Searching cultures—finding uncommon commonalities | ANTH 3001 – Indigenous Peoples in the Modern World | Walden University
How can one learn about culture? Anthropology involves examining other cultures and documenting human behavior. Sometimes it involves comparing societies in order to increase self-understanding. Comparing observations of an indigenous culture with another culture can be complicated, but may be unavoidable as a participant observer who—no matter the efforts at objectivity—will most likely see things through his or her own culture. Anthropologists often learn about indigenous groups by examining cultural elements, including language, values, symbols, rituals, customs, and beliefs. These are elements that help define a culture. In this Discussion, you compare a thought, belief, or ritual from your own culture with that of an indigenous culture.
Review this week’s assigned readings in the course texts.
- Select one indigenous group from the reading and review the cultural elements of that group.
- Compare a thought, belief, or ritual that you practice in your own culture to a thought, belief, or ritual in an indigenous culture.
- Consider how comparing aspects of two different cultures can be problematic or useful.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post one paragraph that describes your comparison of a thought, belief, or ritual in your own community with that from an indigenous culture. In a second paragraph, discuss the challenges in comparing thoughts, beliefs, or rituals from two communities in this way. Explain how this comparison might be useful.
Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s Learning Resources, or something you have read, heard, seen, or experienced.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
- Welsch, R.L. & Vivanco, L.A. (2021). Cultural anthropology: Asking questions about humanity (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
- Chapter 1, “Anthropology” (pp. 5-20)
- This chapter focuses on Anthropology as a global discipline.
- Peters-Golden, H. P. (2012). Culture sketches: Case studies in anthropology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
- Chapter 1, “The Azande: Witchcraft and Oracles in Africa” (pp. 1–19)
- The chapters from this text provide case study analyses of individual groups around the globe.
- International Work Group for Indigenous AffairsLinks to an external site.. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.iwgia.org
This website provides information on where indigenous peoples exist around the world.
- Document: Identifying Indigenous Groups Worksheet (Word document)Download Identifying Indigenous Groups Worksheet (Word document)
This document provides context for this week’s topic.
- TEDTalks. (Producer). (2003). Wade Davis: Dreams from endangered culturesLinks to an external site.[Video]. Available from http://www.ted.com/talks/wade_davis_on_endangered_cultures
Note: The approximate length of this piece is 22 minutes.
Davis is a National Geographic Explorer, and he shares his experiences with indigenous cultures.
- VICE Life. (2018, February 1). Inside an Apache rite of passage into womanhoodLinks to an external site. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Cx_9YDQEc
Note: The approximate length of this piece is 11 minutes.