Anthropology Ritual Observation, philosophy homework help

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Anthropology 121 Ritual Observation Project Introduction

This project has three purposes: (1) to have you experience a religion other than your own, (2) to have you apply anthropological principles learned in class to a specific situation, and (3) to have you experience anthropological fieldwork.

Choosing a Religion for Study

Your first task will be to choose a religion. Because we live in a large metropolitan area, we are surrounded by a great diversity of religious practices. This makes this project possible and exciting. Some questions you may ask in selecting a religion to study are: Do you know someone who could be an informant? Do you know the location of a specific church/temple/etc.? Will the ceremony be at least primarily in English? An answer of “no” to any of these questions does not mean you cannot study that religion; it just means it may be a bit more difficult. If you have no idea what religion you would like to study, consider looking at The Encyclopedia of American Religions. Possibilities include Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist, Adventists (including Jehovah’s Witness), Fundamentalist, Mormon, Coptic, Greek or Russian Orthodox, Unitarian, Christian Science, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, New Age, Pagan, or Wicca. Note that with certain religions you will need to make a further choice between different subgroups (e.g., Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstruction Judaism). The paper is not a book report and no specific amount of reading is required. However, you are responsible for finding out the meanings associated with the different aspects of the ritual (i.e., you need to know enough to do the analysis required of you). Possible sources include an encyclopedia entry, a chapter in a book on world religions, or even a children’s book. You might also find a booklet in the Lobby or Gift Shop of the church/temple. Good information can often be found online. Another way of obtaining information is to attend or discuss the ritual with an informant who is a participant in the religion. Make sure to cite any sources you use!

Doing the Fieldwork

The ritual can be a public ceremony such as a Sunday morning church service, a rite of passage such as a wedding, or even a ritual held in a home. Make sure that it is a religious ritual and substantial enough to do an analysis. Make plans ahead of time to go to your site. If you do not have an informant to go with, call ahead and make arrangements. Tell them who you are and why you want to attend, find out when and where services are, and ask any additional questions such as how to dress. If you are unsure about this last point, err on the side of being too conservative. Your dress and behavior reflects on the college.

Attend the ritual, watching for things that will help you answer the questions for the project. Consider discretely taking notes at the ceremony if this is allowed. However, never make a recording without the permission of the person you are speaking with and do not record the ritual without the permission of the person in charge. If you are unable to take notes during the ritual, make sure to write down your observations as soon as possible following the ritual. Keep all of your field notes. I reserve the right to ask you to turn them in if I have some questions about your work. If you asked for permission to attend the ritual, then sending a note of appreciation afterwards would be a nice gesture. In general, while you are attending the ritual you should do as they do. For example, if they stand, so should you. If they are all wearing head coverings and they are provided, you should wear one too. The exception is when it comes to actually participating in the ritual such as taking communion in a Catholic church. If you are unsure, ask. Do not wait until the last minute.

Fieldwork does not always go as planned; allow yourself time for unforeseen difficulties. This is not a paper that can be written at the last minute.

General Guidelines for the Paper •

Your paper should be 1.5 spaced, 12-point font, with 1-inch margins. • Save your file as either a word document (.doc or docx) or a PDF file for submission. • Include your name, class and semester on the title page. • Explain everything in your own words using complete sentences. • Make sure you cite your sources. (Resource on citations: http://libguides.lavc.edu/citing-sources) • Make a heading for each analysis section as indicated below.

Ritual Analysis

Include a separate heading for each section below. With the exception of the ritual description, the questions for each section can be answered in a paragraph or two.

I. Ritual Observed What religious ritual did you observe? Include religion (be specific), ritual, specific location, and the date. Include a picture of you that shows that you did the observation (e.g., in front of the ritual location). Do not take pictures during the ritual without getting permission! If you have problems meeting this requirement, please contact me. II. Ritual Description Describe the ritual that you observed. This should be an approximately three to four page description of what you observed, including a description of the setting, participants and religious specialists. III. Ritual Classification How would you classify this ritual? Was it prescriptive or situational? Was it periodic or occasional? How would Wallace classify the ritual (e.g., therapy, social rite of intensification, rite of passage, etc.)? Make sure to include all three classifications. Explain why you classified the ritual the way you did. IV. Symbols Describe the symbols you observed, making sure to include the meaning of each. Include symbolic elements of time and space if appropriate. V. Ritual Specialist How would you classify the ritual specialist (i.e., priest or shaman)? What characteristics led you to that decision? VI. Altered States of Consciousness Was there any evidence of altered states of consciousness? If yes, what characterized the altered state? How was the altered state achieved? If there was absolutely no evidence of altered states, contact me for further instructions. VII. Worldview What is the worldview of this religion? How was this worldview reflected in the ritual? VIII. Conclusion Write a paragraph or two on your own thoughts and responses to what you

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