|My first essay on Anthropology and my research project
© 2009 Jen Manitoken
The Teacher's note (4-19-09):
It is my pleasure to promote the first essay on Anthropology in AISLC, Spring Semester 2009, written by Jen
Manitoken. She was the student who made me believe that would write a good sample essay just a week after
we started the class. And Jen really submitted a nice work even one day before the date due, although still of a
In Past my classes had successful essay writers on Anthropology, including a publication in a College monthly
student journal (online version), Reports of Prehistoric Research Project and a citation even in a scientific
What I have liked in the essay of Jen is the connection she did between the academic knowledge and her own
experience. This is her own contribution to the problem oriented course of Cultural Anthropology, Spring 2009
at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City, and hopefully she will find time to expand the essay with some examples
from her Past and Present. The essay shows that Jen is a person who obviously has a rich social memory of
direct interactions with other cultures, while recently it has been storaging in her brain her American
everydayness as well, a part of which is our class. As we had talked in class, life is about relationships and my
impression is that this essay will not only nail faster the net of unforgettable contacts and schooling
atmosphere in class, but also will show all readers how seriously we, in Salt Lake City, look at cultural
anthropology as a discipline that enrich our everydayness and our active relation to the world.
Congrats, Jen, and hope this impressive start will make you even more "opinioned" and more enthusiastic at
class! I don't mind if you argue with me in class when you have good points of view. (L.N.).
Anthropology From my point of view ....
To explain my understanding of Anthropology, I need to combine the gained till now theoretical knowledge and
my own experience.
From academic point of view, Anthropology is a humanitarian discipline that studies peoples and their cultures
in historical and comparative perspectives. It focuses on human subsistence, technology, social institutions,
traditions and innovations, language, kinships, values and beliefs, cravings for beauty and art, struggles for
prestige, entertainment, etc. (Ferraro 2008). It also analyzes the human relationships with the nature and the
human interactions from diachronic and synchronic perspectives. Furthermore, Anthropology provide records
for many other humanitarian disciplines like Sociology, Psychology, Social Studies, Education, etc. In turn, the
other humanitarian disciplines influence the methods, subject and theory of Anthropology that results in
emergence of branches like Psychological Anthropology, Theoretical Anthropology, Anthropology of
Traditionally, Anthropology includes four subdisciplines (fields, subfields, branches) - Physical Anthropology,
Linguistic Anthropology, Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology (Ferraro 2008). Cultural Anthropology studies
past and present cultures from global perspectives via on-site research and cross-cultural comparison (see
also Yamada online). During the fieldwork the anthropologist researches the particular culture which is
accomplished by immersion into a society's socio-cultural environment (participant-observation study)
My heritage, social memory, travel and films play important role to understand cultural diversity and cultural
anthropological research today. As we study anthropology and other cultures, we all use sources such as
books and most of the time, films. Needless to say we all watch the last whether they would be fictional or
documentary; Film is readily available for anyone to view. It asks the question, how and why do people seek to
capture everyday life on film? What can we learn from such films? Is any difference between documentary and
ethnographic films? How the curiosity about "exotic" people interrelates "with capturing "real life" to a desire for
advocacy"? (Documenting culture).
Documentaries about people both in the U.S. and abroad have their differences. Cultural anthropology uses
documentary films as sources for a variety of problems including the relationship between film images and
"reality," the tensions between art and observation, and the ethical relationship between filmmakers and those
they film (Ibid.)Being from Canada, living in the U.S., traveling abroad and living in Europe and Film Festivals,
all have given me a broad insight of cultures, how each culture strives to live everyday life, the difference from
person to person, and friend to friend. I have been very fortunate to have experienced all that I have seen.
Cultures are everywhere and unique, when you discover them, hold on to them.
* Edited by Lolita Nikolova.
Ferraro, Gary. (2008). Cultural Anthropology. An Applied Perspective. (7th edition). Thomson & Wadsworth.
Jacoby, JoAnn & Kibbee, Josephine Z. (2007). Cultural anthropology : a guide to reference and information
sources. Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited.
Marcus, George E. & Fisher, Michael M.J. (1996). Anthropology as Cultural Critique. An Experimental Moment
in the Human Sciences. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
Cultural & Social Anthropology
Mitopencourseware (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Yamada, Yutaka (online). Cultural Anthropology. http://anthja.com/CA3.html
|A student at the Art Institute of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, Utah
Cultural Anthropology Class. Spring 2009
Jen Manitoke's research project: Native American dance with her participation (6-22-09)