Bring Cultural Studies to Life with Personal Stories

Culture Lesson Plans

Real Life Accounts of What Culture Means From People Around the World

Are you curious about the definition of culture? Interested in real life examples of culture around the world? Whether you are a life-long learner intrigued by different ways of life, a student researching a paper, or an educator looking for fresh material, People Are Culture (PAC) offers engaging and high-readable real-life accounts of a cross-section of different cultures.

PAC founder Meg Pier, a veteran journalist and personal historian, shares these moving and illuminating conversations that she was privileged to have with culture creators, stewards and preservationists from around the world. Each interview subject describes their own culture through the lens of their professional and personal vantage points.

These riveting narratives offer a springboard to discussions that explore all the ways culture is both personal and universal.

Living Through Wars

A war is a fierce armed struggle between two or more states, governments, society, or paramilitary organizations like militias, mercenaries, or insurgents. Extreme violence, damage, and fatality, whether caused by conventional or irregular military forces, are typically its defining characteristics.

While some war studies experts believe that violence is an innate and universal component of human nature, others contend that it is a response to particular sociocultural, economic, or ecological conditions.

Sadly, war is a fact of life for many. According to Prof. Lawrence H. Keeley of the University of Illinois, approximately 90–95% of known societies throughout history engaged in at least occasional warfare, and many fought constantly. 
 
Here we share some first hand accounts of people who have lived through war, and their recollections of the experience and the impact it had on them and their cultures.


Globalization & Indigenous Cultures

Indigenous peoples is a term used to describe any group whose heritage is native to a specific region. Specifically, indigenous means people who lived in a particular location before colonists or settlers arrived, and who have a common traditional culture and language.

According to UNESCO, there are at least 370-500 million indigenous peoples living in all regions of the world who own, occupy or use some 22% of global land area. Indigenous peoples represent the greater part of the world’s cultural diversity, and have created and speak the major share of the world’s almost 7,000 languages.

Also known as First peoples, First nations, Aboriginal peoples, and Native peoples, many such communities worldwide have had their culture and language decimated, along with losing their ancestral land, through colonization, globalization and appropriation.

Our interviews and stories below present the personal experiences of indigenous people from Colombia, Guatemala, India, Mexico, and the U.S., as well as two educators who have longstanding ties with specific indigenous communities. These articles are compelling testimonies to the powerful meaning of culture to indigenous people and the vital importance of its preservation.

Estonia’s Land of the Setos

Explore distinctive traditions of Estonia’s Land of Setos, an ethnic community on Russian border known for leelo singing, colorful textiles and King Peko.


Cultural Identity

A person's sense of self can be influenced by their nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locale, or any other type of social group that has its own unique culture. In this approach, a person's cultural identity is both a trait of that person and of the group of people who share a similar culture and upbringing.

In these accounts below, we explore some of the ways language, folk stories and popular literature influence cultural identity.

Guatemalan Ghost Stories

La Antigua Guatemala in Central America is filled with stories of mythical dark and horrific creatures that have been passed down every generation.


Religion & Spiritual Practices

A social-cultural system of predetermined morals, beliefs, worldviews, books, holy sites, prophecies, ethics, or organizations that typically connects humans to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual components is referred to as religion.

The regular performance of actions and activities with the aim of fostering spiritual development and evoking spiritual experiences is known as a spiritual practice.

We present close to twenty interviews and articles that examine the role of religion and spiritual practices in countries Curacao, Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, India, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Scotland, and Slovenia. PAC also features a collection of broader stories that explore the practice of pilgrimage.