Challenge Two: Fieldwork of the Familiar

Your challenge is to do fieldwork in your own culture, find the strange in the familiar, and produce a compelling photo essay of your insights.


Practice the anthropological method of seeing your own seeing – to see the strange in the familiar – and to understand how our taken-for-granted everyday life is actually contingent on specific historical and cultural conditions.


Start by thinking of things that are done in your culture that might strike an Anthropologist from Mars as strange. For example, the Nacirema keep small animals called teps, heal themselves through the ritual of gnippohs, spend lots of time obsessing over their bodies while they ezicrixe, spend 13 to 25 years of their lives simply training for the complexity of their lives in special places called loohcs, etc.

Next, go to a location where you can really observe this behavior. Try to come up with four or five interesting observations about this behavior. These observations will be the text of your essay. Then, take a photograph for each of your key points that captures what you are trying to say. This will help you construct your final photo essay that will include four or five compelling images along with the text. Submit your essay on Instagram with #anth101challenge2

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