ANT 351 Week 3 Assignment Final Paper Preparation Part II – Research Project (Ashford)
Final Paper Preparation: Part II. Due by Day 7. In your textbook, Eller (2013, p.7) notes that, "Anthropology does not approach religion to falsify it nor to verify it nor even to judge it. Anthropology is not the seminary, intending to indoctrinate the student into any one particular religion. It is not apologetics, attempting to prove or justify some religion; neither is it an exercise in debunking any or all religion."
Keep this perspective in mind while conducting your observations and writing your paper. The purpose of this assignment is not to defend/debunk or judge any particular religious practice. Your goal is to understand the religious event from the perspective of those who practice it, while still acknowledging your role as an outside observer with imperfect knowledge of their perspective. Demonstrate a culturally relativistic perspective throughout the paper.
This week, you will conduct ethnographic research on a religious, spiritual, or ritual event. In Week Four or Five, based on instructor feedback and the questions that will come up as you do further research, you will return to your field site or a related site to conduct further participant-observation. Plan ahead for your follow up observations so that you will be able to set something up.
Your paper must:
Explain how you have adhered to the Statement on Ethics of the American Anthropological Association
in conducting your fieldwork. From whom did you receive permission to observe the event? How will
you protect the identities of those involved and deal with issues of confidentiality?
Provide information that was compiled in Week Two about the event observed. Be sure to include the
following required elements: Where did you conduct your observation (be specific)? When was it conducted? Whom did you interview? Who attended the event? Make note of gender, ethnicity, class, age, and economic status (when possible).
Describe the ritual. Be sure to include the following required elements: How do people act before, during, and after the ritual? Observe special movements or gestures. Observe the environment (setting, art, and other objects around). Ask about any special words people utter in prayer or chanting, its order, and its message. Is there a particular religious official? Who is in charge? If there is someone “in charge” of the event, how is this manifested? Does this person act or dress differently from the rest of the people at the event? What is the flow of the event? Do people participate individually or en masse? What is the express purpose of the event?
Uses library research. After conducting participant observation of a religious event and based on the data you have, you will now add two more scholarly sources. Use articles from peer-reviewed journals, eBooks from Ashford University Library or another database or printed books to research information about the religious event you’ve observed. Select scholarly sources that can help you make arguments about the religion’s tenets and principles and the practice of the members at the event you observed. Your references page should now have at least four scholarly sources, in addition to the textbook. In week Five, you will add one more to these. Also analyze the ritual using terms, concepts, and examples in the textbook. Utilizing your library research, provide answers to the following questions:
o To what extent are the religious practices of the people representative of their religion? What branch or sect of faith do the practices represent?
o Do the practices of the people differ from the principles and tenets of their religious doctrine?