Day 05: Cultural presentations, workshop on culture

On Monday (August 10), the day started with a brief lecture on “culture” and the difficulty of studying cultures, whether these are one’s own culture or another’s culture. Clifford Geertz’s concept of “thick description” and a more contemporary adaptation of his “wink” example were brought to the fore to help the class think about culture, while listening to each other’s presentations. Ensued the eight following presentations on Japanese and Greek cultures (see videos at the bottom of the page), during which students were asked to write on post-its of two different colors, “what was the message of the presentation?” and “what was the most interesting idea of the presentation?.”

  1. Conspicuous and inconspicuous ninja
  2. History-religion-folklore in Greece
  3. Stereotypes related to architecture in Japan
  4. Greek art
  5. Hidden nature
  6. Student life in Thessaloniki
  7. What is Japanese cuisine?
  8. Greek traditional cuisine

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In the afternoon, students were split in six groups of 4 or 5, and each student was asked to choose a topic from those presented today (except one’s own topic) and take 2 minutes to explain to the rest of the group his/her post-its related to that topic. Each group was then asked to find common threads in their explanations and group their post-its according to those threads. Finally, each group was given the task to write up a definition of “culture” based on those explanations and present it in front of the class (see video at the bottom of the page).

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At the end of the day, students were asked to write a reflection paper on 1. what would they change in their cultural presentations now that they have listened to other presentations and thought about culture, 2. on how did they feel like working with other students.

videos of Presentations on Japanese and Greek Culture and Society

video of Student Presentations on the Definition of Culture

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