Ethnology of East Africa

Evaluation & Assignments

[ANTH 325C][Feast][Map Quiz][Word][Swahili Culture]
[Bibliography][Term project][Bottom]

Participation & Attendance (20%):  Attendance is required; after the first two weeks, a sign-in sheet will be circulated.  If you sign-in and depart, this will be noted.  There will be seminar-style discussions.  If you are absent, you cannot participate.  (See VIU Calendar, General Regulations - Attendance.)

Active participation is contributing to all class activities; discussion is the primary one.  Credit will not be given to verbose individuals who enjoy the sound of their voices.  The quality of comments and/or questions raised during discussion is what matters, not quantity.  Be an informed participant by completing the assigned articles before class.

At the end of week 4 and 12, please submit a self-evaluation of your participation (no more than 250-300 words: hard copy or through Moodle).  Provide a score out of 10, 10 being “perfect”—i.e., prepared to discuss readings, speaks in class by asking relevant questions or commenting to further understanding of topic(s), responds and listens respectfully, does not dominate interactions, refrains from being disruptive, and attends regularly and on time.  Do not obsess over the writing of this; be reflective and honest about your participation.

For those who are less confident about speaking in class, participate in the Moodle discussion forum.  Each student is expected to contribute to this forum (minimum of four posts), either by posting a relevant article, or commenting on one beyond any associated with assignments.  A posting should be a substantive comment, i.e., an informed opinion, not one that states agreement.  The quality of your comments will matter in determining your participation mark.

To receive full credit for participation, you must 1) attend class, 2) participate fully in class activities (discussion and other), 3) provide two self-assessments of participation, and 4) post to Moodle.


An East African Feast (5%):  During class we will have a potluck, but the focus will be on identifying and explaining a food and/or its related custom associated with a particular people or country.  For greater variety, you may select a dish/food from the larger area of eastern Africa, which includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia, to discuss.

For your commentary, provide the “what, where, who, when, why” of the food item.  Indicate the form of subsistence pattern followed by the group and the type of ecology (e.g., marine, desert, forest, etc.).  Although presented in class, a summary will also be posted to Moodle to share—no more than 500 words, excluding any recipe.  Ensure that proper citation is used where appropriate, i.e., AAA-style guide.

Bring something to share, it does not have to be East African cuisine.

  Feast Day: September 12


Map Quiz (10%):  Like its people, diversity is to be found in Tanzania’s physical landscape—mountains (e.g., Mount Kilimanjaro), lakes (e.g., Lake Victoria), rivers (e.g., Rufiji)—and unique geological features (e.g., Eastern Rift Valley).  You should know where some of these places are!

  QUIZ DATE: September 24


What’s in a word? (5%):  To learn the Swahili language requires a course in itself, but you can learn something by examining the etymology of words.  Each student will sign-up for two days.  Beginning week 4 (September 24), during class two students will present a word.  On the chosen day, the individual will introduce the class to a word.  What does the word tell us?  That is, possible origin, type of kinship system or religion, recent borrowing and/or invention, etc.  For example, consider the word “money.”  More than one word is in use, each is related to trade between differing economic partners through time.  Use The Internet Living Swahili Dictionary or my personal dictionaries during office hours.  These words will form a Kiswahili-wiki on Moodle.


Swahili Culture (short paper, 15%):  You have two ethnographies on the Swahili.  Each is written very differently.  Discuss and expand on one or two social institutions, e.g., marriage, religion, etc.  Incorporate materials from Bohannan and Curtin (1995), Middleton (2004), Mirza and Strobel (1989), as well as other resources.  You should be synthesizing, as well as analyzing, these readings.  Papers should be 3-5 pages in length, approximately 900-1500 words, excluding endnotes and bibliography.

Your paper will be evaluated according to the following: 1) research of the topic(s); 2) development of your position; 3) critical thinking; and 3) spelling, grammar, and presentation.

  DUE: October 24


Annotated Bibliography (10%):  This is your opportunity to focus on a particular group and/or issue in greater depth, e.g., Hadzape, Makonde, globalization, HIV/AIDS, etc.  Depending on the topic, there should be a mix of articles and books or book chapters.  You should have a minimum of 7-10 references.   Follow citation references according to the American Anthropological Association Style Guide.  Refer to my comments on "Using Internet Resources"; books or articles are the best sources.  Do NOT just use Internet resources!  If in doubt, check with me.

Annotated bibliographies provide full citation sources, PLUS some form of brief summary or annotation of assessment.   Remember to alphabetize these.  For further information regarding annotated bibliographies, go to: (Purdue University On Line Writing Lab), or (Writing at the University of Toronto), or (Cornell University Library).

Topics MUST be approved (week 5) for your final project and are to be problem-based.  A solely descriptive paper or presentation will NOT be acceptable. 

  DUE: November 14


Term Paper or Presentation (25%):  You have a choice for your final term project, either a paper or oral presentation.  By week 5 (October 1 or 3), you must indicate which format you have chosen, as well as, your topic or focus; all topics MUST be approved.  A title and preliminary bibliography are due October 31

Written Paper: a term paper should illustrate your ability to think and write critically and intelligently.  If you write a solely descriptive work, do not expect a high mark.  I am interested in hearing your opinion; therefore, you need to take a position in presenting the issue(s), and, then, support it.  Persuade me by your logic!  Papers should be 10-15 pages in length.

A 10-15 page paper is between 3000 and 4500 words, excluding endnotes and/or bibliography.  Ensure that you use AAA-style citation format!

Your paper will be evaluated according to the following: 1) research of the issue(s); 2) development of your position; 3) critical thinking; and 3) spelling, grammar, and presentation.

Oral Presentation: A final bibliography is to be submitted the day of your presentation (your mark will be affected without it).  Your presentation will be approximately 15 minutes, with five minutes for discussion. There is NO paper, so your evaluation is based solely on the presentation.  For this reason, you need to use your time wisely to make your argument or point(s).

Although your presentation may include visual aids, content is still the area in which you should devote your greatest attention.  A presentation with lots of "flash" illustrates that you know how to use technology; if there is no substance behind the flash, then your mark will reflect this.  Review my "Guidelines and Tips for Presenters."  You will be graded on:

bulletcontent (14 pts), 
Your information should be relevant, informative, interesting, credible, and effective.  Does it contribute to our understanding of the question/issue posed?
bulletpresentation style (7 pts), and
Your presentation should be organized (well coordinated); the speaker should have "presence" (eye contact, audible voice, good overall demeanour); and visual aids should be appropriate and enhance the presentation.  If you leave your audience "wowed" and informed, then consider your presentation style effective.
bullet discussion (4 pts).
This portion of your grade is based on how well you handle questions and encourage audience feedback.

NOTE: You are responsible for ensuring that all equipment used is in working order (have a back-up ready!).  Any delay due to technical failure will be deducted from YOUR time!

Presentations will be held during week 13 (November 26 and 28).   

  DUE: Papers, November 28

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Created 09/03/2008; last updated 09/04/2008
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