Body Ritual Among the Nacirema
Forum: Article 3: Body Ritual Among the Nacirema (pp. 14 – 20)
To understand culture we must be able to stand back and view our own culture as others might. In describing some aspects of American culture (“Nacerima” is “American” spelled backward), Miner shows that to more advanced cultures (and by extension to future generations), our culture today may well be considered primitive.
It is important to get away from the parochial view that one’s own culture is “right” or “normal” or “superior” and that other cultures are more inconsistent or strange or inferior to our own. We think of “primitive” cultures as practicing magic, but rarely see this element in our own culture. Our culture has rituals just as “primitive” cultures do.
If you are familiar with other rituals in other cultures, you might comment on them. You might also find some of the sites mentioned in the Diversity on the Web box to be interesting.
Class participation is essential to the success of this course. In order to attain all of the course objectives, everyone must be involved. Your participation grade in this class will be based on items you post on the Blackboard Discussion page for each of the 20 articles shown on the course Blackboard Discussion page for which you do NOT submit an article review. You will not receive credit for both an Article Review and a Discussion posting for the same article. Each discussion posting must be a minimum of 600 words in length and will be worth up to 1.5 points. Approximately half of each posting should summarize major points made in the article with the remainder of the posting devoted to your discussion of your opinion regarding one or more of the issues discussed in the article.
In analyzing your comments, I will be looking for an indication that you have read the article and that you are able to critically analyze some part of the article. I am expecting you to write a minimum of 600 words and I don’t want you to merely repeat statements or arguments made in the article. Some of the things you might write about are flaws you see in a particular argument made by the author, potential applications in the business world for recommendations made in the article, similarities or differences between the article you are commenting on and other articles in the book, other points the author might have made to support his/her/their arguments, responses to questions I might ask on the Discussion page, or responses to comments posted by other students (if you do this, merely stating that “I agree/disagree with _______” will not get you maximum credit for your posting unless you go on to explain why you agree/disagree with a particular comment). The first discussion posting for each article is my posting. You may have to scroll down the list of discussion postings for an article in order to read my posting (which will be entitled ‘Bill’s comments”). My posting will contain some information/questions that you might consider discussing if you are looking for topics to discuss related to the article. As you will note, some of the readings in the book are short and, consequently, coming up with a unique perspective on an article may be difficult since many other students might be commenting on the same article. Should you find yourself in the position of finding it difficult to come up with something to say about an article, you may find it helpful to do a web search on the topic of the article and discuss information you find during the search.
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