone through. When my parents came here in 1979 with no money and little knowledge of American culture and language, they knew that it was going to be a struggle to get our family back on our feet. My father worked two jobs to support my family and my mother worked 9-5 and raised us. My parents and other Vietnamese parent's generations had a strong work ethic and pushed their children to go to school. Most of the earlier second-generation kids did well in school and excelled in their professional fields because they had a strong family background with support and help. Today's Vietnamese generation is a little different however because while our parents were working 2 jobs and running businesses 18 hours a day they didn't have much time to spend with the younger kids and consequently a lot of young Vietnamese youths today are involved in gangs and teenage girls are getting pregnant. I think in general, they will be fine but they have to go through a different struggle than what I had to go through. When I speak to most Vietnamese kids today, the majority of them cannot or barely speak the language much less read or write in Vietnamese. In general I think that this group did a good job in presenting the differences between our parents and our generation.

Cultural anthropology allows students to look at other cultures differently and understand a little better what that group has gone through to get to where they are today. This course has been a great help to me as well as the people that I have spoken to. The instructor did a great job in laying out the course and although there were a lot of assignments to be completed I think that they were necessary in order to gain a full learning experience of the entire field. At first I thought the fact that most groups were composed of same ethnic groups would be boring and that they would only talk about how good their group was. After watching and attending all of the presentations I found that to be completely opposite. By having members of those groups of the same race, they were able to join and share different views and experiences and provide a better overall and complete presentation for the viewers. After reviewing and summarizing everything that I have learned during this semester, I can confidently say that I am more educated in other cultures than I would have ever dreamed. I believe that the understanding of the culture around you and the cultures that inhabit the same planet as you enables you to make better and more informed decisions in both business and social interactions.

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"Things Fall Apart" - short summary of the book, analysis of African Culture before by appearance of white man. Things fall apart, is the story of an Ibo village- Umuofia , which takes place in the late 1800s. Things Fall Apart analyzes the destruction of African culture by the appearance of the white man (Christian Missionaries) in terms of the destruction of the bonds between in... Full-text essay

There are a lot of differences between American and Indian culture and values. As we know today, the American culture is a mixture of different cultures. India, on the other hand, has its own culture and values. I would like to introduce the culture and value differences between these two countries. Americans believe that they can really control their future. They are more specific to plan things.... Full-text essay

Indians in eastern North America possessed no alcohol at the beginning of the colonial period. By 1800, so much alcohol flowed through the Indian villages east of the Mississippi that each community were forced to decide to take it or not and they made a tragic choice by taking it because it destroyed their cultural. The Indians who drank did so to the point of intoxication enjoyed the experience ... Full-text essay

Anthropologists trace the origin and evolutionary development of the human race through the study of changing physical characteristics and cultural and social institutions. Anthropological data, including that acquired by archeological techniques, may be applied to solving problems in human relations such as race and ethnic relations and education. People have always been interested in their past... Full-text essay

Anthropology may be dissected into four main perspectives, firstly physical or biological anthropology, which is an area of study concerned with human evolution and human adaptation. Its main components are human paleontology, the study of our fossil records, and human genetics, which examines the ways in which human beings differ from each other. Also adopted are aspects of human ecology, ethnolo... Full-text essay

Transcending the Barriers "My primary interest is to explain something out there that impinges me, and I would sell my soul to the devil if I thought it would help." Eric Wolf, 1987. Eric Wolf's interest into the realm of anthropology emerged upon recognition of the theorist- imposed boundaries, encompassing both theories and subjects, which current and past anthropological scholars had ... Full-text essay

the past six hundred years a culture and a society, dedicated for the most part to development and trade as the ultimate source of well being, began to expand all over the world. In a great number of ways this development, capitalism, became the most successful culture and society the world has ever seen. Capitalism ascended as a successful social means. It was successful as it provided a more ef... Full-text essay

The Aztecs are an ancient culture that had many customs and rituals that by modern standards are considered barbaric. Their culture was made up of different social classes, and was primitive yet very advanced. They were located in the mainland of Mexico, and their empire was quite vast over that area. Their culture began around 1100, and ended around 1520. The exact numbers of the Aztecs is not kn... Full-text essay

The Aztec Indians, who are known for their domination of southern and central Mexico, ruled between the 14th and 16th centuries. They built a great empire and developed very modernized ways of doing things. They had phenomenal architectural skills and waterway systems. The Aztec Indians also had very developed social class and government systems and practiced a form of religion. To begin with... Full-text essay

The evolution of bipedalism for the early hominids was merely an adaptation to the newfound lifestyle that early man began to lead. No longer was the body adapting to better climbing and life in the trees as this species was slowly becoming a hunting and gathering population. One of the main reasons for this change is the conservation of energy. As these hominids began to spend much of their day o... Full-text essay

the course of human history, anthropological findings have assisted archeologists in creating an excellent archeological record. Findings such as burial ceremonialism and certain behaviors that accompany this humanlike ritual are factors that may aid archeologists in the creation of past records. Through the ritual of burial ceremonialism of our ancestors we are able to determine certain behavior... Full-text essay

The two groups to be examined are the Chasidim and the Old Order Amish. We will begin with a brief look at the history of each group. The Chasidim, or Hasidim, as more commonly known, are a cult within the tradition of Judaism. The word “Hasid” derives from the Hebrew word for “pious”. Hasidism dates back to the early eighteenth century and originated in central and Eastern Europe. Its founder wa... Full-text essay

The value of making cross-cultural comparisons. Cultural anthropology encompasses all aspects of human beliefs, behaviors and ideas. What would the world be like without any knowledge of other cultures? Anthropologists study different cultures to be more understanding and accepting, more appreciative and to enrich our own culture. What is the "real" problem with the Ku Klux Klan? Perhap... Full-text essay

It is a big controversial subject that how much an international student should assimilate in the new culture. The result can move on a big scale. Depending on the person and its relationships it can cause depression. Two of my friends Aniko and Ivan are assimilating differently in the new culture. Aniko and Ivan share some similarities in the new culture. They both come here for the same reasons.... Full-text essay

The stories that are told in Distant Mirrors reflect how people can be so comfortable with the way they live that they will never realize what is around them. This does not happen unless they take the initiative to research the “outside world.” I focused on three stories. These three stories share in the fact that when the person researched a new culture they were in awe of the differences and si... Full-text essay

What is culture? Culture is set of learned behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideas that are characteristic of a particular society or population. In this paper, I will compare and contrast Pakistani and Vietnamese culture. Furthermore, I will discuss what I have learned from this exercise. In Vietnam traditional role of the woman in society has been that of nurturer: to stay within t... Full-text essay

Struggling against genital mutilation in Sudan In the country of Sudan, in Northern Africa, there is a procedure that is tradition and is performed on most women called female genital mutilation, or FGM, which used to be known as female circumcision. It has been a normal practice for generations, but is now the subject for international controversy on the morality and safety of this procedure. I... Full-text essay

In general, when considering third world countries, most would say that they have some very similar characteristics. Third world countries are often thought of as places that are impoverished, have significantly high birthrates, are economically dependent on advanced countries, and have not evolved socially in regards to equal rights issues. Although many of these characteristics do apply to Sri ... Full-text essay

I have learned many new theories I have never known before, there are a great many objectives and thoughts that I had never even knew existed before. Learning about the history of anthropology has opened my mind of thinking in all these different schools of thoughts. One thing that has shocked me is that I have learned the early evolutionists had never done fieldwork, but would make assumptions. ... Full-text essay

Studied since the discovery of the conspicuous mounds in Ross County Ohio, the Hopewell have been an archaeological enigma to many. The tradition is so named for the owner of the farm, Captain Hopewell, where over thirty mounds were discovered. Earlier studies focused more on the exotic grave goods such as precious metals, freshwater pearls, many of these objects had come from all corners of the ... Full-text essay

Role Of Tools In Human Evolution According to archeological and physical record, tool use has had an enormous effect in the transformation of proto humans into modern humans. What stimulated tool use was the proto humans intrest in new and easier ways to do things. With the introduction of tools, body morphology changed and reproductive fitness increased. Evolution did not happened over night. It ... Full-text essay

Government in Kamala Markandaya’s, "Nectar in a Sieve" might think of government as a bunch of sly politicians running the country from a little office in the White House. Or perhaps he or she pictures a mighty king sitting on the throne of his country, telling his loyal subjects and servants what to do. Even though both of these are very common descriptions of government, neither ... Full-text essay

In one paragraph describe the subjects of the documentary. Tell who they are, where the live, and why the film was made. Through the bittersweet music of the Gypsies, or Roms, and striking photography of India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain, ‘Latcho Drom’ does just what it sets out to do: evoke both the sorrow and the joy of this nomadic people, whose strong sense of... Full-text essay

The Makah are a Native Indian tribe who have recently decided to enact their treaty rights, and start to hunt for whales. These actions have caused an uproar in North America. The Natives state that they are not doing anything but exercising their legal rights. Opponents to their hunting of whales argue that the Makah are a group of uncivilized and inhumane individuals, and that they are harming n... Full-text essay

Plundering and carnage were the overlying results of the Spanish conquest of MesoAmerica beginning in 1519. The ensuing years brought many new "visitors," mostly laymen or officials in search of wealth, though the Christianity toting priest was ever present. Occasionally a man from any of these classes, though mainly priests would be so in awe of the civilization they were single handed... Full-text essay

In his book, The Forest People, Colin Turnbull achieves the taste and feel of life inside a Mbuti community, but in doing so offers a skewed anthropological look at the peoples of the African Congo. When reading the book, I did truly feel a part of the Mbuti world, but I also noticed a lack of anthropological accuracy when it came to portraying effect had on Pygmies by the lives and cultures of su... Full-text essay

Pastoralism is an economy based on herding. Pastoralists maintain herds of animals and use their products to support themselves directly and to exchange with other civilizations. It is especially associated with such terrain as steppes, rolling hills, grasslands, and the like-areas of low rainfall where cultivation is difficult without irrigation, but where grasses are plentiful enough to sup... Full-text essay

Variation in the choices of food on a daily, seasonal, and yearly basis is one of the greatest differences between primate species. Primate diets have generally been divided into three main food categories-fruit, leaves and fauna (including insects, spiders, and bird's eggs for the most part). The different diets also are referred to as Frugivores, Folivores, and Insectivores (fruits, leaves and i... Full-text essay

A sign system is representation through communication which in turn leads to a shared meaning or understanding. We hold mental representations that classify and organise the world (whether fact or fiction), people, objects and events into meaningful categories so that we can meaningfully comprehend the world. The media use sign systems through newspapers, magazines, television,internet, and the r... Full-text essay

Swazi’s are said to belong to the Nguni people who lived in central Africa and migrated to southern Africa. They speak the Siswati language , a language earlier spoken by the Nguni group of the Bantu family. They seem to have settle in Swaziland around five hundred years ago. They were then ruled by the British from the mid 19th century to mid 20th century. Swaziland is a monarchy and is ruled by... Full-text essay

There are many differences between the South American Yanomamo culture and the North American culture that we have adapted to, but just at there is culture diversity between us, we have some similarities. The ethnography, which is chose, was “Yanomamo” written by Napoleon A. Chagnon, anthropologists. Chagnon tells us how to it was to live among the Yanomamo family, political and warfare system ver... Full-text essay

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