Option 1: During this course we will be exploring many facets of Anthropology. I think it is important to remember those early practitioners of the field who really are responsible for guiding and shaping anthropology into the science it is today. Anthropology has always been about understanding how humans live. Bronislaw Malinowski was considered a master of the skill of living with a group and observing how they respond to the world around them. He virtually created the field of ethnography and felt that the only real way to learn about a society is to be a participant observer. Why would direct contact be such a useful vehicle for gaining information about a society? What ethics might be involved in conducting research with religious groups and/or of religious practices? Could the presence of an observer in the group affect the observations being made?
Option 2: Watch Dr. Boroditsky’s talk about language and thought. Some researchers have suggested that a person’s language determines what he or she can and cannot think. This is called linguistic determinism or the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Another position says that language influences, but does not determine, what individuals can think. A third position is that language does not influence ones’ thoughts at all. Which position is best supported by the evidence presented in Dr. Boroditsky’s talk and our course materials? Does your opinion or personal experience fit with the science? Why or why not?