Nacirema Fieldwork Essay Assignment
for Dowell's WRAC Classes
Step I: Carefully read Horace Miner's essay on the Nacirema, paying attention to all the footnoted text.
Step II: Pay close attention to what the instructor and other students have to say about their various (presumably) life-long interactions with Nacirema culture.
Step III: Carefully (re)consider your (presumably) life-long, "in-the-field" interactions with the Nacirema.
Step IV: As Miner dealt with various body-related rituals, you are to compose an essay focusing upon one single Nacirema body ritual.
- NOTE 1: All drafts must be generated on a word processor - all your work will later be "posted" on the web (though you are encouraged to prewrite using any method and medium you prefer).
- NOTE 2: Unlike Prof. Miner's observations of various body rituals, your Draft is to have a very specific, single focus on one body ritual. That is to say, gnitad is NOT a single body ritual; it consists of hundreds of single rituals. But one such is that sometimes the females ritualize the application of softened waxy substances to their faces making their eyes appear almost inhuman in size as a preparation for gnitad. Okay, now you may NOT use that one....
- NOTE 3: Your Drafts must refer back to Prof. Miner's work (as he referred back to Murdock, Linton, etc.) with a link to <http://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/miner.html>.
- NOTE 4: Employ precisely the same tone (think "Audience Awareness") as Professor Miner; don't outright "spill the beans" about your topic, but do presume your audience is "hip" to the Nacirema culture. (Similarly, note how rarely Miner referred to himself, how often he referred to the "magical thinking" of the Nacirema, and how he did not use the terms "Nacireman" or "Naciremas," nor how he ever referred to the audience by using such a term as "you.")
- NOTE 5: Your First Draft must be no less than 600 words.
- NOTE 6: Your First Draft must be completed by the due date set on the class schedule. [See the page formatting instructions here.]
- NOTE 7: Your First Draft must be brought - as a hardcopy ("printout") - to class on that date
- NOTE 8: I will not tell you what you "should" write about; this is a chance for you to demonstrate your understanding of Nacirema culture, not mine. Consider all the parameters listed above and choose your own Nacirema ritual about which to write. Try to "think outside the box."
- NOTE 9: You are expected to follow the rules as determined by the following pages of criteria:
- NOTE 10: Do NOT write about "labtoof" or "reeb" or going to a "myg"! Also, sorry, but no "ootat" or "gnicreip," either. Been there, read those.
- NOTE 11: Have some fun with this!
- NOTE 12: You may only invent one backward word and you may only use it twice in your essay. (I told you this was fun, but I never told you it was easy!)
Step V: In-class Peer Evaluation, as determined by the due date set on the class schedule (as determined in class).
Step VI: Revise your essay (i.e., write Second, Third, whatever's-needed Drafts). Final Drafts must be no less than 500 words, nor longer than 600. (That requires some tight writing! This assignment is only 544 words!)
Step VII: Post your Final Draft to the web by the due date set on the class schedule (as determined in class).
revised again 9.10.04
copyright ©1999-2008, John A. Dowell