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Introduction to Anthropology

Critical Thinking Questions

Introduction to AnthropologyCritical Thinking Questions

1 .
Draw a floor plan for your ideal home. What rooms would you have, and why? How would those rooms be organized? How is the imagined structure of this home shaped by an imagined lifestyle? What form of family or social relations are embedded in your house plan? What forms of work? What notions about gender and age are assumed?
2 .
Describe your routine for getting ready in the morning. What aspects of this routine are governed by biology, and what aspects are cultural? Ask a friend to describe their morning routine. Are there differences? Commonalities? What norms and values shape these practices?
3 .
List the colors of the rainbow. With a friend, describe the symbolic meanings associated with each color. Do you agree on these meanings? Do some colors have multiple meanings in your culture? How do people use and interpret colors with multiple meanings?
4 .
List the social roles you inhabit in your culture. What are the ideal behaviors associated with those roles? Do you observe all of these norms, or do you choose to ignore or resist some of them? What happens when you publicly resist the norms of your culture?
5 .
What rituals mark the passage of children into adulthood in your culture? Identify symbolic objects and actions in those rituals. What norms and values are expressed?
6 .
Which sports are popular in your culture or region? Choose one. How might an anthropologist use an evolutionary perspective to analyze this sport? How might another anthropologist use a functionalist approach?
7 .
Do you believe in ghosts? Is this belief widely shared among the people you know? How might the belief in ghosts shape cultural ideas about life and death? Would ghost beliefs influence what people do after a person dies?
8 .
Under what circumstances is it appropriate for a person in one culture to adopt elements from another culture, such as dress, food, or speech? Is that cultural appropriation? Why or why not?
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