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Cultural perspective on ritual

The objective of this online discussion is to summarize and analyze a ritual performed by a particular cultural group. Ultimately, the final product will be an academic blog posting in which the student takes on the persona of a cultural anthropologist who works for National Geographic. Thus, your task as the National Geographic cultural anthropologist on staff is to construct a blog posting that serves both as an introduction to the cultural group & one of the rituals they perform. Your blog will contain cultural anthropological language and be grounded in a cultural anthropological approach while also be constructed from academic research.


For the academic blog posting, you will take on the persona of a cultural anthropologist who works for National Geographic. Although this is being framed as a ‘blog’ it is best to think of it as a condensed version of a short, but detailed academic paper in which a clear focus, use of peer-review material to support the discussion, and an introduction and conclusion still apply.

Also, keep in mind that you will NOT be the “cultural anthropologist” in the sense that you conducted fieldwork on this cultural group being discussed. Rather, your objective as a Cultural Anthropologist on staff for National Geographic is to present the public with information regarding the process and significant of the ritual to the cultural group in question. I recommend thinking of this as an academic blog read by members of the public who are interested in anthropological research and world events. This is not a travel or tourist themed exhibit.


  • Interconnectedness – ritual and other cultural elements (e.g. worldview, economics, art, community, etc)
  • Social roles throughout the ritual/ceremony process (e.g. before-during-after)
  • Use of or relationship to the environment
  • How anthropology’s understanding of the ritual has changed as more voices are incorporated into the research (skewed towards bear ritual)
  • Cultural evolution due to contact or, in some cases, tourism
  • Value of particular steps in the ritual – you should not list out the steps generating a feeling of a this and that outline of the ritual. Rather, focus on the value of particular step in the ritual to the cultural group.


  • You must pick from one of the approved cultural groups. See the Announcement Online Discussion #2 Cultural Groups and Sources (will open on April 17th)
  • A minimum of one reliable, academically creditable source.
    • Students have been provided with a single, academic source in the Announcement Online Discussion #2 Cultural Groups and Sources. After you select the cultural group & ritual you want to focus on, this provided source is required.
    • Students are not required to use any other source aside from the one provided. If you do use an additional source, it must be an academically creditable source.
  • A picture with a tag-line that visually represents the information being discussed is required. Either place this at the top of your blog posting or add it as an attachment to your initial posting.
  • Works cited section is required. MLA or APA can be used.
  • Direct quotes are not allowed. Students are encouraged to paraphrase from sources and convey information in their own words.
  • In-text citations are required when paraphrasing.
  • Students in previous ANTH&206^D classes have been successful with initial postings that mirror a short academic paper. I recommend aiming for between 500-700 words.


This engagement activity encourages questions based on the directions for online discussion #2 and the required reading. This engagement activity is due by 11:59pm on Friday, April 26th.


A detailed follow-up posting is required. Students must post to a student who selected a different cultural group & ritual than their initial posting. Students should aim for between 350-500 words for the follow-up posting.

The objectives of the follow -up postings focus on adding to the conversation, expanding on the topic, or adding value to the discussion through additional, reliable research on the topic.

I recommend that you do the following to ensure that you are successful with this follow-up posting:

  • Pick a point of interest from your peer’s article (or initial posting) and analyze it in a manner that highlights the aspects of ritual discussed in the textbook chapter and, potentially, draws on comparisons between your cultural group & that of your peer’s.
  • Consider the elements of religion/religious elements in your textbook. Do you see the supernatural in ritual you discussed and that of your peers? Yes? Great. Analyze how the supernatural appears in both of them through adding new information to the conversation.
  • Draw comparisons between your ritual and that of your peer through the elements of religion as backbone of your follow-up posting.


Last Updated on April 23, 2019

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