ANTI-BUDDY ASSIGNMENT
Think of the assignment as taking compassion to the extreme (in the safe context of a thought-experiment)

I have posted various links that might help in your country choice and/or research
Your anti-buddy is a fictional, but realistic character living in one of the many trouble spots of today’s world; your task is to imagine—as realistically as possible, and on the basis of solid information—how this person might think, act, and communicate under various circumstances, in interaction with other members his/her culture as well as you, the “outsider” or “American”.

In other words, your job is to (a) research the culture of a place and the conditions of life of the people in this place; (b) to fashion from these factual materials a fictional person with whom you would share some common ground and work together (by default, your anti-buddy is a student from a lower middle-class background: you could work on a study project together or in a volunteer organization or in some inter-governmental training program, the military—wherever you might feel comfortable working… use your imagination)—but from whom you are separated by a cultural divide and by your anti-buddy’s anti-Americanism: for whatever reasons (you should find out why) he/she is one of the many people in his/her country who—at least until he/she met you—have “an unfavorable opinion” of America and Americans. But he/she is not violent, and you have to form a workable relationship with him/her.

Within this fictional but realistic framework of an intercultural relationship you can then use your anti-buddy as a thinking aide by, for example, consulting in your mind with him/her: what would he/she say? How would he/she act? What does he/she think about this matter?
The main goal of this assignment is that you engage in that form of intercultural communication that is called “perspective taking” (or “taking the role of the other”). You are being asked construct the frame of reference of an average person of your age and profession (student) from the country that you have chosen: what factors mainly contribute to this person’s thinking about the world and his/her attitude towards America, what explains his/her Anti-Americanism?
Among the factors that are involved in a person’s frame of reference may be:
religion
the country’s economy
international trade: how is the country affected?
economic conditions: poverty, unemployment, new economic opportunities, etc.
local conflicts between countries
ethnicity and ethnic tension
gender relations, the role of women in society
traditionalism
cultural factors and values
norms for behaving in public
politeness norms
RESEARCH TASKS:
• Research on-line sources about the country, public opinion, its citizens, current conflicts in which it figures, and why the country and conflicts matter to America. Identify the general cultural area to which your anti-buddy’s society belongs. (Often, this area can be categorized in more than one way: Egypt belongs to North Africa, the Middle East, Arab civilization, Islam, and also comprises local culture and ethnic-cultural minorities. Choose the category for which you can find the best information.)
• Find reliable, high-quality information/literature about culture, customs, and communication in this general cultural area. Your sources can include novels, anthropological literature, travel guides, and, of course, literature on intercultural communication.
• Research the specific sources and causes of Anti Americanism within your anti-buddy’s society (even if such views are only held by a minority of the population). It will not be sufficient to take the Anti-Americanism such as exists in your anti-buddy’s nation as just another example of resentments that may exist world-wide. Rather, you must find a specific explanation that holds for this particular society. The causes may be historical, religious, economic, or cultural. Thus, you need to acquaint yourself even more with your anti-buddy’s world, by consulting sources about the history of this society and its relations with the U.S.
• You should use a minimum of 6 sources.
FORMAT:
Your paper has five parts:
1. Written from the point of view of your ‘anti-buddy’ (in the first person): explain about the country, current conflicts in which it figures, why it matters to America, summarize info about public opinion in the country. 1-2 pages

2. Written from the point of view of your ‘anti-buddy’ (in the first person):
name and describe who you are (what you do, where you live, what beliefs you have, what your economic status is, what worries and cares you have, etc. Give him/her about 7 characteristics—personal, social, cultural, and political; flesh each out in a sentence or two (the characteristics may range from being the member of a radical religious organization to being a vegetarian or good-looking: combine fantasy with realism, as if you were to write a “docudrama” film-script). 1-2 pages
3. Written from the point of view of your ‘anti-buddy’ (in the first person): state your Anti-American views: what roles you see the U.S. playing in the world, what (stereotypical) images of America and Americans you have, give examples from the world-at-large and your own country or other countries that you care about, religion, human rights, economic relations, trade, etc. that feed your Anti-Americanism, end with a paragraph about how you envision ‘a better America’. 1-2 pages
4. Written from the point of view of your ‘anti-buddy’ (in the first person): write suggestions that would be helpful for the traveler: “this is some of what you need to know about local communication practices when traveling to this country as an American”. – Be selective but precise. – If, because of the lack of sources, it is difficult for you to give precise information about the culture, then determine in a more general fashion which areas of communication is particularly important to know about and formulate hypotheses about differences in communication practices between the alien culture and U.S. culture. 1-2 pages
5. Written from your own point of view: Describe your thought-processes and emotions during the completion of the assignment; look unflinchingly at your resistance to doing it and how you overcame it. 1 page
• cite your sources (both in-text and in a reference list)

 

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