Part I: Back Elk Speaks
Write approximately a five to six page essay on the spiritual and ideological beliefs representative of the 19thCentury Lakota as evidenced by the biography of the Medicine Man Black Elk. Discuss, in a page or so, your own impressions of the book and the man’s life.
Some of the many things that you could consider include beliefs about cause and effect, relationships, time, space “power”, medicine, and healing, relationships among humans, the spirit world, particular animals, visions, symbols, directions, sacredness, and ceremonies
Although you may not be able to consider all of the above categories, provide a succinct and logically analyzed summary of Lakota beliefs and values, as best you can from what Black Elk tells us in his remarkable life story. It is recognized that, in comparison to the other books in this assignment, Black Elk’s narrative is more mystical, poetic, and spiritual–but thus perhaps also more profound and authentic. (25 Marks)
In approximately five or six pages write a succinct essay describing the ideological system of the Canadian Inuit. Try to be analytical and logical, and consider using aspects of Robert Redfield’s concept of worldview or Bateson’s concepts of ethos and eidos where appropriate, or similar concepts of your own making. Where there is appropriate evidence, you could consider such things as space and time, cause and effect, cosmology, classification systems, concepts of themselves as peoples in contrast to others, notions of origins, religious beliefs, and other things related to the realms of beliefs and knowledge. Write about the techniques that Inuit use to enculturate their children to hold these ideologies and expected behaviors.
In reference to value systems or ethos, you might include morality, expected behavior, aesthetics, male and female roles, expectations of authority, and preferred personality types. You might want to pay attention to the role of some important symbols.
Briggs in Never in Anger pays particular attention to values and their interconnections. However, in your essay, make sure that you make some use of the material that she provides on beliefs and knowledge. The whole point of this part is to provide a succinct, balanced, and accurate sketch of Inuit ideology. It is recognized that you cannot account for all of the above topics but they are meant to provide you with some guidance. (25 Marks)
Write a succinct (five or six pages) book essay describing how the drug dealers and drug users in living in Spanish Harlem in Phillipe Bourgois’s In Search of Respect perceive and justify their lifestyles that the larger society may perceive as criminal and deviant. Briefly describe their ideology. How did they become enculturated into this subculture? What are Bourgois’s explanations for how this cultural system was constructed?
This exceptionally well-written book has been assigned because it is an outstanding ethnography showing how a poverty-stricken, ethnic minority’s criminal subculture focused on drug-dealing and using emerged in an American city. The author, using a political-economy approach, describes how that subculture has been constructed externally through racism and the transformation of an industrial economy to a high tech one that required advanced education and communication skills. In effect, the subculture can be seen as a set of adaptations to poverty and marginalization. As with any culture, the participants have a set of beliefs and values or world view and they as children and adolescents have gradually been enculturated into having them and acting upon them.
However, in its writing, with which the author struggled, there are instances of brutal sexual assaults. Students who might understandably be emotionally upset by these accounts may wish to avoid reading them. So, regarding the take-home essay exam, reading them would not be necessary to the assignment since it is fairly open in expectations.