Religions of South East Asia

Course Paper – Religions of Southeast Asia
Winter 2018
Choice of three topics
You will be writing a paper based on one of the three possible topics listed below. All topics
will require that you take fieldnotes and provide at least one photo of you at your field-site on the
day you are conducting your research. The minimum word count for this assignment is 1500
words.
Topic 1 – Lunar Vietnamese/Chinese New Year Event
There are numerous lunar new year’s events happening all over Southern California. You will
need to report your observations of one of these events in a minimum 1500 word essay (you will
need to include a total word count on your paper). Your paper should be double-spaced and use
proper paragraph formatting. You will want to organize your paper into particular topics based
on your observations. You will have to decide what your paper topics will be based on your own
observations. Your paper should be well organized, clearly written, and incorporate proper
grammar and spelling as appropriate to any university level paper.
You must take thorough field notes while attending the event. Please take paper (a small
notebook is fine) and pen/pencil with you to the event. You also need to take at least 5 pictures at
the event you attend. One of those pictures should feature yourself at the event to that it is clear
you were physically present at the event during the time you describe in your paper and
fieldnotes.
Your paper should be written from a neutral position. You are describing your observations of
the roles and activities of what you see and hear (and possibly taste and smell and touch!) at the
event you attend. If issues of faith, religion, politics, gender and sexuality are described in your
observations, you should maintain a neutral position. Do not let your own cultural biases
influence your descriptions. Instead, you should respectfully describe the ways in which the
actions, performance, practices, etc. were being presented and manifested at the event you
attended.
You will need to include a picture of yourself at the event that clearly shows which New Year’s
event you attended as well as the date you attended.
Please include a word count on your ethnography – 1500 word minimum.
Please attach your fieldnotes (minimum of 4 pages) and your picture(s) to your paper!
You will be receiving a separate document listing various Lunar New Year’s activities that you
could attend for this topic
Topic 2 – Interview: Religious Beliefs and Practices of a SE Asian Immigrant
If you choose the second topic, you will be interviewing an individual who is either a Southeast
Asian immigrant or is the son or daughter of Southeast Asian immigrants about his or her
religious beliefs and practices. You may not do a “self” interview, but you may interview one of
your own family member if they are either a SE Asian immigrant or the son or daughter of one.
You must take fieldnotes during your interview. Your interview should be a minimum of one
hour (longer is better). Please state in your paper how long your interview actually was. Your
interview should focus on your informant’s actual religious beliefs and practices, so tell me
about his or her real life experiences and practices.
Your interview should be open-ended; encourage your informant to talk! You want your
informant to describe their own views, beliefs and experiences. You should always remain
respectful and courteous (and never judgmental) of your informant’s beliefs while conducting
this interview.
You will need to include a picture of yourself that clearly shows you and your informant together
at the time you conducted the interview.
Please include a word count on your ethnography. – 1500 word minimum
Please attach your fieldnotes (minimum of 4 pages) and your picture to your paper!
Your paper should be well organized, clearly written, and incorporate proper grammar and
spelling as appropriate to any university level paper.
Topic 3 – Visit and observe a Southeast Asian Religious Center/Site
If you choose the third topic, you will be visiting and observing a Southeast Asian religious site
in Southern California. Orange County and LA County have many temples, wats, churches,
mosques, ashrams, etc. that have been founded by Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees.
The professor will provide you with a partial list of possible sites that you could choose to visit
for this assignment.
In addition to describing the physical properties of the site, you need to discuss the people that
you observe and the activities/behaviors they engage in at the religious center while you are
there. Please plan to spend at least one hour at the site you visit (more time is better). Please
take fieldnotes while you are there.
Please do always show courtesy and respect when you visit any religious site.
You will need to include a picture of yourself that clearly shows you at the site you chose for this
assignment.
Please include a word count on your ethnography. – 1500 word minimum
Please attach your fieldnotes (minimum of 4 pages) and your picture to your paper!
Fieldnotes may be hand written.
Your paper should be well organized, clearly written, and incorporate proper grammar and
spelling as appropriate to any university level paper.
Your completed paper, fieldnotes and pictures are due in lecture on
Wed., March 7