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Jun 07, 2023
  • PURPOSE: The purpose of this assignment is to analyze the cultural functions of stories from an anthropological perspective. It is also intended to evaluate the student’s ability to use scientific methods of inquiry, such as textual analysis, and cross-cultural comparison in academic writing.

     

    Overview:
    Besides being a vehicle for enculturation, stories also serve other purposes. In many indigenous communities, storytelling has a high entertainment value. Instead of gathering around a television, people gather around a storyteller to hear tales of daring, intrigue or simply to be amused and laugh. Many of these kinds of stories revolve around tricksters. Tricksters are usually sly, arrogant or salacious. They are consummate shape shifters and bend or break rules regularly. At first they may appear to get away with inappropriate behaviors. However, their plans inevitably go awry and they end up in trouble, dead or disgraced in some way. No matter how many times the trickster meets his demise, he always manages to return to trick again another day. Wiley Coyote in the “Road Runner” cartoon series is a good example of this kind of trickster. No matter how many cliffs he falls off, or how many trains run over him, Wiley always comes back for another chase.

    Tricksters figure prominently in the mythologies of many cultures. These individuals are often comical and clever individuals who violate cultural norms and play tricks on other people. Besides being entertaining, these stories help enculturate people and encourage them to abide by the cultural norms of their society.
    Students will choose one story from three of the following categories to compare and analyze for their paper. Each story should be selected from a different culture.
    Raven Raven steals the sun (see PDf attachment)
    Anansi West African folk tale( see https://www.culturesofwestafrica.com/kwaku-anansi-pot-wisdom/)
    Rabbit Mayan Rabbit Stories(http://www.indians.org/welker/rabbmaya.htm)

    INSTRUCTIONS:
    Papers should be 4-5 pages in length double spaced (1250-1500 words, 12 pt font, Times New Roman) and be submitted to the D2L assignment box by the due date.
    Students should write their paper in an APA or MLA style and cite at least three scholarly and relevant books, articles or other academic sources of knowledge and information to support their ideas and analysis. These scholarly resources should be listed on a separate bibliography page at the end of the paper (the bibliography does not count toward the page length/ word count total).
    The paper should be based on scientific methods of inquiry, such as textual analysis, cross-cultural comparison, ethnographic accounts, or other anthropological research methods and focus on the following key points:

    1. Define the concept of culture from an anthropological perspective.
    2. Identify and describe the social context (physical and social setting) in which each trickster story are told, and by whom, in three different cultures. Apply the concept of culture in order to analyze and compare similarities and differences between trickster stories in these three cultures. Be sure to use scholarly articles in the analysis.
    3. Identify and describe how the trickster uses shape shifting, ambiguity, humor, or rule breaking to challenge or reinforce established power structures and systems (such as social or economic class, sexism racism, or patriarchy), in these three stories. Provide a concrete example to support your view. Be sure to use scholarly articles in the analysis.
    4. Identify and describe how the trickster challenges or reinforces established social institutions such as religion, marriage or kinship in these three stories. Provide a concrete example to support your view. Be sure to use scholarly articles in the analysis.
    5. Critically reflect on the function and value of trickster stories in these three cultures. How do the actions of the trickster provide comic relief as well as transmit important cultural lessons.? How are the tricksters in these three stories similar to well-known real life tricksters in historical or contemporary U.S. society such as comedians or political commentators? Provide a concrete example to support your view.
    6. Personally reflect on and compare popular trickster stories in your own culture that have impacted or influenced you. Who are some historical or contemporary tricksters in politics or the entertainment industry that have impacted you or shaped your values? Do you think you have a trickster personality? Provide a concrete example to support your views.
    Scoring Criteria:
    Students will be graded on grammar and adherence to assignment formatting guidelines in addition to content. Word counts are there to ensure that students are graded on the same criteria. I deduct points for going under or over the word count (approximately -1pt per 100 words).
    • exceptional– 9-10 points
    • good–6-8 points
    • satisfactory–4-5 points
    • not satisfactory–1-3 point
    • absent–0 points
    1. The student accurately describes the concept of culture from an anthropological perspective (10 possible points).
    2. The student accurately describes the social context of trickster stories in three different cultures (10 possible points)
    3. The student accurately describes how tricksters and trickster stories challenge or reinforce social norms and established social institutions by poking fun at them (10 possible points)
    4. The student accurately uses and cites information from scholarly and relevant resources (10 possible points)
    5. The student accurately applies anthropological concepts, theories and methods to describe trickster stories in three different cultures (10 possible points)
    6. The student provides appropriate and concrete examples to support their view (10 possible points)
    7. The student accurately conducts a comparative analysis of tricksters in three different cultures to describe the diversity of human thought and experience (10 possible points)
    8. The student accurately describes how tricksters challenge or question established power structures or systems in three different cultures (10 possible points)
    9. The student writes in full sentences, spells accurately and uses correct grammar and formatting (10 possible points)
    10. The student culturally or personally reflects on tricksters and trickster stories in their own culture and compare and contrast them with tricksters in other cultures (10 possible points)

    0-69 points: minimal paper which does not identify, describe or compare three trickster stories from different cultures, does not define culture, or apply this understanding in the paper, does not describe the social context of the trickster stories, use information from scholarly resources, nor discuss how the stories challenge or reinforce established values, norms, power structures or social institutions and do not provide 3 appropriate and concrete examples.
    70-89 points: satisfactory paper which identifies, describes and compares three trickster stories from different cultures, defines the concept of cultures and applies it to analyze trickster stories, describes the social context of trickster stories, uses information from scholarly resources, discuss how the stories challenge or reinforce established values, norms, power structures or social institutions, and provide 3 appropriate and concrete examples.
    90-100 points: exceptional paper which analyzes 3 trickster stories from different cultures, defines the concept of culture and applies it skillfully in the paper, describes the social context of stories, uses information from three or more scholarly resources, discusses how all the stories are used to challenge or reinforce established gender and sexual norms, power structures or social institutions in an especially thoughtful and thorough way.
    Outcomes:
    After completing this assignment, students should be able to:
    1. Describe the social context and cultural functions of the trickster stories in different cultures.
    2. Apply anthropological concepts, theories or methods to examine and compare stories of tricksters in different cultures.
    3. Use relevant evidence and sources of information to support their ideas and cross-cultural analysis of trickster stories in different cultures.
    4. Describe and reflect on the various types of tricksters in their own culture and compare them with tricksters of other cultures.

    Please follow the instructions above. I have also attached a couple of my scholarly articles references(sheet) and a brief summary of the 3 trickster stories listed above that you will focus on in this paper. Please try to find the same articles I used; however, I understand if you aren’t able to locate them exactly, do your best. Please shoot for writing an exceptional Paper!

     
     
     

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