Proposal of possible topics
|April 20 at 9 a.m.
The final essay asks you to review the scholarly literature in a specific area and make an argument for what people are debating in this area, what positions have people taken in this debate, how this debate reflects larger conversations in anthropology, and what you conclude about anthropology’s future directions based on this debate. You will need to read extensively on your own (with Ryan’s advice), so you should start as soon as possible to identify an area you want to investigate. First, reflect on all the classes in anthropology you have taken or are taking and think about the topics that sparked the most controversy. Where did you feel like you needed to choose a side? (A topic in which you clearly felt like one side was stronger than another and other people in class disagreed is a good sign that there was a genuine controversy.) Unlike a research paper into an empirical topic, a good topic for this paper will be more abstract, like a particular theoretical argument or model that people apply to many specific empirical cases, or a broad category of phenomenon that includes many empirical cases that can be compared. In this preliminary assignment, briefly discuss what you know about three or more possible areas you could investigate. For each, say what you think the controversies are, and why you think they would be interesting to read about.