Explorations in Cross Cultural Anthropology, Pt3: eHRAF Assignments

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Overview

Class size: Any
Level(s):
Source: Submitted by HRAF member


Learning Objectives

Does the exercise compare 2 or more cultures? Yes
Subject selection: Multiple subjects specified by teacher
Subjects/OCMS, if applicable:
Region selection: pre-selected
Region, if applicable:
Culture selection: Student chooses from pre-selected list
Cultures/OWCs, if applicable:
Samples:

Classroom Guide

Instructions for navigating eHRAF included? Yes
Assignments for students to complete in groups? No
Assignments for students to complete on their own? Yes
Instructions for Microfiche version? No
 

Nicola Tannenbaum, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Lehigh University

Go to: Part 1: Syllabus | Part 2: Ethnographic Outline | Part 3: eHRAF Assignments

 

Assignments are due in class on date assigned. Late assignments will not be accepted.

eHRAF #1. Meet the eHRAF World Cultures database

Due in class Jan. 25

How to find the eHRAF database at Lehigh University’s digital library: On the Lehigh home page, click on libraries. Click on electronic resources, click databases (you will have to logon with your account number and password).  Either scroll down or click on “G-L” to find the Human Relations Area Files (eHRAF) and click on the title. Once in the database, click on Help for explanations of OCM and OWC codes. For further explanations of the OCM and OWC view the eHRAF User’s Guide at https://hraf.yale.edu/resources/guides/practical-guide-to-ehraf/

Answer the following questions:
1.  What does OWC stand for?  What is it used for?  List one OWC code and explain how to read it.
2.  What does OCM stand for?  What is it used for? List one of the OCM subject/codes and describe its contents.

eHRAF #2. Subject/Codes (OCM)

Due in class Feb. 1.

Explore how the OCM Subjects are organized.  Click here for the entire list of OCM subjects covered in the eHRAF World Cultures database.  Alternatively, log on to eHRAF World Cultures and click Browse Subjects then OCM Code and the numbered ranges (e.g. 100-199) to browse the entire list of the OCM major subjects and subcategories.

Answer the following questions:
1. How many major OCM codes, those ending in “0” are there?

2.  Match up the major OCM codes (those ending in “0”) to the topics in the Ethnographic Outline. Note: some OCMs will provide information for more than one topic in the outline.

3. Pick one topic from the Ethnographic Outline and find the corresponding major OCM subject codes and their relevant sub-categories in the Browse Subjects OCM Code section of the eHRAF database. For example, in the Ethnographic Outline (part II, section C), the question is asked “What methods did the anthropologist use”? In the eHRAF database you will find that for this question, the major OCM subject code is “120,” standing for “Research Methods.” To get a sense of what the category contains, click on it and read the information on it and its sub-categories. After reading all this information, you may decide that the relevant OCM subcategories are: 122 Observational Role in Research, 123 Interviewing in Research, 125 Tests and Schedules Administered in the Field, and 127 Historical and Archival Research.

You need to list the OCM subject code and discuss what it means. For example,  122 Observational Role in Research, not 122 by itself and not simply Observational Role in Research. Note: you may not use this example.

4.  What OCM subject codes do not correspond to the topics and culture categories listed in the Ethnographic Outline?  Why?

eHRAF #3. Cultures (OWC)

Due in class Feb. 8.
You will pick or be assigned a culture from the list of eHRAF cultures. Note: these are all the cultures in HRAF’s probability sample.

Log onto the eHRAF database.  Click on Browse, then on Regions.

Identifying your culture. Find your culture in the Browse Regions page. If you don’t know where your culture is located, click on the A-Z index and find it alphabetically.

Answer the following questions:

1.  What region of the world is your culture in?  Sub-region?  Country?
2.  What is the OWC code for your culture?
3.  Introduction to your culture. Click on your culture’s name in the Browse Cultures section and then on Culture Summary.

Read the Culture Summary and answer the following questions:

1. What is the social organization?
2. What is the political organization?
3. What is the religion?
4.  How to most people make their livings? (This is not limited to ways in which people earn money; making a living can be hunting and gathering, horticulture, farming, etc.)
5.  What sort of kinship system?

Notes for assignments 4-9.

1. On each of your eHRAF assignments identify your culture with both the OWC culture code and name.

2. You must follow the Ethnographic Outline format. Report information for each topic.  Provide the OCM subject code for each piece of information. For example, the Shan believe in a wide range of spirits including spirit owners of the land, water sources, ancestors, spirits which cause illnesses, and spirits which protect people which would fall under “1. Supernaturals” in the Part III Cultural Categories of the Ethnographic Outline.  OCM subject codes, corresponding to the Cultural Categories can be found in the Browse OCM Code section of the eHRAF database.  For example, OCM subject code 776 Spirits and Gods would be similar to “Supernaturals,” and thus an appropriate OCM subject code for this topic. Listing the OCM code replaces the bibliography and citing each work for the information.

Two caveats: use your own words and follow the Ethnographic Outline format. Failure to do both will seriously reduce your grade.  If you have trouble understanding what you are reading, look up the words you don’t know in the glossary in Kottak or send me or my assistant an e-mail (keeping in mind that neither of us are on-line late the night before an assignment is due).

3. Log onto the eHRAF database and click on Lookup Search.  Use the Quick Guide or Visual Tutorial in the left-hand margin to get familiar with searching in eHRAF.

Take notes on the relevant material and fill in your own ethnographic outline. It may take searching a number of OCM subject/codes to find any information. Your culture may not have matches on all the OCM subject/codes. When this happens, list the code and report that there were no matches. Even when there are matches, OCM subject/codes contain more information than the material in the outline. Report only the relevant information.  The information may be repetitive, after checking two or three “hits” and getting the information you need, stop and go on to the next category.

Repeat your search until you have checked all your relevant OCM subject/codes.  After checking all the OCM subject codes and not finding the information, simply report that there was no relevant information.

Note: only find the OCM subject/codes that correspond to the topics listed in the Ethnographic Outline.

eHRAF #4. Religion and world view

Due in class Feb. 22
Search the eHRAF database for cultures containing OCM subject codes that correspond to the Cultural Categories in  “B. Religion and world view” in part II of the Ethnographic Outline.  Fill in the information about the topics.

eHRAF #5. Kinship and gender

Due in class March 1.
Search the eHRAF database for cultures containing OCM subject codes that correspond to the Cultural Categories in “A. Kinds of beings” in part II of the Ethnographic Outline. Fill in the information about the topics.

eHRAF #6. Ecology

Due in class April 8.
Search the eHRAF database for cultures containing OCM subject codes that correspond to “A. Where people live and B. Settlement” in part IV of  the Ethnographic Outline. Fill in the information about the topics.

eHRAF #7. Economics

Due in class April 12.
Search the eHRAF database for cultures containing OCM subject codes that correspond to “C. Economics or how do people make their living” in part IV of the Ethnographic Outline. Fill in the information about the topics.

eHRAF #8. Politics

Due in class April 26.
Search the eHRAF database for cultures containing OCM subject codes that correspond to the Cultural Categories in “D. Politics” in part IV of the Ethnographic Outline. Fill in the information about the topics.

eHRAF #9. Living in the modern world

Due in class May 2.
Search the eHRAF database for cultures containing OCM subject codes that correspond to the Cultural Categories in “E. Process and change” of the Ethnographic Outline. Fill in the information about the topics.