Cultural Autobiography Paper

Write an 6-8 page (not including title page or references) paper addressing the following questions below. In addition, please integrate and analyze concepts from five (5) articles from five peer-reviewed journal articles. How is your experience similar and/or different from these writers? Which concepts apply to your life and which ones do not? Make sure to cite specific authors and article titles in your paper, including page numbers if you are directly quoting their work.

This outline should be used as a guide in the development of your cultural autobiography. You may feel that some of this information is personal in nature; be assured that it will be treated as such. The contents of your paper will remain confidential. Each area must be discussed in the paper for possible full credit.

1. Describe your family of origin, including information on:
a. Composition (parents, siblings, birth order, etc.)
b. Extended family and relationship (how close?)
c. Cultural identity
d. Racial and ethnic background
e. Gender identity
f. Class
g. Religion
h. Sexual orientation
i. Abilities/disabilities
j. Neighborhood and type of community (rural, suburb, urban; rich, poor, middle-class; diverse, homogeneous)

2. What is your first recollection about your cultural background? How did you come to identify with any group and to learn that there are “others”? Who are and were defined as “outsiders” and “insiders” by your family or group?

3. What went into the formation of your ideas in regard to your own physical appearance? What did you consider to be attractive and unattractive?

4. Who were your friends when growing up? Who lived in your neighborhood? Who was a “desirable” friend to bring home? How did you select your dates, roommates, partners, and/or spouses? How did these choices relate?

5. Can you relate any of your tastes in food, music, art, clothes, activities and games to culture or class? What about modes of expression, i.e. language use, accent, proverbs?

6. What have you learned about how children “should” behave and how gender roles are defined that could be related to your cultural identity? Can you relate your educational and/or employment aspirations to gender and cultural expectations?

7. How do you perceive power position(s) of particular individuals in your family or group in relation to their culture, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, and/or abilities? How do these individuals vary in power and decision-making authority?

8. What was the impact (or not) of religion on your family? How did your family feel relating to people of other religions? What role did and does (if any) religious beliefs play in your life?

9. As a member of a dominant group, which ways have you experienced privilege? Did you know you had it? How might you challenge it?

10. As a member of a subordinate group, how did you learn to respond to oppression (e.g. how was it explained to you, what functional and/or dysfunctional reactions did you witness, etc.)?

Remember that dominant and subordinate status applies not only to race and ethnicity, but also to gender, class, sexual orientation, abilities, religion and age.

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