DANCING SKELETONS DISCUSSION 461

| November 21, 2015
Dancing Skeletons Discussion Purpose: To discuss Dancing Skeletons utilizing what you have learned in biological anthropology, practice discussion skills Instructions
1. Read Dancing Skeletons.
2. Answer the questions posted to your discussion team's forum. Questions are listed below. Only four of the questions will be posted to your team's forum on the day before the discussion begins. You have to make at least one discussion-­?initiating comment on each of the four chapter questions provided to your discussion group (for a total of four initiating comments). To clarify, this doesn't mean that you have to be the first person to comment on a particular question. You just have to have an original comment about the question, rather than a response to someone's comment. These initiating comments must be posted to your discussion group by March 4.
3. You must make at least one substantive comment on at least four of your teammates’ posts (for a total of four responding comments). For those who are unsure as to what a “substantive comment” means, a substantive comment communicates an important, meaningful, or considerable thought or idea. “Yes”, “No”, and “I agree” are not substantive comments. A short, one sentence response rarely suffices to impart substance. These responding comments must be posted to your discussion group by March 5. 4.
In total, you must make a minimum of 8 posts (4 initiating comments and 4 responses). Of course, you are welcome to go over the minimum. 5. If you would like to post on something other than the four chapters posted to your team forum, you should feel free to do so as long as it is within the spirit of the rest of the questions. Discussion Questions Here are the discussion questions for each chapter. Four questions will be posted to your team discussion forum.

 Chapter 1: Do you think it was right of the author to intervene in the case of child #104, or should anthropologists just study people in other cultures and endeavor to have as little impact on them as possible? Is it possible to conduct anthropological research without having some effect on the people you study?
Chapter 2: Why is it more difficult to eradicate malaria than other diseases, such as smallpox? If malaria were still a major killer in Western, industrialized countries, do you think more resources would be devoted to medical research for its prevention and cure? Can you see any analogies to the differences between medical resources spent on diseases that primarily affect men and diseases that primarily affect women (in the US)?
Chapter 3: Using female circumcision as the focus, discuss the concept of cultural relativism as used by anthropologists. Even though we may understand the beliefs behind the practice, does cultural relativism compel us to approve of female circumcision? What might be some good strategies for trying to eradicate this practice without offending the people involved?
Chapter 4: Discuss the misconception among the Bozo that red urine is a developmental milestone for males analogous to menstruation for females. How could such a belief develop? What sorts of public measures would be necessary to prevent the chronic infection of children in the community with schistosomiasis? Are they feasible?
Chapter 5: The author did not pay her informants or take them gifts in exchange for their time and cooperation, although some anthropologists do. What would you have done under the circumstances? Do you think paying people to talk to you might influence who would cooperate, and what they would tell you? Do you think it might breed resentment among people not asked to participate?
Chapter 6: The author points out that rural latrines would only work in a small village. What sorts of public health issues became relevant when people began to live in large aggregations?
Chapter 7: Discuss the author's conflict between her personal feelings and her anthropological persona, both at the village meeting and at the funeral in Mognambougou. Is it possible to remain an objective observer? Is it ethical? Is it possible to become so involved with the people of the culture you are studying that you can no longer provide objective descriptions?
Chapter 8: Compare the relative advantages and disadvantages of life in Mali and in the US for children with Down syndrome. What advantages do children with Down syndrome have in the US? What advantages do they have in Mali? What advantages do pregnant women have in the US? In Mali?
Chapter 9: Was the author justified in refusing to eat the food the villagers had prepared, even though this action greatly insulted the villagers? How does the anthropologist draw the line between appropriate cultural behavior and self-­?preservation? Under what circumstances should an ethnographer risk offending his or her hosts by refusing to participate in local traditions?
Chapter 10: Why would the death of a mother in childbirth be so much more disruptive to a family than the death of an infant or young child? If you have to set priorities for spending money on improving health care in Dogo, would you put maternal or infant health care first? Why?
Chapter 11: In what ways did the collecting of anthropometric data from the schoolchildren differ from the collecting of interview data from the women? What problems are inherent in collecting qualitative data (e.g., interviews)? What problems are inherent in collecting quantitative data (e.g., anthropometrics)?
Chapter 12: Outline the difference in approach to health projects presented by the CARE administrator and by the author. Why does the author say that good nutrition may be more important than immunization against specific diseases or oral rehydration therapy, in the long run?
Chapter 13: Compare the reproductive choices of women in the US with those of the women in Mali. How might lack of reproductive choice contribute to the lack of concern about child death expressed by some of the women? Do you think this is an important factor?
Chapter 14: Does the author suggest that difficult or tragic experiences can have any life-­?enhancing outcomes? If so or if not, what is your belief on this subject? Can terrible hardships improve one’s understanding of other parts of life? Assessment Learn Actively: • have a working knowledge of the multiple aspects of humankind across time and space: student identifies key components of reading related to the human and anthropological experience • recognize key principles of human biology, diversity, and behavior: student identifies behaviors discussed in the book; can identify biological issues • demonstrate an understanding of bio-­?cultural evolution: student can place behaviors within their cultural and environmental context • have participated in class activities and discussion: student completes all of the required posts Communicate with Clarity and Originality: • be able to use basic biological anthropology vocabulary correctly • have developed or improved your written and verbal communication skills: few spelling and grammatical errors in posts; adheres to discussion forum guidelines established by the class Think Critically, Creatively, and Reflectively: • synthesize and critically assess biological anthropology scholarship and popular press: provides thoughtful comments and responses to the questions and peers' posts; uses an anthropological perspective • recognize, identify and address multiple perspectives on an issue: through critical analysis can identify and discuss multiple perspectives on an issue Interact in Diverse and Complex Environments: • express cooperative and verbal skills through discussion of biological anthropology topics and small group participation: full participation in the discussion; is respectful of peers

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