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Daily Reading Questions and Seminar Participation

A serious reading of the required material for each class session is critical to the structure of this seminar-style course. As you read the material, you will post a question or series of questions that will guide your synthesis of the author’s central point to each reading. Good questions guide the reader towards key insights into what the author is trying to accomplish. It is important that your questions reflect the overall scope of arguments, as well as key supporting points of debate that help you better understand the co-constitution of mind and culture in human experience. You will post at least one question for each chapter or article that is required reading for each session. These must be posted the night before the class session for which the reading is due. These questions will be used to facilitate seminar discussions and critiques. Credit will only be given where you also punctually attend the seminar session to discuss your questions and potential answers to your questions.

Composite Book Review

You will write a composite book review—in the genre of a critical academic review—weaving together insights from at least two of the required books for the course. The review should not cover the entire scope of the arguments in both books. Rather, choose a common strain of argument that cuts across both books, and focus your review on this issue. Compare and contrast distinct perspectives on the issue that is covered by both authors, and relate the issue back to broader disciplinary perspectives and critiques in psychological anthropology. Reviews should be approximately 2,000 words and follow all submission instructions.

Group Project

Students in this seminar will collectively undertake an empirical project that seeks to understand the co-constitution of mind and culture in a particular domain of human experience. All participants will help shape the study, including the literature on which it will be based, and the particular types of ethnographic data to be collected, as well as the sites where these data will be collected. Each student will individually produce (1) a literature review of at least 10 sources relevant to the Group Project topic (specific instructions will be given in class), (2) field notes based on participant observation towards the group project, and (3) a summary analysis of the students’ individual insights into the phenomenon. In the latter part of the course, all students will work together to (4) bring these insights together and compose a collective group paper about the key findings and overall theoretical implications of the ethnographic data that has been collectively gathered and analyzed. All students are expected to contribute and productively divide the labor of the project, and each student should demonstrate leadership in developing one dimension of the final paper. Self-assessments and peer-assessments will be reported on this collaborative project.

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