Multi-Cultural Inquiry Assignment

By: Allie Baudhuin



*In my words, culture is a how a person/group lives; the beliefs they use to live; standards set to help express themselves; are ways of showing religious beliefs or respect etc.

*Definition: The quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, and etc.

What goes into and makes up a Culture?

Social Organization: When a culture organizes it's people into smaller groups.

ex: Family, Friends, Religious groups, Social classes, Occupation, and Interest groups

Customs and Traditions: Rules of Behavior (written and unwritten)

ex: In China, people bow to one another to show respect.

Arts and Literature: Teaches about culture's values; promotes cultural pride and unity.

ex: Statue of Liberty represents freedom in America

Form of Government: People form a governments to provide for their common needs

ex: Democracy, Republic, Dictatorship

Language: Important for communication and passing on traditions and beliefs

ex: English, Spanish, Chinese, etc.

Religion: A religious belief that is lived by through the people

ex: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.

Economic System: A system of production and exchange of goods and services as well as allocation of resources in a society.

ex: Traditional, Market, Command, Mixed, etc.

What are examples of enduring questions and conflicts that cultures have struggled with in the past that remain relevant today?

Some examples of conflicts a culture struggles with are...

- People's rights: Freedom of Speech can allow for riots to start up against something that they believe

- Equality between gender: Men being paid more than women for the same job

- Job Opportunities

- Wars over Religious Beliefs: Including Protection

Culture Research: Italian

List of 4 Physical Characteristics

1. Generally Italians have long dark (rarely light) hair

2. Brown (rarely blue) eyes

3. Olive skin

4. High cheekbones

List of 4 customs and/or beliefs of the cultural that are followed or practiced

1. Family is extremely important within the Italian culture. Their family is mainly focused on an "extended" family rather than the typical mom, dad, and kids. Italians have frequently family gatherings including everyone such as aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparent, cousins, parents, kids, etc.

2. Roman Catholicism is the major religion in the Italian culture. They go to church every Sunday and afterwards start preparing for family meals.

3. Art and architecture has shaped the Italian culture. Styles include classical Roman, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical. Sculpting or the painting of a person is how Italians remember family members, close friends, or past leaders. You will find paintings in almost every home over the fire place.

4. Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the culture. The food has been served all around the world and is viewed as and art by many. Wine, cheese, and pasta are important part of their meals. Pasta comes in wide range of shapes, widths and lengths, including penne, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, and lasagna. No one in Italy ever eats the same thing twice in a row. They cook homemade meals or recipes most of the time and enjoy ever bit of it with no left overs.

A challenge the Italian culture faces

In 1861, the year of Italian culture birth, unification pioneer Massimo d'Azeglio declared: "We have made Italy; now we must make Italians." To what extent this task been accomplished remains, more than 150 years later, still unclear. The division between the wealthy north and poorer south is one of the culture's most impervious and worrying problems.

Literature and Culture

What influences a writer/composer to create a literary text?

Generally a writer/composer are influenced by the things they see around them. Their daily live, and story, or even a dramatic event that had occurred. For example, Young Richard Wagner from Venice, Italy. He entertained ambitions to be a playwright, and first became interested in music as a means of enhancing the dramas that he wanted to write and stage.

How is literature like (or unlike) life? / How does literature reveal the values of an individual culture?

Literature is like life because it helps us to live. It helps us to become better people by "feeling" for others and empathizing with people who have suffered great losses; it teaches us to be genuinely happy for those who have experienced great joys and successes. Literature helps us to live in other countries, time periods, and even experience ones culture and ways. It helps us to understand ourselves and to become comfortable with our values, traditions, and the unspoken rules of society by which we live.

How is our understanding of culture and society constructed through and by literature?

Literature is a reflection of society, so society has huge effects on literature.It's born from social beliefs, thoughts, ideologies, and society is a great river and literature is a rivulet, a tributary and literature gets lots of materials, resources from society. With that said, society improves at times through its greatest minds and of course Gorky, Tolstoy, Dickens and then like had great impacts on their societies. Ayn Rand had some impact on American society and, even on American politics. It is hard to pinpoint, but it is society at large that gives birth to literature, art, music and now a days movies.

To what extent are there universal literary themes, ideas, and issues of interest or concern to all cultures and societies?

We are all (in some way) interested in literature whether we know it or not. Our culture needs literature mostly to write down beliefs, rules, or old religious history. (ex: Bible, or even the Constitution). It's what helps us keep our history together to make a story. We could figure out where a certain culture came from and how they influenced us to become the society we are today. Universal literary themes, ideas, and issues are of major concern to society, without them we would be stuck in our own time with no progress moving forward.

Cultural Acceptance

What are some methods or strategies for promoting cultural awareness and acceptance?

One method is to stop war, but that's literally impossible at the moment. If we stop war, we stop rivalries, and if we stop rivalries we become more accepted to one another. War in a nutshell is just basically a fight to the death over a different belief, that' it! Now not "everyone" in the world is ever going to accepted a culture's way, but at least they'll be aware of them. Being aware of them can be very useful. If you have a strong, popular culture, then it'll be easy for others to accept.

What are some statements that affirm the need for cultural acceptance?

"No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive."~ Mahatma Gandhi

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to allow his vision wherever it takes him."~ JFK

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."~Audre Lorde

"Strength lies in differences, not in similarities."~ Stephen Covey

What is at stake if society chooses to discriminate against other cultures?

That culture would be at the risk of war. These days, if a culture doesn't accept another's, a hug war breaks out. Then more money is pulled from the people to fight other people,just to get our word out. It may not be that severe at times, but that situation is rare.