Frican American Studies: Ancestral Veneration

Tuesday, April 19th a Thursday, April 21st : Sankofa Film Character Analysis (Ancestral Veneration Paper Due to be Uploaded to iLearn by April 19th before 12:00pm)

AFRS 111 Ancestral Veneration Paper Guidelines and Checklist

Ancestors are individuals who once lived in human society, fulfilled certain necessary conditions and have gone on to live in the realm of the spirits. Ancestral veneration involves the honoring and commemoration of ancestors. Many people of African descent have developed common and unique traditions and beliefs about the honoring of ancestors. It is done for many reasons. Among those reasons ancestors are honored is to maintain order, harmony and balance. Your research paper will explore Ancestral commemoration within the cultural context of a specific African ethnic group or Ancestral rituals within a particular African country. You must choose to focus on the ancestral rituals, practice, beliefs, or taboos of a particular African ethnic group or country. Your Ancestral Veneration paper must be both descriptive and explanatory. After you have chosen the ethnic group whose ancestral commemoration beliefs and or practices you want to write about you need to describe them and explain them. Describe the beliefs and rituals in as much detail as you can. These beliefs and practices are usually filled with symbolism and meaning, so you must explain as much of the significance and meaning of these traditions as you can. You must also describe how the ancestral commemoration beliefs and practices you have written about relate to the what you have learned about AfricanBlack culture and the AfricanBlack personality through the course of the semester. Describe how it relates to the African worldview as we have studied it in class: how it relates to African cosmology, epistemology, ontology, and axiology. Your paper must include a works cited section of scholarly sources you used to acquire information about your topic. Most of your information will likely come from scholarly journals and some books. You should also look for books about the ceremonies and customs of the population whose ancestral commemoration beliefs and practices you are writing about. For example, if you are writing about the ancestral commemoration beliefs and practices of the Akan people, you may find journal articles specifically about Akan ancestral beliefs, rituals and books on Akan culture, ceremonies and customs. Your citations must be done properly to be sure you have indicated where you are drawing your information from and to guard against plagiarism. To aid you in this task a document has been posted on iLearn and in your course packet explaining how to construct a reference section and cite your sources in text in APA format. Your need to have at-least five scholarly sources, and your papers should be between eight (8) and ten (10) pages. Your papers will be evaluated based on how well you have followed the afore-mentioned directions so please re-read this document and the guidelines for writing your ancestral veneration paper before your get started.

Writing your Ancestral Veneration Paper

The purpose of your introduction is to give a clear statement of the intent and process of your paper. To establish the purpose of your paper, you may begin by describing why ancestral commemoration is important to many African people. Describe the people, or ethnic group, whose ancestral beliefs andor practices your paper is about. What country or countries are they primarily located in? In the introduction of your paper you should be sure that you have introduced your reader to why ancestral veneration is important to the ethnic group you have chosen to write about.

State the goal/intent of your paper. Remember you are to describe and explain the function, rationale and significance of the ancestral beliefs and practices and they relate to the shaping and development of the African personality and community. Be sure to tell the reader the process you will take in writing this paper. In describing the process of your paper you want to give the reader a preview of what you will do in the following paragraphs. You want to tell the reader how your paper will meet the goal that you have already stated. You should mention what you will describe and explain about the ancestral veneration beliefs and practices of the ethnic group whose beliefs and practices you have chosen to write about. Try not to use the words (I or me, instead say a?this papera?).

The Body:
The body of your paper should basically follow the process you explained in your introduction. The body of your paper should be divided into subsections, each addressing a certain aspect of ancestral veneration you will be addressing. Some the major issues you should touch on in your paper are: 1.) Describe and explain the role of ancestral veneration in this specific culture. 2.) Describe any beliefs about ancestors your particular ethnic group have. 3.) Describe and explain the means by which certain ancestral rituals are carried out. 4.) Describe and explain how the concepts death, immortality, spirits and reincarnation are conceptualized in the culture you are writing about. 4.) Describe and explain any conflicts or harmonizing between the notion of ancestral veneration in the African context and the Western context. 5.) Describe and explain how ancestral veneration relates to the development and maintenance of the healthy African personality and the African community. Regarding your subheadings: Every one of you will have different subheadings because you are writing different papers. So you should identify the different aspects of ancestral veneration you are writing about and label your subheadings accordingly. Remember that you are not just describing ancestral veneration beliefs and practices, you are explaining them. So, explain the significance or symbolism of what is done or experienced in the culture you are writing about. A part of your explanation of what occurs in ancestral veneration should be to relate those beliefs and practice to the concepts of African cosmology, epistemology, ontology, and axiology. Describe how aspects of ancestral veneration relates to African cosmology, epistemology, ontology, and axiology, however, do not force any of these concepts. Do not force the use of these concepts in your paper. If you only see how two of them relate to what you are writing about, then only use two etc. If you use any of these terms in class be sure to define them in your paper. For example, if you say cosmology, explain what cosmology is, and explain specifically what African cosmology is. Remember that you may be using non English language terms and you should translate them for your reader. You may also use other concepts learned in class throughout the semester to explain Ancestral Veneration. Also, remember that many of these Ancestral Veneration practices have been described from a Eurocentric perspective. People are referred to as primitive, their practices pre rational, their spiritual systems as witchcraft, and their ways of life as wild. As the author you should be avoiding the use of such terms and attempting to use a culturally sensitive approach. You should also not be using terms such as tribes, instead ethnic group will be more appropriate. If you must use the term Black, take note that you are referring to a people not just a color and thus the word should be capitalized, the same should apply for the use of the term White in reference to a people.

In your conclusion, you should be summarizing what you have already said, by stressing the most important aspects of you description and explanation of ancestral veneration and how it may help to develop the African personality and community as described in class. Remember, the Ancestral Veneration Paper Is Due to be Uploaded to iLearn by April 19th before 12:00pm

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