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the_quest:choosing_a_topic [2015/01/24 23:11]
Ryan Schram (admin) [A topic is a place]
the_quest:choosing_a_topic [2020/01/25 15:28] (current)
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 A problem, in this sense, is a contradiction,​ a knot, or a puzzle. It’s one of those things that make you go //​hmmm//​.... (//​[[http://​youtu.be/​XF2ayWcJfxo|Things that make you go hmmm…!]]//​) It is a set of facts or conditions which seem not to fit. They challenge what you expect you will find.  A problem, in this sense, is a contradiction,​ a knot, or a puzzle. It’s one of those things that make you go //​hmmm//​.... (//​[[http://​youtu.be/​XF2ayWcJfxo|Things that make you go hmmm…!]]//​) It is a set of facts or conditions which seem not to fit. They challenge what you expect you will find. 
  
-This is, frankly, the only reason to come to lecture in this class. Lectures are presentations of theoretical explanations,​ master perspectives that tell you why things are the way they are. But in fact many theories raise more problems than solutions, because real cultures and real lives are so complex. In this class we learn theory to become better acquainted with what scholars agree on as explanations,​ but also to know the terms of debate for all the stuff they don’t agree on. Which is a lot. +This is, frankly, the only reason to come to lecture in my classes. Lectures are presentations of theoretical explanations,​ master perspectives that tell you why things are the way they are. But in fact many theories raise more problems than solutions, because real cultures and real lives are so complex. In this class we learn theory to become better acquainted with what scholars agree on as explanations,​ but also to know the terms of debate for all the stuff they don’t agree on. Which is a lot. 
  
 So for instance the historian Rodney Stark studies early Christianity (1997). It’s reasonably clear as a topic: The Roman Mediterranean world. But who cares? Stark is interested in why Christianity spread, but there’s more to it than that. Christianity,​ in retrospect, was highly similar to many other new cults, both Jewish and Egyptian. They all attracted followers from across the Mediterranean. Why was the Jesus movement so successful as opposed to all the others? That’s a problem. It leads him ultimately to the question of why did people convert to Christianity when it seemed to be so marginal, and often treated as subversive? More on questions later. For now, as you read on new topics, watch yourself when you get surprised. Why are you surprised? Have you found a problem? [[Asking a question|What would you like to ask?]] So for instance the historian Rodney Stark studies early Christianity (1997). It’s reasonably clear as a topic: The Roman Mediterranean world. But who cares? Stark is interested in why Christianity spread, but there’s more to it than that. Christianity,​ in retrospect, was highly similar to many other new cults, both Jewish and Egyptian. They all attracted followers from across the Mediterranean. Why was the Jesus movement so successful as opposed to all the others? That’s a problem. It leads him ultimately to the question of why did people convert to Christianity when it seemed to be so marginal, and often treated as subversive? More on questions later. For now, as you read on new topics, watch yourself when you get surprised. Why are you surprised? Have you found a problem? [[Asking a question|What would you like to ask?]]
the_quest/choosing_a_topic.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/25 15:28 (external edit)