Culture and Diversity
Term Writing Project
Understanding humanities through the arts, beliefs, customs, practices, values, and behaviors has been an essential part of this course. For the Term Writing Project, you will write a four-page paper that illustrates your understanding of diverse cultural perspectives. By experiencing and researching cultural events, you will be able to examine the diverse offerings of cultural expression found in various parts of the world. Experiencing cultural events outside of the classroom will broaden your horizons and allow you to gain a broader global perspective of our world’s diverse cultures.
To begin the Term Writing Project, please review the following instructions carefully before getting started:
What is the overview of this project?
After selecting and experiencing a cultural event, you will write a four-page paper that illustrates your understanding of diverse cultural perspectives. You are strongly encouraged to attend a cultural event in person, but if you are unable to do so, you may experience an event through available forms of media, such as a learning-based television program or Internet video. (It is required that you see and hear the event, so do not simply read an article about it!)
What is the definition of a cultural event?
Cultural events include traditions or celebrations. We find these in forms of festivals (culturally specific games, dance, music, food), performance, religious ceremonies, or rites of passage – all rooted in cultural history. Therefore, the primary cultural event you choose must revolve around a cultural tradition or celebration that is currently practiced AND encompasses historical significance for that culture in the country of origin.
What do I need to do first?
Choose ONE primary tradition or celebrations in its own setting (country of origin) representing a culture different from your own country of origin that you experience (either in person or online). After experiencing it and learning more about it, identify and compare TWO secondary cultural traditions serving a similar purpose in other cultures, only ONE of the secondary traditions may be from your own country of origin. To reiterate, you will have one primary cultural event and two comparison/contrast events, all three from different places around the world.
What are some examples of cultural events that I might consider?
Getting started on a project is often the most difficult part. Some of you may already know exactly what you want to experience and write about, either you have already experienced it through travel, or you have always been fascinated by an even you plan to experience online. That’s great! But if you aren’t sure and would like some ideas, here are a few:
A Traditional Japanese Wedding Ceremony
Dogon Mask Dance
Village of Tireli, Dogon in Mali (West Africa)
The Massed Pipes and Drums – Edinburgh Military Tattoo
There is a whole world out there, filled with people who continue to practice cultural traditions and enjoy cultural celebrations. The above list is a tiny sampling of them. You may choose one as your primary cultural event, or you may choose a cultural event of your own.
What types of questions should I try to answer when writing my paper?
Overall, remember to watch, listen, observe, learn, compare, contrast, and research! Use 1st person in your paper, describe what you experience. Expand on what you experience and what you learn. Here are some questions to keep in mind:
Questions for primary cultural event:
What is the cultural event you experienced? Did you attend in person or watch it online? What did you hear and see? What stood out to you while experiencing this event? What was your initial impression of the culture when you experienced this event? What did you learn about the event through research? Consider current practices and historical relevance. Has there been outside influence on the cultural event? Is the event being practiced the same now as it has been historically? Elaborate and exemplify.
Questions for secondary cultural events:
Be sure you have chosen two cultural events that serve a similar purpose to your primary cultural event in other parts of the world. (If your primary event is a festival of cultural history, your two secondary events should be festivals of cultural history as well. For example, you do not want to look for Viking Festivals in two additional places around the world. You want to look for festivals celebrating cultural identity in two other places in the world.)
What two other cultural events did you choose? What is their country of origin? (Remember, one can be from your own country of origin, but the other must be from another part of the world.)What purpose do two cultural events serve, and why is this similar to your primary cultural event? How are they similar or different from your primary cultural event? (Consider food, music, dancing, singing, decorations, or dress.)
Did you find any evidence of cultural influence, inspiration, or sharing across your chosen cultures? What do your chosen cultures have in common? (Think about basic beliefs and behaviors of the people.)Why do you think cultures around the world practice similar events and share common beliefs, and what does this say about human beings and culture, based on what you have learned this term?
Remember, this is a paper not a Q&A assignment, so do not list the questions in your paper. Write well-developed paragraphs and use appropriate transitions. Follow APA format and include APA documented research.
APA format and documentation required. (Note: An abstract is not required for this paper.)The paper should be at least 4 pages in length (not including the title and reference page). At least 3 resources are required