Research discussion 3: exploring little-known cultures


For the last few weeks we have discussed many societies and cultures around the world. This discussion asks you to pick out a SMALL ethnic group/culture that you have either never heard of OR know very little about, but which you find interesting (see below for a list of examples, but feel free to go beyond this list).

The point is to get specific, and small-scale. For instance, “China” would not be an appropriate choice because this cultural group is much too large and diverse, that encompasses thousands of smaller cultures; instead, you should focus on a small ethnic group within China, such as the Uighur, the Hezhen, the Taiwanese aboriginals, the Tao, etc. Please pick a group with less than 5 million people (if close, it’s fine). 

For the group you have chosen, please write a short, concise report provide the following information about this culture: 1) geographic location, 2) language spoken, 3) subsistence strategy (i.e. hunter-gatherers, nomads, etc.), 4) major cultural values and traditions (religion, art, music, cultural events, etc.), 4) a brief history of their contact with the outside world (first contact, major events), and 5) the current and future state of this society in the modern world, including any major problems they currently face.

Please include a picture, if possible, of the group or its homeland and cite your source(s). You must provide at least one reference for this information and/or photo. The Davis book does not count. 

Examples of Small Ethnic Groups:     

Sentinelese (Indian Ocean)

Awá, Kayapo, Kuikuru, Yanomami, Guarani, etc. (Amazonia) 

Mapuche (Chile/Argentina)

Ainu, Ryukyuans (Japan)

Qashqai (Iran)

Sami (Scandanavia)

Tripuri, Zomi, Meitei (India)

Quechua, Aymara (Peru)

Achei, Makassarese, Sumba, Muna (Indonesia)

Sama-Bajau (Southeast Asia)

Apache, Sioux, Hopi, Navajo, Miwok, Cherokee, Seminole, Inuit (North America)

Aja, Dyula, Fon, Jola, Urhobo (West Africa)

Bantu, Gola, Susu (Central Africa)

Shona, Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa (South Africa)

Pare, Turkana (East Africa)

Chechnya, Karachay, Tartar (Russia)

Rade (Vietnam)

Maya (Mexico/Guatemala)

Raramuri/Tarahumara, Otomi, Pima, Mixe, Nahua, Purépecha (Mexico)

Visit Wikipedia’s list of contemporary ethnic groups for more ideas: (Links to an external site.)

*Note: Wikipedia may not be used as a direct reference; however it is a useful place to start research and find original references (at the bottom of the page).

Write your report (at least 300 words) in the text box, and post it and your image by February 26, 11:59pm. THEN, please look over your classmate’s writings, and write two replies by March 1, 11:59pm. If you do not post and reply by these dates, you will lose points, as it interferes with your classmates’ ability to do their work. 

Everyone must comment on at least two other students’ original posts. You must write a thoughtful comment providing some input or further analysis about your classmate’s presentation. “I agree” or “I liked this” is not sufficient. If you disagree or have a different interpretation, this is fine, but please keep your comments respectful. You may feel free to reply to one another’s threads, or add additional comments, but everyone is responsible for at least two independent comments. 

Your original post is worth 20 points; the comments are worth 2.5 points each (25 points total)

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