Skip to main content

Summer SAVY 2017, Session 3/Day 3- Anthropological Approaches (Rising 6th/7th)

Posted by on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 in SAVY.

Day 3: Anthropology over here

Today, we brought their anthropological skills home to the United States, Nashville, and SAVY. We started the day with the famous Nacirema reading by Horace Miner. Miner writes about the strange Nacirema culture with exotic body rituals and courtship habits. But, Nacirema is really “American” written backward! We can sound like strange and exotics peoples with bizarre customs if anthropologists portray us that way. Students connected this reading to cultural relativity from day 1. We talked about the responsibility anthropologists have when we write about other people. They also said that other cultures might find American customs and traditions strange so we should try not to judge people who are different than ourselves.

The Nacirema took us to our big theme of the day: communication. Our budding anthropologists decided to define communication as “verbal or non-verbal ways of sending or exchanging information between people.” This is an excellent definition! Students talked about the differences between verbal and non-verbal communications. They identified non-verbal communication as a way of expressing emotions. Several students commented that communication through art, performance, and body language can help us communicate with people from different cultures who speak different languages.

We looked at language diversity in the United States by watching the documentary American Tongues. We then took a dialect quiz from the New York Times that told us what part of the United States we come from based on how we speak. Our map was fairly mixed, but we were the most similar to people in the Southeast, especially North Carolina. The dialect quiz is a fun tool for students to keep learning at home.

We got out of the classroom in the afternoon to practice our anthropological research skills. Our junior anthropologists observed and interviewed other students eating lunch. Then they wrote a report on “Lunchroom Culture.” They made some interesting observations such as how girls and boys interact differently at lunch. Students also found that some students were from different countries and cities.

We ended the class by reading about Kurdish immigrants right here in Nashville. Students know now where the Kurdish immigrants come from and the factors that have led them to immigrate such as Civil War. We discussed the problems Kurdish families have had finding acceptance in Nashville. We also learned that the Kurdish community has tried to do outreach to teach people about their cultures and find greater acceptance. Students analyzed how because Kurdish people do not have their own state, they do not always have somewhere to call home. This lack has many implications for their identities and daily lives.

Tomorrow we will start connecting all of our knowledge on culture, power, and language together.

Ms. Emma Banks