The first two writing assignments deal with controversial issues. These papers should take the form of an argument "for or against" a particular position on each issue. The third, and final paper challenges the student to perform the role of an applied cultural anthropologist, and conduct an 'impact assessment', or evaluation, of the socio-cultural consequences, of contemporary social media technologies. Paper # 1 asks you to consider the issue of 'cultural relativity' presented in Lesson 2 (especially Example 2.1). The general questions are: Should cultural relativity prevail over moral progress? Is the fact that a certain custom is practiced a sufficient reason to allow it to continue to be practiced? More specifically, many people from different societies consider wrong such customs as: bull fighting, dog fighting, bird fighting, cannibalism, genital operations, foot-binding, slavery, and the human rights abuses of sovereign states. Yet, these same practices are, for the most part, considered acceptable in the societies in which they are found. Your task is to select one of these customs and argue "for or against" its continued existence. If you argue against its continuation, then you must also describe how interventions could be made to intervene and eradicate it. Paper # 2 asks you to consider the topic of 'plural marriage' or polygamy described in Lesson 5. The question to be debated is: Should plural marriage be allowed as a legally permitted option for consenting adults in American society? In this paper you will need to describe both the pros and cons. Then describe your rationale for the choice of one position or the other. Paper # 3 asks you to consider the nature, and socio-cultural consequences, of contemporary social media and virtual online communities like Facebook, Linked In, Texting, Tumblr, Instant Messaging, Twitter, etc. Select one of these, and based on your inquiry describe:1) the nature of one of these systems; 2) the cultural rules and expectations surrounding its use; and 3) what you think are the current social and cultural consequences, both "good and bad" about them. Each paper will require: topic approval, submission of an outline, and after making suggested improvements suggested by the Professor, submitting a final draft. Each paper and outline will amount to about 8 pages.
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