126days until
New Mexico

Focus

What is culture?
What processes occur when cultures interact?
How do these processes impact individuals and society?
How will you engage in cross-cultural interactions as a global leader?

Photograph courtesy of Elena M.

Assimilation versus Acculturation
As early as paleolithic times, people, through what is known as cultural diffusion, have blended cultures and shared ideas such as philosophies and scientific knowledge. Originally, these exchanges were simply trans-ecological exchanges, meaning that people from different environments would share their resources and skills, such as the ability to control fire, with other humans. In today's global world, these material and non-material exchanges occur at an unprecedented speed due to modern technology. When cultures interact, usually one of two processes occur. People either acculturate, which means they gain aspects of a new culture while retaining some of their original culture identity, or they face assimilation when their entire cultural identity is stripped from them.

During our sophomore experiences, we will reflect on the importance of our own cultures as well as view the different long-term impacts of assimilation versus acculturation. We will pay close attention to how and why people, who once faced forced assimilation, have striven to reclaim their cultural heritages.
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