My Own Culture


Create Your Own Culture Project

Assignment Description and Requirements

The assignment is a 7-10 page, double spaced paper describing an imaginary culture of your choosing. In your paper you must specify the following:

  1. Environmental conditions in which the culture exists: this forms the basis onto which you will establish the rest of their culture. Describe in at least one paragraph the environment in which they live. Is the environment desert-like, tropical, temperate, arctic, etc. Explain how the environmental constraints and opportunities led to the development of your hypothetical culture.
  2. Economic system: how do they exploit their environment to live, what foods to they depend on? Again, this must emerge from their environmental conditions. Also, think about how complex your culture will be. This will help you in thinking about their economic and subsistence system.
  3. Political system: how do they distribute power and organize themselves? Is your culture stratified or egalitarian? If it is stratified, who are the members of the culture who have and use the most power? Why?
  4. Religion – if any: how do they explain their existence? Describe religious practices and rituals. Explain how their world view is connected to broader structural and environmental factors.
  5. Language: what does their language reflects about their culture. You can relate their language to an existing language family (ex. Germanic or Romance, etc.). You can also give an example of their “language” – sample words, phrases, idioms, etc.
  1. Cultural expression: finally, give an example and description of at least one aspect of cultural expression. These could be music, art, shelter design, clothing, etc. You could also opt to provide a sketch of any of these forms of cultural expression. That would be really cool!

It is important throughout your paper that you think holistically about your culture this means that all aspects of the culture are interconnected somehow, and they emerge from the broader environmental and structural conditions (recall the “cultural materialism” pyramid that I talk about in class).