Can We Understand a Foreign Culture?


Week 1 – Discussion 1


Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses.


Can   We Understand a Foreign Culture?

The main question in Chapter 1 – [Culture and Meaning] of your textbook (2016) is: How can we understand other cultures? This question goes back to the foundation of cultural anthropology, its methods and its assumptions. The three concepts discussed in your textbook reading this week are crucial for starting this discussion: ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, and the relativist fallacy. 

In your initial post, choose one of these three concepts and explain what it means. Avoid quotes; rather, show that you grasp how the concepts works. Include the article by Darnell (2009) in your discussion. Then, choose an example from the textbook, the film The Papuans and/or a story covered in the media to illustrate this concept. Discuss how the example shows the importance of this concept for understanding culture, for instance showing an error occurring by committing the relativist fallacy

Guided Response: Respond to at least two peers and/or instructor. Choose a post that discusses a concept other than the one you chose. Provide additional insight into how that concept is important in our ability to understand other cultures.

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