Essay about anthropology


Writing Assignment #2: imponderabilia of actual life (750+ words, double spaced, print out)

Due Wed. Feb 10 in class 

Spend at least 1 hour, uninterrupted, simply observing and writing down the activity of people around you in a public space. Describe the space, activities, and interactions in minute detail, especially details you think are too obvious to describe. Remember: show, don’t tell!


Additional questions to consider: Are there observable patterns? Did you notice something new that you previously took for granted? What social norms are being enacted? Are there trends that are specific to gender, age, or identity? Were there any kinds of behavior that did not conform or that surprised you or others? Describe where you are in relation to others and how others perceive/react to you. How do you think your own position and identity in relation to the space affects what you are seeing? Pay attention to the physical space and architecture. How you think this affects social behavior? If you were to conduct a full research project on this space, how would you begin to approach and talk to people?


Be sure to document the time (including length of time) and place you chose.

Do not hand in rough notes. Try to organize your observations into a coherent discussion of the social space you observed. You must do this exercise alone!


You will be assessed on 1) your effort to document social activity concretely and in rich detail and 2) the thoughtfulness and critical perspective on social patterns and trends.

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