Anthropology 101 online 1
You’ll want to read this guide carefully and in its entirety.
CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE:
Contents and Overview (page 1)
The Topic (page 2)
Requirements, and Submission Deadline (page 3)
Further Requirements, and Grading Criteria (page 4)
Getting Started [suggestions for finding information on the topic] (page 5)
Locating anthropological sources for your anthropological analysis section (page 6)
This assignment has been created to give you yet more valuable experience at:
• pulling together a fact-‐gathering effort
• making yourself familiar with the facts surrounding an (international)
• then organizing the facts into a coherent body of information
• and then most importantly, using critical thinking skills + an anthropological perspective
to arrive at an informed conclusion about the facts you’ve assembled.
➙ In this case, you’ll be using an anthropological perspective as the basis for your
explanation of ‘why’ and ‘how’.
Research papers like this are intended to give you more practice at consulting sources on a topic and organizing the
information from them in a coherent way—an important skill in professional life.
IN YOUR PREPARATION, you’re expected to consult sources of information/data, and sources
that will assist you in interpreting the data (as an anthropologist), digest all you’ve read, and
then, in your own words (citing sources), bring the data and your anthropological explanation
together in your paper.
It’s when you’re including specific KEY data or information in your paper that you’ll probably want to quote your source verbatim (and cite)
in the body of the paper.
Anthropology 101 online Topic: South Sudan 2
TOPIC: The political instability in South Sudan: explain it using an anthropological perspective
Introduction and overview:
The state (“country”) of South Sudan officially came into being on July 9, 2011. South Sudan broke away from the
state of Sudan after a 22-years-long-civil war, pitting rebels from the Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Army under
Movement leader John Garang against national government forces.
Elections were held to fill the offices of President and Vice President, as well as members of the new Parliament. But
by December 2013, elected President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar broke with one another, and civil war
ensued within South Sudan, and eventually Machar had to flee the country. So on September 29
, 2015, the United
Kingdom (Britain) announced it was sending ‘peacekeeping’ forces to bolster UN forces that were already in place. In
the wake of pressure from the U.K. and U.S., the Kiir faction allowed Machar to return to South Sudan, which
occurred on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. He was again officially sworn in as Vice President. Kiir and Machar barely spoke
to one another in the ceremony, but both promised to cease hostilities and form a coalition government. Now, less
than a year later, how’s that working out?
For this assignment, report on the situation in South Sudan from a historical, and current events standpoint. Then,
from an anthropological perspective, flesh out a context that will help you explain why this situation in South Sudan
exists. (and in doing so, why situations like this are not rare throughout Africa, or for that matter, throughout the
For this topic, you’re called upon first to research into the ‘what’ of this situation: the relative quality and depth of
your reportage goes into 75% of your grade on the paper (quality of Bibliography, identifying the important,
applicable facts, and presenting them in a cogent manner).
The remaining 25% is based on your use of an anthropological perspective in formulating your explanation of the
‘why’. —Your ability to identify the aspects of this set of circumstances that an anthropologist would probably find
useful in coming to an understanding of what’s going on, here.
Some possible avenues to pursue, alleyways to snoop around in:
• Among the traditional peoples inhabiting South Sudan are the Nuer (!), whom you met in the video.
The village you saw in the film was located in Ethiopia—traditional Nuer territory has been bisected by
the boundary between Ethiopia and (now) South Sudan (the Nuer inhabit the southern portions of both
states). Just to the west in South Sudan is the traditional territory of a people called the Dinka, mortal
enemies of the Nuer. In the colonial era, the boundaries of “Sudan” were very likely drawn to divide
the Nuer and place the western Nuer in the same polity as their mortal enemies. Point out the current
consequences of that tactic.
• Research and find all of the traditional peoples who were occupying territories that now lie within the
boundaries of South Sudan. How do they fit in the grand scheme of this (imposed) system, and could
this contribute to all of the strife going on within South Sudan’s young borders?
• More recently, political strife along the border between Sudan and South Sudan has been an ongoing
factor. How does this complicate matters further?
- Reference (in your research and in your Bibliography) Durrenberger and Erem: what do they focus on as they
explain the sources of the social phenomena and problems featured in their chapters?
- Reference the videos, and the in-class commentaries and (when available) viewing guides: actively look for
points that could apply to your topic.
- Actively reference the in-class Power Points: some portion may directly apply to your topic, others could be
- Feel free to also reference ‘outside’ anthropological sources. The information on a good way to do that is given
on page 6 of this guide.
Anthropology 101 online Topic: South Sudan 3
• MINIMUM LENGTH: 1200 words. (There is no maximum).
(Your paper won’t be eligible for receiving a grade of “A” or “B” if this requirement isn’t met.)
• Double spaced.
• The Prescribed (Required) Structure for the Paper:
You will divide your paper into sections, using these Section Headings:
(One or two paragraphs: tell your reader what you’re going to tell her/him) (relative weighting: 5%)
II. Environment and Natural History.
(i.e., set the stage). You’ll find it helpful to include a map, or maps. (10%)
III. The Pre-Colonial Era.
(Identify the “traditional” societies, traditional way of life, and how they interacted.) (15%).
IV. The Colonial Era.
(There were two “colonial” eras—briefly discuss the first, and concentrate on the second: chronologies,
colonial powers involved, their motivation, effects on “traditional” peoples.) (15%).
V. Independence and After.
(Chronology, events, politics.) (15%).
VI. An Anthropological Perspective.
Give a detailed explanation using an anthropological perspective why this is happening. (25%)
• (HINT: the Kuna narrative.
• (HINT: pre-colonial, ‘traditional’ enmities [look it up]) that may still influence events.
• (HINTS: the Pre-colonial and Colonial eras; structure of the Modern World System and global
(One or two paragraphs: tell your reader what you’ve told him/her.) (5%)
VIII. [BIBLIOGRAPHY—quality (accorded greater weight) + quantity: 10%]
• Single space the bibliography.
• Number or bullet each entry into the Bibliography.
• Skip a line between each entry.
• There is no requirement as to a particular style.
• SUBMISSION OF PAPER:
You will submit your paper to a Turn It In link that will be placed in the DrexelLearn site.
This will allow verification of length of paper, verification of sources, as well as indication of
plagiarism or fabrication. These practices and their consequences (notably, a “0” [zero]
for the assignment) are discussed in your Course Syllabus—read that.
The Turn It In will remain open beyond the deadline for late submissions, although these will
understandably be graded down.
Anthropology 101 online Topic: South Sudan 4
• You must cite your sources within the body of your paper: e.g.:
(United Nations 2014) (Rosaldo 1992: pagenumber)
• Your paper must include interpretation/analysis from an anthropological perspective
of the facts you present. —If you wish to be eligible for the awarding of an “A” on your paper.
To meet this requirement, consult your textbook, the Power Point lectures, videos, etc.
—How might Durrenberger and Erem, and/or I (the Instructor) go about explaining the
current situation, drawing on:
• geographic factors
• traditional past of the peoples inhabiting the territory before statehood
• historic events within the context of the World System existing at the time
• structure of the World System as presently constituted
• and by employing an ‘anthropological’ way of looking at the world
The specific grading method: Each of the section titles [Introduction, Environment and Natural History,
Precolonial Era, etc., + Bibliography] are entered into the Turn It In’s grading function.
For each of your sections [+ Bibliography], I’ll click on ratings of
100%, 94%, 86%, 76%, 66%, or 56%
reflecting my judgment of how well you’ve covered that section topic.
(Or, not give any credit if the topic hasn’t been addressed).
Turn It In keeps the running tally of the ratings and relative weightings.
Your grade will be influenced by the following aspects:
• Length (meeting the prescribed minimum for length).
• Apparent quality (secondarily, quantity) of research, as reflected in your bibliography and in your grasp
of the data.
Quality of your sources comes into play here. Given that this is a university-level paper, at least semischolarly, more respected, and more verifiable sources are ascribed more “heft” than, e.g., Ask.com.
Examples of the kinds of sources you’ll want to use are given below.
• Apparent amount/degree of effort you exerted toward accumulating and assembling data, and toward
trying to ‘read’ the data as an anthropologist might. [There is a comparative element to this aspect—
those doing a better job will justifiably get a higher assessment).
You’ll want to facilitate your receiving the highest grade possible by structuring your paper into those
TITLED SECTIONS—that follow the prescribed outline given above. First of all, this is a more scholarly
way of presenting material (!). But as importantly, it usually results in a somewhat higher grade because
the reader doesn’t have to search high and low for data that’s spread randomly throughout the paper.
Anthropology 101 online Topic: South Sudan 5
Getting started—finding the ‘WHAT’
The CIA website, the BBC website, and the al Jazeera English website are good places to
start getting yourself oriented to the topic:
• CIA: All of the political states worldwide are listed. This gives you a very good
standardized list of basal information about any country (although much of it not from an
• BBC: Click on the WORLD tab and check for the latest news stories for South
Sudan; then type “south sudan” into the search window and get news stories from
the past and a Country Profile.
• al Jazeera English: Look for late-breaking news stories on the home page; then type
“south sudan” into the search window and get more news from the recent past.
Also, they carry incisive, insightful commentaries on another tab, possibly some
will apply to the topic. NOTE: there used to be an al Jazeera America site—if you end up at its old
shell by mistake, there’s a link to al Jazeera English up in the top right corner.
General data and perspective
• Wikipedia, Ask.com, infoplease.com, Encyclopedia Britannica online, and similar
sites, while generally good, are not allowed—use will constitute grounds for a
reduction of grade. Part of the reason for this exercise is to acquaint you with more
‘serious’ sources. The Turn It In will pick up on these sources if you use them.
• Some examples: vetted sources ➙ news, analysis, general data and/or perspective:
• The Mail and Guardian web site
• The Independent web site
• International Herald-Tribune web site
• www.the-african.org; mbali.info (Social Service Research Council)
• www.adomonline.org (Africa Watch)
• www.un.org (United Nations)
• USAID web site
• Examples of semi-scholarly publications that could lend depth to your analysis and
overall understanding (for suggestions for accessing online, see next page):
• Review of African Political Economy
• Forced Migration Review
• National Geographic
Anthropology 101 online Topic: South Sudan 6
Analysis section: Anthropological perspective—
finding the ‘WHY’ (and making yourself eligible for an “A” on the assignment)
• Draw on Power Point lectures, the text, and the videos
• Outside anthropological sources would obviously help your grade….
Drexel’s Hagerty Library provides free access to scholarly e-journals for students (actually,
you pay for the access in your tuition and fees). The complete list of e-publications that
Hagerty subscribes to is large.
What I do: locate scholarly sources via Google Scholar, note them, and then
access them at no charge through Hagerty.
Here’s the process:
• Go to Google home. In the black bar at the top, click on “More”.
• At the bottom of the drag-down menu, click on “Still More”.
• Find “Scholar” near the bottom of the right-hand column of listings.
• Locate likely-looking articles and access the blurbs/synopses.
For articles, etc., that seem promising, but require that you pay a fee for access:
Note the publication, volume and number, and page numbers, and access
them via the Hagerty site through your DrexelOne account:
• In DrexelOne, click on the “Drexel” tab.
• In the “Library” section, click on “Electronic Resources”
• Click on “Search for print and electronic journals (by title)” OR “Browse
alphabetical lists of e-journals”
• [The rest should be obvious]