Good Question Excercise: example questions

Here are a selection of some great questions that students prepared in ANTH 100 (2013).  The good question exercise builds from the “What’s the Prof Want” activity and blog post.   I would strongly recommend that you read over the blog post as part of your preparation for the mid-term and final exam. Also, take advantage of the study tips menu tab on the top right of this page.

Questions from Cordelia’s tutorial groups:

  • How is the minutemen organization part of or a product of the neoliberalist government?
  • Identify patterns found in the methods used to socially and geographically segregate the illegal immigrants and the Palestinians.
  • To what extent do the minutemen reaffirm the culture of conservatism in the US but are also antagonistically  positioned to it?
  • Evaluate the material and cultural motivations of the minutemen individually and as a whole.
  • Analyze the various ways in which the key is an important symbol for Palestinian refugees.
  • In what ways are the minutemen and the Palestinians both trying to protect their cultures/identity?

Questions from Daniela’s tutorial groups:

  • How do Palestinians maintain their identity and self-representation after Al-Nakba? And how has it changed over time?
  • What factors allow the minutemen to perform their duties?
  • For Palestinians in Jordan and Minutemen in the USA how is a sense of nationality and belonging to a specific geographical area linked to identity?
  • How do the US minutemen consider illegal immigration and terrorism as two side of the same coin, and how does this further their ideology?

Questions from Sarah’s tutorial Groups:

  • How and why do the minutemen claim immigrants are a cause of social ills?
  • How do the Palestinians see themselves and their own identity after being displaced?
  • Compare and contrast the homeland power struggle of Palestinian refugees and American Minutemen.
  • How do symbols, such as a key, represent the struggles and determination of the Palestinian refugees?
  • To what extent has the Palestinian’s sense of identity changed as a result of becoming a refugee?
  • Compare how the older and younger generations of Palestinians have adapted their cultural practices after 1948.
  • Why do the minutemen feel they are necessary or important?
  • What is the relationship between the U.S. government and minutemen and what does this relationship represent?

Questions from Danielle’s tutorial groups:

  • In what ways are the Palestinian refugees in Jordan considered to be a part of their “new” and “old” society?
  • How has globalization affected the communities in the two readings?
  • How might focusing on an individual affect the bias of the fieldworker?
  • How (if at all) do Palestinians embrace the new culture in which they are displaced?
  • What role does ethnocentrism play in actions of the minutemen?
  • Evaluate the impact of displacement on the social/cultural identities of the Palestinian refugees in Jordan.



Term Research Paper

Students will write an ethnographic essay of five double spaced pages maximum.  Students will develop their paper topics in collaboration with their teaching assistant and instructor.  Students will draw from the course ethnographies, Cuban Color, Made in Madagascar, or Redflags and Lace Coiffes, for inspiration in the crafting and research of their own papers.  For evaluation criteria see “writing formal essays” guide on course outline.

Click here for a sample first year research paper (this paper was written by your professor when he was a 1st year student).

The paper is due November 22nd.  Because tutorials are cancelled on November 22nd, you will hand in your paper copy of your term paper in the dropbox provided in AnSo Building, right across from the Anthropology Department Main Office.  You will need to date stamp your paper and put it in the dropbox.  The office closes before 4:30 so you would be well advised to hand in your paper during the normal scheduled time for your Friday tutorial. 


Rules of Engagement

No matter what question you end up using to write on,  your paper must conform to these rules:

  1. Your essay must draw from at least one of the course ethnographies.
  2. In addition to drawing from one of the course ethnographies you must cite at least two other anthropological journal publications in your research paper.
  3. We encourage you to focus your papers on the theme of globalization.  Consider ways in which tourism, eco-tourism, race, and/or gender are shaped by and/or shape processes of globalization.
  4. NO WEB SOURCES.  The articles or books that you cite in your paper must be appropriate peer-reviewed publications.  Wikipedia or other internet sources are not acceptable for use in this paper.
  5. Your papers are to be arguments –not descriptions.
  6. Make an effort to incorporate key concepts that are raised in class (i.e. power, social organization, production, economic activity –this is not an exhaustive list).

Potential Questions (examples – consult with TAs to develop your own question.

  1. Fishing in the Bigoudennie can be thought of as a form of hunting or food collecting.  Being homeless in New York can be compared with foraging societies.  Evaluate the effectiveness of this analogy with direct reference to anthropological debates on hunting/gathering societies.
  2. Participant observation lies at the core of the anthropological research endeavour.  Compare and contrast the fieldwork settings and processes described by Roland and Walsh with that described by anthropologists who conducted their research prior to the 1950s.
  3. Identify and discuss the intellectual tradition within which Roland and Walsh are working.  Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their approach.
  4. Compare and contrast the different gender ideologies and structures in the ethnographies.
  5. Race, ethnicity, and identity play a critical role in all of these ethnographies.  Describe and evaluate the ways in which these subjective identities are linked to underlying socio-economic structures of power.