Group Garbage Project
ANT 101: Doing and Writing Anthropology
You are an employee of the Anthropology and Demographics Company. They have been hired by the Lexington/Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) to describe the demographic makeup of various neighborhoods in the City so that they can best provide services. That is, they want some detail about WHO is living in Lexington neighborhoods. Your company decides to do case studies of households in several different neighborhoods, and you are responsible for conducting one of these. Your method is to collect all the garbage from a single household for one week, and analyze it in order to reconstruct the household’s characteristics.
In discussion with a small in-class group, you will do an anthropological analysis of the garbage data provided for your household. Read through the garbage list assigned to your group. Your task is to try to reconstruct the life of the household from the garbage left behind. For example, if you find lots of diapers, you’ll know that a baby lives there. Can you tell if the baby was part of a small family – perhaps only mom, dad and baby – or does the garbage indicate a large family, perhaps a single father and 4 children from baby to teenager? What kind of garbage would indicate that the family was well to-do, perhaps travelled a great deal (plane tickets, travel brochures)? That they were of low income but hard-working (pay stubs)? Perhaps the household was a group home of some sort, housing 4-5 students of both genders, who seldom cooked, but held large parties from time to time. What would their garbage look like? It may help you to think about your OWN garbage can: what do YOU leave behind that might tell an archaeologist who you are?
During your discussions, develop answers to the following questions:
1) How many people live in this household, what are their ages and genders?
2) What is the economic status of the household and/or individuals in the household?
3) What are their lives like, what do they do?
4) Can you say anything about their ethnicity – that is, does the garbage give you evidence for affiliation with a particular culture?
5) Do you have any additional comments about the household?
How to do the write-up:
You will write up the assignment individually.
Your write-up is in the form of a report to your company. Your company, of course, will not accept your report unless they are confident that you developed your report in the proper manner. Therefore, in crafting your report, you must provide not only written answers to the questions above, but also your reasoning for the answers. In other words, it is not enough to say that “two people live in the household”: you must also state how you and/or your group determined that number. What is the evidence to support your assumption? That is, you are providing the data and your interpretation of those data. For each question, consider whether there any problems or weaknesses in the data that keep you from being fully confident of your results. Then tell what other data you would need to increase your confidence level – that is, what kinds of physical remains (artifacts) would clarify the answer to the question?
It is important to realize that there may be dissenting opinions in your group. That’s fine. As we have learned, not all researchers interpret data in the same way. Feel free to include dissenting opinions (alternative explanations) in your report, BUT you MUST provide your own reasoned response to the questions, as well.
Your report should have a title and be single-spaced, with standard one-inch margins, and page numbers – it should be no longer than 1.5-2 pages, and use 11 or 12 point font. Provide the “author’s” name at the top. The report should include
1. an “Introduction” that states the purpose of the report and your data collection strategy. Tell what advantage, if any, analyzing garbage may have over interviewing the occupants of the house,
2. a “Results” section in which you
a. answer each question. Use sub-headings for each question to help keep you organized
b. provide the reasoning behind the answer to each question
c. tell whether there are any weaknesses in the data that keep you from being fully confident about the answer
d. tell what kind of data would strengthen your conclusions
3. a “Conclusion” that presents key findings.
PLEASE USE HEADINGS FOR EACH OF THESE SECTIONS.
The assignment must be saved as a Microsoft Word document and uploaded to Blackboard. Please note: your assignment must be submitted in Microsoft Word.
Grading Rubric: (30 possible points)
This assignment provides further practice in developing critical thinking and communication skills, particularly your analytic skills and the ability to effectively support and communicate the results of your analysis to an audience. Your report will be evaluated based on the following criteria.
Criteria Possible points
Follows all directions with respect to format, including page number, line spacing, type size, margin width, page numbers and report sections with headings. 3
Answers all questions and provides the strategy/reasoning used for answering them based on data. 6
Analysis is logical, thoughtful, and anthropologically-informed 6
Recognizes any weaknesses in the data and communicates alternative or dissenting interpretations from the group discussion (if appropriate). 6
Conclusion goes beyond a simple summary and identifies key findings. 5
Writing mechanics (punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc.) follow conventions. Grammar (agreement, tense, case, number, pronoun use, etc.) follows conventions.
In-Class Group Work for Assignment 2
The following lists represent a typical collection of garbage and some recycling produced by one Lexington household during an average week.. Follow the guidelines for Assignment #2 for both the in-class and individual write-up components.
Envelopes from bills for the following utilities and services: electricity, gas, water, waste removal, cell phone, Visa, MasterCard
1 box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
1 package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs
1 package of Wonder Bread hot dog buns
1 jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce
2 boxes of Ronzoni spaghetti
2 McDonald’s bags
1 Pop Tarts box
1 can of Comet cleanser
1 Container for Dial deodorant
14 Capri Sun juice boxes
1 receipt for a monthly pass on LexTrans
1 Receipt from Chuck-E-Cheese for a medium pizza and 2 sodas
6 12-ounce bottles of Corona Light beer
1 receipt from Target for the following:
• Two 3-ring binders, 2 pencil boxes, 2 rulers, one calculator, 2 pencil cases, one highlighter marker, a 3-pack of graph paper, the Real Construction Deluxe Tool Workshop toy-set (Ages 6-15 recommended), the LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “The Shellraiser Street Chase” (ages 7 and up), 1 box of generic ibuprofen (500 count), one 24-pack of Angel Soft toilet paper, one Swiffer Sweeper replacement, one value-pack of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, one value-pack of Kraft Mac N’ Cheese, one 6-pack of children’s athletic socks, 1 box of Tums, one tube of Crest toothpaste.
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