Welcome to Anthropology 4616 Culture and Personality Spring 2014 (Psychological Anthropology)
Available online in your folder at
This will be a great course, and a great experience. You will see. . . .
Interest in personality and cross-cultural psychology and its relation to culture and to biology has never been higher. You can see that in the news and editorial pages of the weekly papers and the other news media. Lots of things are happening in personality research . . . virtually every week.
I am looking forward to meeting you in class on the 21st. In the meantime, you might want to have a look at the information in your folder at <moodle.umn.edu>.
Right off the bat you might be interested in the textbook for the course . . .
Rethinking Psychological Anthropology: Continuity and Change in the Study of Human Action, Second Edition (1999), by Philip Bock, which is available online new for $28.75 (+ s/h, but currently with "free" shipping from Amazon.com on orders over $35.00), or used from $4.04 (plus standard-rate s/h).
(28 December 2013)
Some excellent classic books in many fields are also often available online free. For example, the full text of Sigmund Freud's first major work, The Interpretation of Dreams (3rd Edition, 1911), Trans. by A.A. Brill, is available online at <http://www.psywww.com/books/interp/toc.htm>.
One thing that you should keep in mind when approaching these readings, which I will talk more about as the class progresses, is that, as mentioned above, the exams are open-book. And for that you should normally just need to read the text carefully and be able to discuss the materials therein intelligently. That is, you should read the text as if you had picked it up at an airport or neighborhood bookshop on the way to Austria or the South Seas because you were interested in the subject and wanted to know more about it.
PLEASE NOTE:Some students are used to principally memorizing facts in classes. This class is not one where that is the focus. It is about investigating new topics, observing, reading, listening, analyzing, synthesizing ideas, thinking, exploring, and becoming familiar enough with the various subjects, peoples and places to carry on an intelligent conversation in modern-day society. In short, this class aims to give you practice in critical thinking, and even creativity.
Critical thinking, involving evaluation and synthesis, has long been regarded as essential for success in the modern-day world. In recent years, actually for two decades, creativity has also become central to success, and "process skills" have become vital to creativity. Process skills involve "strategies to reframe challenges and extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity" (Pappano, "Learning to Think Outside the Box," The New York TimesEducationLife, 9 February 2014, 8). Laura Pappano, writer in residence at Wellesley Center for Women at Wellesley College, points out that "In 2010 'creativity' was the factor mos crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days 'creative' is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running" (2014, 8).
Please keep that in mind when thinking about, and getting ready for, the exams.
With all of the class materials you will be expected to share your ideas and comments with others in the Class Forums and wikis.
It is not accidental that TAPS, Canada’s leading Beer Magazine—in fact it’s THE BEER MAGAZINE—features this item from this class in its editorial of Winter 2012, p. 2); at least one major Editor in Chief thinks it’s worth noting and imitating.
Overall, this course consists of three main segments:
History / Theory / Method
Comparative / Cross-Cultural
Ethnographic Case Studies from the Real World
III Student Presentations on Term Research Projects
For the first part of the course much of the material for the week will be presented in the form of on-line slide materials. In the second segment of the semester, once you have mastered the basic information relating to the Anthropology of Food, we will look (generally comparatively, cf., Main Characteristics of Anthropology in Week 01) at a series of video materials from around the world. The final section will focus on your research projects.
One of the four main characteristics of American Anthropology is fieldwork, "a primary research technique, involving “participant observation," which usually means living among the people one is interested in learning from and about. It would be wonderful if for anthropology classes we could just rent a bus or charter a plane and fly off for a year or more to learn first-hand from the people themselves. Money, time, and practicality prohibit that, so the next best things—when it comes to studying anthropology—is going to places and viewing subjects by video, and we will do a lot of that this semester. More information on Visual Anthropology is available on-line at <http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1604/visual_anthropology.html#title>.
You will find that there is "an awful lot" of material online—maybe even too much!
But don't worry. You will find the required materials center stage in your folder. Most of the rest of the materials are optional, but you may find those materials useful in working on your class project and extra credit paper.
Then have a look at your Gradebook folder, which gives a nice listing of the actual requirements and due dates for the course. (You'll find the link for that in the upper-left-hand corner of the top of page one of your Moodle folder. See the figure in the “First Day Handout.”)
Then have a look at the "Course Overview" in Block 1 (the top of page one) of your folder.
A word of caution. recommends that you use the Firefox browser (available free at <http://firefox.com>). The Windows Internet Explorer (IE) occasionally will not display items on your screen. These items will simply not be there on IE when they are fine on Moodle or even on Chrome. Microsoft Word should likewise not be used to cut and paste things to Moodle; bad things can happen to your file if you do—randomly. Almost every time you are asked to enter text in Moodle, you will see the message, “Please do not copy/paste text directly from Microsoft Word. See explanation here<http://www1.umn.edu/moodle/issues.html#10>.” Please pay attention to that request.
So once again, welcome to Anth 4616 Culture and Personality. This will be a great course, and a great experience. You will see.
. . . Thanks for signing on for Culture and Personality. I’m looking forward to the 21st.
If you have any questions right now, please do not hesitate to post them on the "Messenger" or e-mail email@example.com.
I hope you had a great Boxing Day, and are having a great Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanza season. Have a great New Year’s Evening and New Year’s Day and a great New Year. And have a good Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as well.
Throughout much of Europe people will be eating lintels on New Year’s Day. Eating lintels helps you have a great new year. So on New Year’s Day, be sure to eat plenty of lentils. . . . .
If you have any questions right now, please do not hesitate to post them on the Moodle "Messenger" or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the 21st of January.
28 December 2013
If you are new to the world of "technology" in general or in particular, don't worry too much about that. Things may not "work" for you at first, but hang in there and we'll help you along. (And they will work better in Firefox and if you do not cut and paste from your Word documents.)
general textbook information
"In this introduction to an important field, Bock provides a critical account of the ways that anthropologists have used and misused psychological concepts in their studies of various societies. He argues that we must be aware of these past efforts and errors if we are to develop culturally sensitive ways of understanding the relationship of individuals to their societies. Starting with nineteenth-century studies of 'primitive mentality,' the book examines the school of culture and personality, including cross-cultural correlational studies, and continuing on to recent work on sociobiology, shamanism, self, and emotion. Relevant psychological concepts are explained as needed, and each approach is presented in its own terms before critical examination. Chapter supplements and a new chapter bring the book completely up to date." -- Waveland Press
Rethinking Psychological Anthropology: Continuity and Change in the Study of Human Action, Second Edition (1999), by Philip Bock, which is available online new for $30.95 (+ s/h, but currently with "free" shipping from Amazon.com), or used from $5.17 (plus standard-rate shipping and handling).
(5 December 2013)
Read: Ch. 19 "The Sacrifice." From The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997), pp. 278-288.
NY: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1997.
Lia Lee is a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy,
whose family believes her seizure was caused by the slamming of a door by an older sister,
which caused Lia's soul to flee her body and the soul became lost to a dab.
dab, a spirit, is pronounced "da" txiv neeb, a Hmong shaman, is pronounced "tsi neng"