Writing Assignment

Question # 00004555 Posted By: paul911 Updated on: 12/04/2013 02:07 AM Due on: 12/05/2013
Subject Sociology Topic General Sociology Tutorials:
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Writing Assignment Extra Credit

Writing Assignment: The Ethnographic Perspective: Guests of the Sheik

This assignment asks the student to reflect on the ethnographic perspective through the experiences of Elizabeth Fernea as described in her book “Guests of the Sheik

The Guidelines

This assignment should conform to all of the length, format and other guidelines for writing assignments outline in the Syllabus.


Answer the following:

Describe briefly your impressions of this “fieldwork.” What would it be like to be in the field outside of your culture? Illustrate your opinions with examples from the text.

Choose two topics from Area A and one topic from Area B to write about:

Area A: What did you learn about the people of Iraq ?

Topic 1 – Gender. What did you learn about Gender in Iraq through this book? What did you learn which expanded your perspective on Gender in general?

Topic 2 – Religion. Iraq is a primarily Islamic society, how was this translated into everyday life? What can we learn about how religion functions in any complex society from this example.

Topic 3 – Kinship Systems and Family. The society described by Fernea is built around kinship and family relationships. How does kinship structure the everyday lives of the people described in the book? What did those people who were making lives separated from their kin groups suggest about the future of this kind of social organization?

Topic 4 – Political Systems. The society described in Iraq is an intensely political one, but the outlines of these politics are often vague in this book. Why is this true? What could an ethnographer have done to make the interactions of kin and interest groups more understandable?

Topic 5 – Economics. How are people making a living and supporting their families and kin groups in this setting? What is the relationship of the economics presented to the areas discussed above (gender, religion, kinship and politics).

Area B:

Topic 1 – Guests of the Sheik is not a new book.The work it is based on is around 50 years old. So why is this book part of the standard Anthropology 102 course? What does it tell us that we might not get from a journalist's account of Iraq? Or from another ethnography about say Egypt? Or from the memoir of an Iraqi? What can we learn from it?

Topic 2 – What we do versus what we say.Discuss the idea of real versus ideal behavior, exemplified by the people studied and the anthropologist. Are the people actually living out the cultural system that they might describe and if not how does it vary from what they say? Does Fernea behave in the way you had expected an anthropologist to behave, how is her behavior different than expected?

Topic 3 – Being an ethnographer.What were Fernea’s greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses as an ethnographer? Describe the most serious or trying difficulties experienced by this anthropologist. Based on this account, what qualities do you think are most important for successful anthropological fieldwork? Could you do this kind of ethnographic field work?

Essay Template

Essay Examples & Template


  • Should include: What, How and Why

WHAT: your claim about the event, interaction, practice or culture

HOW: the conversations, statements, behaviors, positions, artifacts, rules, norms, etc. that you use to prove your claim

WHY – how does your idea/argument deepen the reader's understanding of the event, interaction, practice, or culture and situate it within the broader anthropological perspective? (answers the dreaded “so what” question).

Magic Thesis Statement”(don't use these exact words – adapt this magic thesis statement and make it your own!) By looking at HOW(evidence to prove the claim), we can see WHAT(your claim about the text), and this is important because WHY.


On the surface, the message board exchange appears to be quite casual, but the rules of the web master provoke an event that has all the elements required of formal speech as outlined in Dell Hymes' Speaking Model(this is the WHAT). Participants use increased structuring, specific code choices, and a focus on positional rather than personal identity(this is the HOW) to reassert the group's norms. The exchange is directed away from sympathy and back to snide humor, demonstrating that communication both reflects and enforces culture. (this is the WHY).


WHAT : In her ethnography, Guests of the Sheik, Elizabeth Fernea demonstrates how ethnocentrism can interfere with anthropological research. HOW: In her retelling of her experience in Iraq, Fernea demonstrates her own ethnocentrism through her words and actions. However, over time and through her experiences, she becomes aware of her ethnocentrism, WHY: an important element in producing a clear ethnology in anthropological research.


HOW: China is home to one-fifth of the world's population. Because of this, the Chinese government enacted the one-child policy. WHAT: While this policy has served to slow China's population growth, a number of social issues have arisen in its wake. WHY: These issues have led many to question which is the lesser of the two evils...



In this paper I will briefly explain the concept of ethnocentrism and its relationship to anthropological research, then I will discuss how Fernea demonstrated her own ethnocentrism and how she overcame it...etc..etc...

In this report I will discuss my research in China including my research methods, my findings, including a detailed account of how those I interviewed view the one-child policy, and how I gave back to the community I worked with...etc..etc...



Some might argue that BJ never really overcame her ethnocentrism, however, as demonstrated in her experience with...


Because the one-child policy is enforced with measures such as abortion, it is opposed by the Catholic church, which has emerged as a loud opponent...



Fernea's account of her experience in Iraq demonstrates how ethnocentrism can skew an anthropologist's point of view. Once she became aware of her ethnocentrism, Fernea was better able to understand Iraqi culture, thus providing a clearer picture of the cultural practices she experienced there...


While the one-child policy has led to a number of social issues including infanticide and a gender imbalance, my research indicates that a significant number of Chinese citizens agree with the overarching goal of the policy...


This should include some background information don't assume the reader knows anything about what you are discussing. Include background about your topic including relevant research already conducted, if applicable.


By looking at HOW (evidence to prove the claim), we can see WHAT (your claim about the text), and this is important because WHY.


  • Include 3 or specific examples as evidence of support
  • Explain how this evidence supports your position
  • Include a counterargument

Note: This is the bulk of your paper – it should be multiple paragraphs long. Be sure to cite your sources within the text!


  • Restate your position (in different words) and answer the question “so what?”


  • List all of your sources

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Tutorials for this Question
  1. Tutorial # 00004352 Posted By: mac123 Posted on: 12/04/2013 02:07 AM
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