The Nacirema article takes something we are very familiar with but makes it sound very
foreign to us. It asks us to think about what we do from an exoteric perspective while
warning us of only seeing things from that perspective. It reduces people to an object to
be studied, and, while expressing diversity, demonstrates a power the author has over that
object which she/he studies.
For this project, you are to spend at least 2 pages explaining something you do everyday
in a similar way. Pretend as if you are an outside observer describing this from an
exoteric perspective. Use descriptive language that objectively explains the ritual as if
you were an ethnographer looking in on the ritual. Provide some explanation on why the
subjects may perform this type of ritual. What is the purpose/meaning/importance behind
In at least one more full page, reflect on this assignment in terms of class topics. Did
doing this exercise make you think differently about what it means to be an American
today? Did this exercise make you consider diversity in a different way? Did you think
about the difference between esoteric and exoteric perspectives? Do you see how a lack
of understanding and awareness about another group can lead to stereotypes and
inequalities? Do you see how that can be a hindrance to a full acceptance of diversity in
our communities? Consider these questions and explain your answers and thoughts
clearly and with detailed reasoning and explanation.
Possible examples of things to discuss: the rules/habits/customs of certain social media
sites, driving cars, shopping, playing a certain sport, watching television, playing video
games, going to class, our obsession with a particular song/artist/television show/etc.,
current politics, current news events or issues, etc.
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