Language & Communication / Ethnicity & Race

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This assignment is a brainstorming and short essay exercise. Please provide at least 2 examples of ideas/cultural features that fit each of the following 8 categories (2 for each category).

You can draw the examples from your personal experience, American culture in general, or other cultures. You should be as specific as possible and elaborate sufficiently so I will know what you are talking about, and so that it’s clear how your examples fit the categories you have put them in. For the first five categories, it’s relatively easy to think of exemplary technological gadgets. Instead of using technological examples, however, try to come up with social and cultural beliefs and behaviors that fit the bill.

Your essay should have an introduction, body (organized by categories in the order given), and conclusion. You can write in the first person and use informal or neutral register. Use a total of at least 3 outside sources in your essay to set your personal examples in context and to document general cultural trends in the U.S. and elsewhere. Citations and references should be done in either APA or Chicago Style (both are commonly used by social scientists, but the latter is the one used by the American Anthropological Association).

1. Ideas that have spread during our lifetimes.
2. Ideas on the wane, are disappearing, or have become nearly extinct in our lifetimes.
3. Ideas that are “contagious” and rapidly spread from mind to mind.
4. Ideas that increase our survival and reproductive success (and are thus “adaptive” in biological terms)
5. Ideas that decrease our survival and reproductive success (and are thus “maladaptive” in biological terms)
6. Ideas that are transmitted from parents to children (AK “vertical transmission”).
7. Ideas that primarily pass between peers (aka “horizontal transmission”)
8. Ideas that pass from non-parental teachers, leaders, etc. to others (aka “oblique transmission”)

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