FLK 280 Short Essay

An Experience in Cultural Diversity

 

At some point during this semester you are required to participate in an activity outside your range of cultural experience.  This must be a new cultural experience, something you’ve never done before.  (You may not write about past cultural experiences for this assignment.)  Reflect and report on this experience following the guidelines below. 

 

Before choosing an activity, think about your cultural “comfort zone.”  Your comfort zone includes anywhere you feel normal and fit in: we tend to be more comfortable interacting in our own folk groups, less comfortable outside of them. This experience should place you outside of your cultural “comfort zone” so that you may experience a new folk group and culture. 

 

So for example, if you were raised in a Baptist church you may attend a Catholic church, or some other church that differs from your own culturally.  Other examples listed below. 

 

I also require that you meet at least one individual at this event (a simple introduction is fine, but you must provide the name of the individual you meet, and a summary of anything the two of you discussed). 

 

Briefly report on this experience: tell where you went and/or what you did and when you did it.  Explain why this cultural experience is new to you.  How did this experience influence your worldview?  Describe your own pre-existing attitudes towards this culture.  Where did they come from?  What stereotypes exist about them?  Did your experiences challenge or support these stereotypes?  How so? 

 

Documentation is required.  As proof that you actually participated in this event you must provide some sort of evidence: a receipt, a photograph, a church program, etc.

 

You must incorporate a minimum of three course concepts in your report.

 

You may report on additional experiences for extra credit.  (Past experiences may qualify for extra credit.  However, you must get approval from me beforehand.)

 

Examples include:      

Ÿ  Attend a church service or worship meeting at a mosque, temple, or synagogue.

Ÿ  Have dinner at someone’s house who belongs to a different national/racial/ethnic/etc group.

Ÿ  Go to a gay bar, club, drag show, or any GLBT function.

Ÿ  Dine at an ethnic restaurant.

Ÿ  Visit an ethnic food store.  Buy something and prepare it as a meal.

Ÿ  Attend a concert or festival.

Ÿ  Volunteer helping the poor or homeless, or at a refugee center.

Ÿ  Visit a hookah bar.  (Talk with patrons, smoke some hookah!)

Ÿ  Go to a gun show.

Ÿ  Visit a local Amish store or community.

 

*NOTE: You are NOT restricted to this list.  Students are strongly encouraged to come up with their own ideas for experiences that will challenge them culturally and intellectually.  However, ideas not listed here must be approved by me in advance.