The final examination is a closed-book, take-home examination, with questions chosen from the following list. Notes, books, or other supporting materials may not be used during the exam. All students registered for this course must take this closed-book essay exam in the allotted time of three hours and submit the essay by 5:15 pm on Wednesday, 17 May 2017. The essays can be submitted to me as an email attachment (preferred) or in person to my office.
The final examination will consist of three questions chosen from the following list. I will make the choice of which 3 questions will be on the exam. You will receive two emails by 5pm on Thursday, 11 May; one will have a subject line of “instructions for the final examination,” and the second will say “final examination – do not open until ready to take the exam.” Do not open the second email until you have put away your notes and other material, and are ready to take the exam. If you have any special accommodations, please apply them and let me know.
A good answer will be more argumentative and less descriptive. Make sure you understand the question thoroughly and have a clear line of argument, one that is supported by specific evidence from the readings, films, and lectures. Avoid duplicating ethnographic examples in your three answers; whenever possible use different examples to support your arguments.
Note: Your arguments must be supported by evidence drawn from lectures, films and (especially) course readings. Be specific and cite authors when relevant.
Possible Exam Questions
- What is reciprocity? Discuss the anthropological literature on gift exchange, specifically addressing different interpretations of the hau as discussed by Mauss and Sahlins. What are the wider political, economic and social implications of gift exchange? How does this ethnographic example relate to our understanding of the connection between contemporary political and economic processes?
- How do anthropologists examine religion? How does the study of ritual and symbol relate to how anthropologists observe religious beliefs? What do you think is the relationship between religion and culture? In your answer, make sure that you clearly discuss how Myerhoff approaches and analyzes the connection between religion and identity.
- Consider the following statement:“Science is the religion of global capitalism.” Evaluate this statement, exploring how this idea of a particular kind of authority shapes the political structure and function of communities in different parts of the world. Be specific in using ethnographic examples from class material in discussing this statement, making sure you use material from different topics in the class.
- What is the impact of globalization on various local communities that we have read about in class? How do people living in one area of the world influence the social, political, and economic lives of people living in another? How does power flow from different areas to the world to other areas? Be specific in using ethnographic examples from class material in discussing this statement, making sure you use material from different topics in the class.
- How are nostalgia and authenticity essential in understanding contemporary society and culture throughout the world? How do these two concepts influence local identities, social hierarchies, and power? Be specific in using ethnographic examples from class material in discussing this statement, making sure you use material from different topics in the class.