Write a paper about a cultural artifact from your own life

In preparation for this assignment, be sure to read the article entitled Tsatsal: The Symbolism and Significance of Mongolian Milk Spoons by Sharon Hudgins. For this paper, you will select a cultural artifact from your own cultural heritage. This might be an object with religious significance (such as prayer beads or a statue of a deity), an aspect of celebrating a holiday (such as certain decorations, etc.), an implement used to cook or serve a particular national dish from your culture, a type of traditional clothing, or something else of your choosing.

 

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Any time you use outside information in your writing, you must cite a source. You must use quotation marks around all directly quoted material, in addition to an in-text citation at the end of each sentence (including the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number), and a bibliography page at the end of your paper with properly formatted full citations. Do not use overly-long quotations or excessive quotations. The majority of the assignment should be written in your own words. When using quotations, be sure to then explain them in your own words. Even if you are summarizing someone else’s ideas, you still must use in-text citations as well as a bibliography. Appropriate citation styles for this class include APA, ASA, MLA, and Chicago Style.

 

1. In a new section, introduce the concept of material culture using a topic sentence. Define material culture in your own words to demonstrate your understanding. Then, describe your cultural artifact as an aspect of material culture. What is it? What does it look like? Discuss in as much detail as you can provide, as though you were describing your artifact to someone with no prior familiarity with it. What does this object represent about the people who use it and their culture? Why is it important to your culture? Does it have historical significance? Why is it significant to you personally? How does this artifact relate to you and your cultural heritage? Where does your family come from? How would you describe your unique cultural identity?

 

2. In a new section, introduce the concept of nonmaterial culture using a topic sentence. Define nonmaterial culture in your own words to demonstrate your understanding. Next, talk about how this cultural artifact is used as an aspect of nonmaterial culture. Is it used during a certain celebration or ceremony, or all year round? Is it used by only certain people (men vs. women, elders vs. youth, people of a certain social status)? Is this an everyday, commonplace object you would find in your culture, or something that is special? Engage in sociological thought to relate the use of this object to a broader societal context.

 

3. In a new section, introduce the concept that connections can be made between your cultural artifact and the tsatsal (Mongolian milk spoon). Describe these connections of your cultural artifact, its use, and its meaning with the tsatsal (Mongolian milk spoon). What is similar about the object you chose and the tsatsal that Sharon Hudgins describes in her article? Are there similarities in the use of cultural objects across different cultures? Think more broadly from a macrosociological perspective about rituals, celebrations, or other cultural meanings. What sociological conclusions can you draw about artifacts and cultures?

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