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17 February, 2022

49 minutes read

Author:  Josh Carlyle

How to Write an Anthropology Essay

College years are a vibrant, exciting period of ardent studies and professional growth. Still, students often experience an overload with lectures, home tasks, and non-educational activities. So, they quickly get frustrated and fail to manage all their pressing duties and responsibilities. Anthropology studies are not an exception. No matter how attractive studying people and cultures […]

anthropology essay

College years are a vibrant, exciting period of ardent studies and professional growth. Still, students often experience an overload with lectures, home tasks, and non-educational activities. So, they quickly get frustrated and fail to manage all their pressing duties and responsibilities. Anthropology studies are not an exception. No matter how attractive studying people and cultures […]

College years are a vibrant, exciting period of ardent studies and professional growth. Still, students often experience an overload with lectures, home tasks, and non-educational activities. So, they quickly get frustrated and fail to manage all their pressing duties and responsibilities. Anthropology studies are not an exception. No matter how attractive studying people and cultures is, the academic workload often gets too tough and non-manageable, pushing students to extremes.

When you’re confused about how to compose an assignment, it’s better to look for an anthropology essay example online to see how others have done that before you. Or you may look for anthropology essay topics when your inspiration abandons you and offers no fresh ideas to start with. In any of these cases, we have a solution. Our company has a large team of experts able to cover any topic and subject, be it cultural anthropology or some exotic anthropological assignment. We have you covered, and you can rest assured that all texts will be completed in line with the best academic writing standards.

Cultural anthropologists and students of other anthropology specialties can order their papers within minutes by using our handy calculator on the main page. There is no more need to go through the tedious study process on your own if you can receive our help and close your homework gaps quickly.

Common Types of Writing Assignments on Anthropology Courses

Throughout your study at the anthropology department, you will be asked to perform an anthropological writing exercise of various kinds now and then. Some anthropology essays may be assigned with a specific topic and subject, while others will be left to your discretion, urging you to develop a critical insight into the surrounding community and approaching social issues around you from the standpoint of an anthropologist.

The most common types of anthropological writing you will come across at any college or university include:

  • Response papers. It’s a frequent assignment for students of all departments, but an anthropology essay requiring a student’s response will definitely possess its specifics. The purpose of such assignments is to show their serious engagement with the assigned readings and the provision of a balanced, critical summary and analysis of the studied content.
  • Precis. A precis paper is a specific type of response task that requires students to provide a high-quality interpretative summary of the studied material. Students are required to identify the central issue of the author’s concern, dwell on the text’s development, and shape a competent critical analysis of the content to share their personal, subjective stand on the issue of interest.
  • Term papers are another frequently assigned work type. Term papers are meant to check the students’ ability to synthesize the learned material, reflect on their learning progress during the term, and pick a relevant subject for an in-depth academic inquiry. It may be a task that cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and physical anthropology students alike can get.

What Is Ethnography?

When you study at an anthropology course, you should naturally be able to conduct competent, professional anthropological essay writing. Such assignments are typically based on a scholarly inquiry – a systematic approach to data available in the environment on the subject of the student’s interest.

This data is collected with the help of an anthropology-specific approach, ethnography. In a nutshell, ethnography stands for a research strategy that enables anthropologists to explore and examine the surrounding cultures and societies. As a rule, ethnographers come to the communities of their interest and observe them in the course of people’s natural interactions. The researcher also becomes a part of the community they research, trying to learn how to do things, interact with people, take interviews, and ask questions.

The basic premise of anthropology is that people’s cultural and social dimensions can be understood only in action. It is impossible to embrace any culture or way of doing things in theory. An anthropologist should get immersed into the community of focus and study their life in an uncontrolled, natural environment. With such specifics in mind, one can see that the primary focus of ethnography is to get a non-evaluative, first-hand impression of a specific social group as a result of in-depth, careful participant observation.

The primary precondition for an ethnographic study is the researcher’s presence in the site of interest and careful observation and recording of social interactions in the group of interest. In most cases, it presupposes fieldwork and takes the anthropologists to distant locations, such as Indigenous islands or communities of indigenous peoples in Canada and the USA. However, it is still possible to conduct high-quality ethnographic research even in your educational settings or neighborhood. 

How to Write an Anthropology Essay

Like any other kind of academic writing, anthropology essay writing follows a specific set of parameters and conventions. Be it cultural anthropology or physical anthropology task, your assignment should still include the essential elements of an academic composition, such as an introduction, a body, and a conclusion of the paper. 

Introduction

This part of your essay should clearly communicate the subject and its broad context, introducing the reader to the topic and helping them get all the information from your paper. It’s vital to introduce a problem statement in the form of a concise statement or statistics to show why your inquiry is important.

Body

The body of your anthropology essay is the most significant part of the assignment. It should include all significant arguments you have about your topic. Organize the body logically and consistently, thus helping the readers follow through.

Conclusion

This is the final part of your assignment that contains a set of inferences and takeaways at which you arrive in the process of essay composition and research. Don’t repeat your arguments overall; just make it a logical continuation of your inquiry and a reference to the broader significance of this research.

Besides, the process of anthropological writing involves taking the following steps to make your work worth a high grade:

  • Topic selection
  • Research for arguments
  • Outlining
  • Draft composition
  • Revision and editing

100 Anthropology Essay Topics

Are you looking for a well-written anthropology essay example to guide you through the writing process? You can find tons of valuable materials on this subject on our website.

Here we offer you something better – a list of exciting, thought-provoking anthropology essay topics to jumpstart your writing.

  1. The modern use of anthropological methods in forensic science.
  2. How have human beings evolved over time?
  3. What impact does technological progress have on people in developed and developing countries today?
  4. What are the implications of genetic engineering for the future of humankind?
  5. What is the best definition of culture in the modern globalized world?
  6. What beliefs about supernatural forces do modern communities still hold?
  7. How has literature affected human development?
  8. The social preconditions for the rise of terrorism in particular communities.
  9. Is the 21st century the time for abandoning social ranks and chaste?
  10. How does the approach to clothing design in specific cultures reflect their deeper cultural traits and features?
  11. Is it possible to get familiar with a specific culture by watching films and reading books about it?
  12. How can the study of ancient cultures help us understand modern socio-cultural trends?
  13. What role do ancestors play in the lives of specific communities? Has the modern developed society lost its connection with ancestors?
  14. Cultural differences in approaches to death.
  15. The tradition of body modification across the globe.
  16. The concept of race in the global society. What gives rise to racism?
  17. The place of mythology in modern communities.
  18. What role does storytelling play in child education around the globe?
  19. Is the time of closed societies coming to an end? Or is the post-globalization era signaling the new rise of closed communities?
  20. How do the features of society affect the rise of specific political movements and structures in those communities?
  21. How do modern societies treat heroes? Who are the heroes of particular societies, and how do those heroes reflect the deeper cultural trends?
  22. What implications does social status have in the modern world?
  23. How does the modern developed society treat health and well-being?
  24. How do different communities incorporate feminism in the 21st century?
  25. The impact of social traits on specific communities’ art.
  26. Does smoking produce a negative social effect?
  27. What impact did eugenics have on humanity in the 20th and 21st centuries?
  28. What are the popular theories of the human species’ emergence?
  29. The protective nature of cultural norms.
  30. The socially determined experiences of various illnesses.

Here is the list you can use to complete your assignments quickly and effectively. Still, if you feel hardships with these papers and want professional assistance from experts, it’s always a good idea to turn to us. We have a large team of anthropology experts ready to manage all kinds of assignments for you. So, contact us today to get an anthropology paper done in hours, study hassle-free, and know that your tasks are in good hands.

#1 The Neanderthals and Denisovans are practical case studies for determining whether a species is fully “human.”

The focus of this essay is on the characteristics that make a species fully “human”. In connection to this, the essay will discuss what is known about Neanderthals and Denisovans, which are practical case studies used in establishing if a species is fully human. The essay will focus more on Neanderthals and finally the paper will argue if Neanderthals were fully humans.
Physical characteristics that make a human ancestor “fully human” include being more lightly built and showing extremely robust traits. Long bones of the limbs and distal bones being longer than the proximal bones, a larger fore-brain and having a chin, smaller teeth, fewer jaw muscles and smaller lower faces are atypical to fully human. Intellectual characteristics encompass ability to abstract thought, expressing cultural creativity and using language to communicate (Hawks, 2014).

Neanderthals are extinct species of human within the genus Homo. The species evolved within the last 300,000 years. In regard to the anatomy of Neanderthal, it is essentially within human scope, with the equivalent number of bones as modern humans and they also function in the same way. The anatomical differences include that Neanderthals had more robust build and distinguishing morphological features. They had shorter limbs, barrel shaped rib cage and bigger nose as compared to the modern humans. According toTrinkaus & Shipman (1992) they were much stronger when compared to modern humans with extremely strong arms and hands and had comparative height and weight with modern humans. They had bigger sockets and bigger brain sections controlling vision, the reason there are perceived to have had better eyesight than modern humans. They had a big brain capacity; approximately 1200-1750 ml and hence about 100 ml bigger than modern humans (Gibbons, 2011). In regard to culture, Neanderthal buried the dead, had controlled fire use, performed religious rituals and utilized complex sentence structure within their spoken language (Trinkaus & Shipman, 1992). Neanderthals and modern human inhabited the same cave though at different times, used similar tools and hunted same animals. Comparison of Neanderthal genomes and that of modern humans indicated only 78 new nucleotide substitutions. They also interbred with modern humans indicating some compatibility (Gibbons, 2011).
Denisovans are extinct human species and were much different from modern humans. They live about 1,000,000 years ago. The finger bone that has been discovered so far was abnormally wide and robust. Denisovans lived in a caved that Neanderthals and modern humans lived. Their DNA has been found to be genetically different from that of Neanderthals and modern humans (Gibbons, 2011).

Neanderthals are fully human. They engaged in cultural habits that modern humans practice such as burying their dead, using tools, had an intricate social structure and used language. Neanderthal anatomy it is essentially within human scope and with differences that are very minor and can attributed to genetic adjustments because they were isolated individuals who lived a rigorous life within a harsh, cold climate. Their genome components also indicate similarity with that of humans where there have been only78 nucleotide substitutions within the last 78 years and such few changes indicate human lineage where only genetic modifications and mutations have occurred (Gibbons, 2011).

Conclusion

Characteristics atypical to a fully human consist of the ability to use language, intellectual ability, formation of social structure, and ability to perform cultural activities such as burying the dead and religious rituals. The anatomical characteristics are similar to the anatomical features found in the modern humans. In this view, Denisovans are not fully humans but Neanderthals are fully humans because they had almost all characteristics found in modern humans.

References

Gibbons, A. (2011). Who Were the Denisovans? Science. Vol.26 (333).
Gibbons, A. (2011). Close Encounters of the Prehistoric Kind. Science. Vol.7 (328).
Hawks, J. (2014). Still Evolving. Scientific American.
Trinkaus, E & Shipman, P. (1992). The Neanderthals: Changing the Images of Mankind. New York: Knophf.

#2 Evolution- Summary of Learning Outcomes

Name
Institutional Affiliation
Instructor
Course
Date

Over many decades, evolution of human being has been a subjected of research and discussion among many scholars, scientists and anthropologist. However, there is no single answer to that addresses the questions surrounding evolution as new discoveries are made every other time. This paper will review the learning outcomes of the previous units by looking what was striking the most and how adds value to my understanding of human evolution.

The most striking thing in chapter four is the fact that human beings are related to gorillas and chimpanzees but not their descendants. Most interesting is the fact that chimps and humans share 98.4% of the DNA. Also, the number of primate species is very significant. Despite the fact that the number is estimated to be between 250 and 300, only six of the species are apes while humans have only one species. Monkeys comprise the largest group of the species. Therefore, studying primates does not only help us understand the evolutionary lineage of human beings but also the behavioural traits that accompanied the primates in the evolutionary process. Africa is considered the cradle of mankind. This means that apes evolved first in Africa before its continuation in Europe and Asia. It is interesting to also learn that evolution can be dated back to as many years as 22 million years ago. The Proconsul was the first apes to be discovered in Africa while Sivapithecus appeared first in Europe. It is worthy to note that not all apes evolved the present day but some became extinct in the later Miocene. The few that survived gave rise to the current apes and humans, with monkeys undergoing substantial adaptive radiation hence forming a basis for the evolutionary characteristics of the modern species.

Also, different have different view of the world. There are those who view the world as a single entity while there are those whole hold on to the notion of double existence of the word. The varied views imply that different philosophies of knowledge about the world and how human beings came into existence exist. Conflicts are bound to arise given that religion believes in one supernatural being who is responsible for the creation of mankind. On the other hand, the scientist does not acknowledge this idea as they believe in evolution of human being from primitive forms to the modern being. The conclusion arrived at by the scientists is based on tangible evidence and scientific researches.

In summary, the existence of modern human beings triggers more enquiries and the need for more knowledge about the process of evolution. Different philosophies have emerged with each philosopher trying to give a justification of his or her view on human life. As far as early anthropologists like Mary Leaky and Charles Darwin believed that modern man was once an ape, it is important to note that the size of the brain or rather the level of intelligence was not the only trait that distinguished human being from apes. Other distinguishing characteristics emerged with time, thus generating other questions as to whether evolution is an endless process.

Reference

Parker, S. T., & Jaffe, K. E. (2008). Darwin’s legacy: Scenarios in human evolution. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
Susan G., and Francis E., (2014). Early Pliocene Bipedal Apes. Online lecture.

#3 Example

Article Summary
Your name:
Institution name:

1.Representing Islam: Orientalism and its Discontents

This article is about classic orientalism about Western conceptions of “the Orient,” in particular the Islamic and Arab world. Most colonial an post colonial studies have emerged from engagements with, and elaboration of, Said’s literature. This article has criticized Said for the gender-blindness of Orientalism. This blindness refers not only to a literal blindness to the centrality of gender an sexuality in orientalist discourse, but also to Said’s assertation that orientalism has been an exclusively male province. Abu-Lughod (2001) has undermined this view by documenting and exploring the ways in which women historically have participate in the development of Orientalism.
Said’s work has not only contributed to numerous debates about women’s role in orientalism and the ways in which orientalism is/was gendered, orientalism has been part and parcel of the inspiration behind important new scholarship about gender and women in Islam and Middle East, work that is sensitive to women’s experiences.

2.Islamophobia & Islamophilia

The relationship between terrorism and Islam has become a central concern following 9/11, and this has created a new round of culture argument (Mamdani, 2002). This argument has turned religious especially Islam into a political category. Differentiating a “good Muslim” from a “bad Muslim,” rather than civilians from terrorists. This article by Mamdani (2002) has suggested that people should lift the quarantine and turn the cultural theory of politics on its head. Beyond simple but radical suggestion that if there is a bad Muslim and a good Muslim, there is bad Westerners and a good Westerners.
What is problematic about Islamophobia is its universalizing and essentializing quality, which has cast Islam religion and all followers of Islam as potential and real enemies of the world (Mamdani, 2002). What has been harder to assess is the challenge of countering Islamophobia impulses in ways that do not simply reinforce or invert them by cultivating their opposite: the image of the Muslim as “friend,” as a figure identified with the Self, characterized as familiar, and with whom legitimate conflict is not possible.

3. Kemalism, a Global Mode of Politics

Over the years, commentators on Middle Eastern politics have been surprised, seduced and scandalized by the contradictory and unexpected relationship between popular politics and secularism. By contrast, social movement that have been committed to the reintroduction of religion into political and public life have been made use of the media of popular politics, including the vote and mass demonstration. In Turkey, self-described Islamic movements have asserted political demands against a secularized elite or secularizing by claiming the will of the person often through democratic channels.
The effort at refashioning secularism, as a form of popular rather than elitist politics, has not continued primarily through the critical discourse, self-conscious of politicians or public intellectuals. The reflections and arguments of the latter frequently reinscribe the demonstration in the regnant narrative of popular politics in Turkey.

4. Islamization, Gender and Islamic Feminism

The article by Navaro-Yashin (1999) has examined the developments in ‘Islamic feminism’. Focusing on Turkey theocracy, it can be argued that Islamization of gender relations has develop an oppressive patriarchy that cannot be replaced in a legal reforms. While a lot of women in turkey resist this patriarchal and religious regime, an increasing number of turkey activists and intellectuals have called for separations of religion and state, feminists of a cultural relativist an post-modernist persuasion don’t acknowledge the failure of the Islamic projects.
The Islamization of gender relations for a long time has received strong resistance. Over the years , the Islamic regime has experienced a serious crisis; it had failed to control workers, women, students, dissident nationalities and secular intellectuals. Over the past years, some supporters of ‘Islamic feminism’ have equated it with liberation theology in the west.

5. Islam and the City

There have been a resurgence of Islamic beliefs, and once again the questions of the Islamic cities have once again come to the fore (Abu-Lughod, 1987). In many parts of the Arab world, especially in the Middle East, urban planners are searching for the way to reproduce in today’s cities patterns of city building that have been identified as Islamic.
According to Marcais, Islam is an urban religion, and in support of this contention, Marcais argued that prophet Muhammad was an urbanite suspicious of nomads (Abu-Lughod, 1987). Marcais has been able to use the earlier chain of orientalism that, the mosque, like the church and synagogue are essentially urban (citadine).
It is important to criticize these approaches because most Arab nations planners are trying to recreate Islamic cities- but by means which are inappropriate because these planners focus more on the outcomes, rather than the processes (Abu-Lughod, 1987). They hope, by ordinance and edict, to preserve and to build new cities on an Islamic pattern, because cities are processes and not products. The elements that catalyzed the process that give rise to Islamic cities were: a distinction between the outsiders and members of the Umma (Abu-Lughod, 1987), which led to spatial and juridical distinction by neighborhoods; the segregation of gender which gave rise to a particular solution to the question of spatial organization.

6. Islam and Fiction

Sociology of literature is more like a field of flowers than a field of battle. In the past, sociology of literature has produce impressive theoretical assertions, brilliant, but isolated insights, and rich veins of research findings, but has not been organized around key debates or questions the way a proper field ought to be organized (Griswold, 1993). The sociology of literature has not been a favorite son of organized social science. Since the emancipation of literature study from the rigid research dicta historically entitled to offer aesthetic, historical and sociological generalization and criticism (Griswold, 1993). The academic disciplines that have been charged with the analysis and history of literature have been caught unaware by the impact of best seller, mass literature, the comics, popular magazines, and so forth. Academicians have maintained an attitude of indifference to the lower depths of imagination print. A challenge and a field have been left open and the sociologists are required to do something about it.
Almost all scholars who have contributed to the collection of essays are in agreement that a “scientific” approach or method to the history of literature would lead to nowhere (Griswold, 1993). Not only do they believe that each literature work contains in them some non-rational elements, scholars also consider any approach inadequate with regard to the very nature of the work under investigation (Griswold, 1993). Consequently, sociology of literature as it was developed ten decade ago is rejected and condemned as “historicizing psychologism,” as “historical pragmatism” and as “positivistic method.”

References

Abu-Lughod, L. (2001) ‘Orientalism and Middle East Feminist Studies’, in Feminist Studies 27, 1.
Abu-Lughod, J. (1987) ‘The Islamic City: Historic Myth, Islamic Essence and Contemporary
Relevance’, in International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 19, 2.
Mamdani, M. (2002) ‘Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and
Terrorism’, in American Anthropologist 104: 3.
Navaro-Yashin, Y. (1999) ‘The Historical Construction of Local Culture: Gender and Identity in
the Politics of Secularism versus Islam’, in C. Keyder (ed.) Istanbul between the Global
and the Local. Rowman and Littlefield, Boulder.
Seufert, G. (1999) ‘The Faculties of Divinity in the Current Tug-of-War’, in Les Annales de
l’Autre Islam, No.6, 353-369.
W. Griswold (1993) ‘Recent Moves in the Sociology of Literature’, in Annual Review of
Sociology 19.

#4 Rights as culture

Name
Tutor
Course
Date

Culture is one of the most important social aspects that have been guiding humans for centuries. Different people have always followed different cultures. It is through culture that people are diverse and this influences their perception of different issues. The relationship between people in the society is mainly governed by culture. Culture also influences the beliefs of the people in the society. The human rights issues are also influence by culture. Human right is considered the basic fundamental rights that should be enjoyed by all the humans regardless of their culture (Hood, 97). Some aspects of culture have been identified as the stumbling block for implementing the human rights. However human right is also a concept of culture. This creates some challenges in terms of addressing the human rights issues without considering the cultural issues and aspects. The paper thus discusses the concept of rights as a culture.

Discussion

According to Cowan, right as culture is one of the conjunctions between rights and culture (10). The anthropologists consider law as culture as it is aimed at governing the daily lives of the people. The law is usually applied to certain group of people who may be diverse in nature. The citizens are required to abide by the law in all their activities. This is similar to culture where the people are required to abide by their cultural practices and beliefs. The concept of human rights is derived from the law. In most countries, the national laws have clearly defined the rights of the people. This is also the same for the international laws that have been developed by the bodies such as the United Nations. Rights are, therefore, a culture as it is derived from the laws which in itself is considered a culture. The relationship between the law and culture makes rights a cultural issue. Since the law is an object of analysis in terms of the cultural issues, the rights is also part of culture. Most of the rights that have been outlined in the laws are derived from the culture of the people. This plays an essential role in linking rights to culture.
The rights in most cases are not informed by the philosophical assumptions. It is instead informed by the ideas of self and sociality. The ideals of self and sociality are closely related to the cultural aspects. In some instances, some of the rights issues have ended up being misinterpreted and misrepresented after leaving out the cultural aspects. According to Abu-Lughod, (p 784), the issues of rights and culture was misunderstood in the Afghan War. The American government insisted that it was freeing the women from the oppressive culture and upholding their rights. However, this failed to achieve any success as the culture was considered different from the rights. Most of the women still preferred their cultural practices as compared to the rights issues. The wearing of burqa which was seen as oppressive by the Americans did not stop even after the fall of the Taliban. This is a further indication that rights cannot be separated from culture. It is through culture that the people are able to understand the issues of rights. Most of the law makers are increasingly considering rights as culture. This has led to the development of a concept that is commonly referred to as human rights culture.

Cultural issues are considered as a tool for expanding legal and political apparatus. The culture of the people has to be respected in order for the aspects of rights to be successful. According to Hood, (p 102), there has been attempts to secure human rights while preserving the cultural identities of the people. This has been successful when dealing with the aspects of nature as well as political issues. The Islam world has faced some challenges in terms of maintaining the culture while securing the human rights. Most of the rights issues that have led to theses challenges are mainly associated with the western world which has totally different culture. This has led confusions and hence making it difficult to implement some of the human rights aspects. It is therefore an indication that rights is a cultural aspect. Any attempts to implement or enforce the rights issues on a particular group of people is bound to fail when culture is ignored (Calhoun, 870). However, it is also important to note that culture is not static and it undergoes changes over time. It is through the changes in the cultural aspects that the some of the countries have been able to fully embrace the rights issues that were not initially part of their culture.

The changes in culture has made is possible for some of the rights issues to be addressed. In the Arab world as well as Africa, the culture restricted some of the practices such as education of girls. However, with the changes in culture, the education for girls is currently acceptable. The concepts of equality are currently being embraced in most parts of the world as a result of culture changes. Most societies are striving to improve on the equality between men and women. There have been calls for positive cultural aspects to be maintained in order to ensure that the rights are promoted. According to Brown, (p 196), there have been calls to ensure that the culture is copyrighted. This can also play an important role in ensuring that the cultures of a particular group of people are not exploited. The rights of the sex workers have also been one of the contentious issues in most parts of the world. According to Kotiswaran, (p 582), there has been attempts to eliminate the sex trade through the implementation of strict legislations. This is as a result of how culture perceives the issues of sex trade. Most cultures have negative perceptions with regards to the sex trade and prostitution. As a result of this, it has become difficult for the rights of the sex workers to be protected. This is however practiced in the cultures that are less conservative.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident rights can be considered as a culture. This can be attributed to the link between culture, law and rights. It is evident that the cultural issues are usually considered when developing the law which has a direct impact on the rights. The practical examples of the Afghan war indicate that rights laws and issues cannot be implemented when culture is not considered.

Works Cited

Kotiswaran, Prabha. Born unto Brothels-Toward a Legal Ethnography of Sex Work in an Indian Red-Light Area. Law & Social Inquiry Volume 33 (2008), Issue 3, 579–629.
Brown, Michael. Born unto Brothels-Toward a Legal Ethnography of Sex Work in an Indian Red-Light Area. Current Anthropology Volume 39 (1998), Number 2,
Cowan, Jane. Culture and Rights after Culture and Rights. American Anthropologist, Vol.108 (2006), No. 1.
Calhoun, Craig. The Class Consciousness of Frequent Travelers: Toward a Critique of Actually Existing Cosmopolitanism. The South Atlantic Quarterly 101:4 (2002).
Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and its Others. American Anthropologist, 104:3 (2002), 783-790.
Hood Steven. Rights Hunting in Non-Western Traditions. Human Rights Law. 1997

 

#5 My Soul Journey in South East Asia

[Author Name(s), First M. Last, Omit Titles and Degrees]
[Institutional Affiliation(s)]
Author Note
Abstract

The essays below will focus on Southeast Asian geography, focusing on religious pilgrimages and reasons beyond.
The paper will follow and explore four individuals as they embark on personal journeys on the holistic landscape of South East Asia.
Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia to Makam Sunan Drajat [the tomb of Sunan Drajat] Java, Indonesia. 
An 18-year-old boy takes a journey after he discovers a letter from his mother who abandoned him at the doorstep of expat residents in Laos.
Pakxe, Laos to Wat Xieng Thong, Khem Khong, Luang Prabang, Laos”
A student at the National University of Laos. architecture faculty undertakes the journey to complete his thesis and re-link with his roots.
Manila, Philippines to Kamay Ni Hesus, Lucban, Quezo
A recent Social Science graduate embarks on a journey back to her homeland on a pilgrimage for mass prayer for slums in her land of origin.
Mandalay, Myanmar” to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Mon State, Myanmar”
An academic in the music field embarks on a journey to convert to Buddhism after he is drawn to subject matter of his studies.

My Soul Journey in South East Asia

My name is Widji Widodo. I was born in August 1998.I just turned 18 years old. The journey of my story began when my laminated school badge fell off my bag one day. It was picked up by a young girl. I heard someone running toward me and muttered to myself ‘I do not have extra lunch left’. Her voice droned in my ear. she shouted out in echoes. Poverty around me made me want to throw up my slices of well packed lunch box that I chewed on. The sounds and sights of poverty lingered all around me.
She uttered my full name. I was surprises and numb, slowing down in my strides. Then I saw her waving my badge. I latched onto it sacredly. “Hey, are you related to…Widji Thukul, his real name was Widji Widodo! she uttered excitedly.

I was raised in the home of expats living in Indonesia in a place called ‘Solo.’ More formally known as Surakarta located in the middle of the island known as Java. The expat community in Solo retirees living mainly in the countryside and some foreign academics studying Javanese culture, language,culture and tradition was a mere distant observation, with a bundle of material in literature, video and audio all in my parents’ library. They were academics. I never questioned my original roots and succumbed to convenient sustainability. It was a life a step ahead of the contrast of daily life in Solo. My expat adoptive parents shunned off any airs of curiosity.

But that day I questioned my name. I sat in the library and found an enclosed cabinet full off publications. Who was this? I read more. Widji Widodo, he was born in Solo in 1963. He was a poet with a voice of activism in the social and political sphere. He was one of the activists Widji Thukul including who disappeared during the black period 1997-1998 when many activists were either missing or abducted, and some were even killed mysteriously. His poems are political, often critical of the Indonesian government (under Suharto) and the social conditions of the country. It’s suspected that he’s one of many anti-government protesters abducted by government forces. Vaguely I knew I was taken into this home from birth, after I was left at the doorstep of my academic and theatre inclined parents, they named me and chose that name. Why? I dug deeper. I was born in a neighbourhood close by shortly after Widjy Thukul that I was named after, went missing after a protest and there was no trace of him. My roots? Nobody really knew. I was left in their care. I questioned holding the books authored by Widji Thukul in my hand.

My first names, I was told, was given to them in a package with the books and a letter. My parents gave me the letter. The envelope italised “I leave you apart from the trenches of poverty and continue on my mission” When you are 18, take the pilgrimage to Makam Sunan Drajat.My journey to heal had sparked off. My point of departure was a pilgrimage.

I left at Surakarta and stopped at Solo Blalpan after almost four hours. Then walked for six minutes to Plaza Surabaya Gubeng and another bus from Plaza Surabaya for forty minutes. We reached the masjid Tamiriya Indrapura after one and a half hour on bus we got to the terminal Bunder and then another long ride for two hours at Pasar Waga. After a thirteen minute walk I reached my destination Makam Sunan Drajat. The tomb of Sonan Drajat is in Drajat, Lomongan. Sunan Drajat spread Islam in the island of Java. Born in 1470 AD by the name of Raden Qasim. Sunan Drajat was known for his philosophy and social awareness spirit. The Sunan Drajat philosophy of reducing poverty is enshrined in stairs to the he seventh level of the Tomb.

Memangun tyasing Sasoma recipe (we always make other people happy)
Jroning like kudu Eling lan alert (in a jovial mood we should be aware and alert)
Laksmitaning subrata tan nyipta marang pringgabayaning lampah (on the way to achieving the goal – a lofty we are not concerned with any form of obstacle)
Mèpèr Hardaning Pancadriya (we should always suppress a surge of passions)
Heneng – Hening – Henung (at rest we will get in a state of stillness and silence that we will achieve the goal – noble)
Mulya to Panca Time (an inner and outer happiness can only be achieved with prayers five times a day)
Mènèhana signed marang wong kang Wuta, Mènèhana manganese marang wong kang luwé, Mènèhana fashion marang wong kang Wuda, Mènèhana ngiyup marang wong kang kodanan (Give science for people to be clever, Teach morality in people who have no shame, and give the protection of people who suffer)
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Sunan Drajat also became known as a saint of songs of Java. Mocopat is a pickaxe that is played using a gamelan set “Singo Mengkok”. The gamelan set Sunan Drajat Kuno is stored in the museum of the Sunan Drajat complex that is located Sunan Drajat tomb. Clutching mother’s letter in my hand, I whispered out…My son…. Widji Wadoto.by the time you read this letter, arise, take a pilgrimage to Makam………hear the sounds, feel the words…….
Pakxe, Laos to Wat Xieng Thong to Khem Khong, Luang Prabang, Laos
My name is ……………………….. I am an architecture student at the National University of Laos (NUOL), a university located in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. I am originally from Pakse, which is predominantly Buddhist. I decided to embarked on a journey to Khem Khong, for an assignment of a thesis on architect sites in Laos. Laos had multiple architecture sites to choose from. I chose this as a particular combination as a journey of my soul. I initiated the journey with a short family visit in Pakxe.
Tourists take the journey to Laos for many reasons but Laos Architecture is an exciting stimuli with the attachment to animism and Buddhism. Animal shapes and Buddha images are usually featured in Laos. Some historical constructions were damaged as a result of war but there are several remnants that wins the interest of architects, tourists, archaeologists and adventurers worldwide.

Significant attractions in Laos are influenced by the French colonial era. The city of Pakxe was founded by French administration. It was formerly a residence of King Ratsadanay (1874-1945), the father of Prince Boun Oum who became the Prime Minister between 1948–1950 and also from 1960–1962. He eventually retired from the political sphere and pursued business ventures from Pakxe and Chapassak until he went into exile, when communist forces came into power in 1975.
The route northeast toward the No.38 Road, from there I was on route 13 to Vientiane where my University is based. Eventually it was Route 4 to Luang Prabang, Kingkitsarath Rd to Khem Khong. The destination was on the left of Khem Khong.

Wat Xieng Thong is at the tip of the peninsula in Luang Prabang, Laos. It is richly decorated and attractive. This royal temple was built in 1559 on the Mekong River Banks. It was one of the few temples that survived in the 1887 invasion of the Black flag army.
The most attractive building is the congregation hall of the Wat Xieng Thong temple. Extensive decoration of gold stenciling on a black lacquer background covers the interior and exterior of the areas.
A tree of life mosaic on a red background was created in the 1960’s with a standing Buddha picture and images of a tiger and two peacocks and a man walking. The mosaic has an entrance door intricately carved on either side. The interior consists of pillars of teak wood supporting the roof. The walls are stenciled in gold with animals, floral motifs and daily life scenes.
r.
Chariot Hall
Tree of life
Manila, Philippines to Kamay Ni Hesus, Lucban, Quezon
The journey began with a traveler, Angelika Kei. She was born and raised in the Philippines but eventually moved to the USA with her parents and continued schooling there. During her last semester in Philippines college she was designated on an outreach programs in the Smokey Mountains. A slum area in the Manila, Philippines. Smokey Mountains is the largest dumpsite and impoverished area where garbage is gathered by over 250,000 people, who make a living this way.
Several years have passed and she had achieved her academic levels in social sciences. She decides to embark back on a trip in a venture to take a pilgrimage of healing for the slums of Manilla.
The bus journey was a three hour route. It passed Sariava and Tiaong Candelaria. There are mini buses and jeepeys that travel to Lucban.
Kamay ni Hesus Shrine
Kamay ni Hesus Shrine located in in Lucban Quezon is a destination for all those who seek to be part of the chapel healing mass. The journey involves climbing 305 steps to statue of Ascending Christ which is 50ft tall.
The property has various sites inclusive of Noah’s Ark, Luklukan ni Maria, Resurrected Christ, Garden of Eden, The Angels Hill, Gallery of Saints, the religious Murals and The Marian Park.
Noah’s Ark was intended to be spiritual retreat, for families and individuals in need of spiritual renewal.
Mandalay, Myanmar” b. to “Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Mon State, Myanmar”
My Journey in Myanmar
Myanmar is a country that is known for Buddhist Pagodas, natural landscapes and ancient cities with remarkable traditional ways. In an academic discourse in my music major I got drawn into an assignment. Shortly after I discovered my original heritage was linked to Myanmar. I made a bold decision to undertake a conversion to Buddhism as the insight and philosophy entered every segment of my soul, through my personal and academic journey. My Thesis was on Nandashay Sayar Tin, the composer of the national anthem.
I eventually took on the initiative to name myself w Sayar, Burmese meaning “Teacher’, to link with my Mandalay roots.
After high school, Tin worked at a private school and also established himself in traditional Burmese Sounds. The “young men Buddhist private school was founded by him in 1918.
In 1930 the school was closed and Tin relocated to Yangon, where he had recorded music recorded, Tin joined a political movement. He composed the anthem ‘Kaba Ma Kyei’, the national Burmese anthem. “Till the end of the world’. Tin was imprisoned after patriotic lyrics of the song he composed after a ceremony rendition and accused of inciting activism by the British officers. He was eventually releases in 1946 and the song became a national anthem and he was awarded on the Independence Day on January the fourth in 1950.
After I completed my thesis of Sayar Tin I undertook my journey of conversion to Buddhism.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is perched on the edge of a cliff. It is a giant rock that is gravity defying and plastered with gold leaf. Also known as Golden Rock, it is a site of sacred pilgrimage site located in Mon State. According to legend folklore it is maintained that rock defies gravity and keeps balance as it contains a strand of Buddha’s hair that is meticulously placed.
It was the day I converted to Buddhism

References

Evans, G (1998) The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos Since 1975 .
Quin,G, Throwing money at the holy door: Commercial aspects of popular pilgrimage in Java,
Fealy and Sally White (eds.) , Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia
. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies ( 2007), p 63-7
Usa International Business Publications , Laos Business Law Handbook
Wilkinson,G(2015)Golden Rock, Myanmar: Asia’s mysterious giant rock defying the rules of gravity
http://kamaynihesus.ph/about-us/
Jovino, S , Smokey Mountain: A walk through the slums of Manila,Philippines ,justonewayticket.com
 Renown Travel ( 2010 – 2016), Wat Xieng Thong,One of Laos’ most beautiful and richly decorated temples
Yampolsky,T,R,(2003) Wiji Thuku: People’s poet , Lontar Foundation, Jakarta.
Article: , (Last Name, Article Title, Year),ture and Rights. American Anthropologist, Vol.108 (2006), No. 1.
Calhoun, Craig. The Class Consciousness of Frequent Travelers: Toward a Critique of Actually Existing Cosmopolitanism. The South Atlantic Quarterly 101:4 (2002).
Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and its Others. American Anthropologist, 104:3 (2002), 783-790.
Hood Steven. Rights Hunting in Non-Western Traditions. Human Rights Law. 1997

 

 

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