Assignment and Discussion for Anthropology Class

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Assignment and Discussion for Anthropology Class

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Altered States of Conciosness


Be sure to read carefully. Where asked to describe, you must actually explain with detail. Lists or bullet points will not be accepted for full credit. Please use full sentences and support any statements or claims that you make with course materials.

Use the text box at the bottom to number, then reply to each of the questions. Where sub-questions exists, please follow the format provided in the question (bullet point, letter, etc.).

As always, your work must be in your own words.

Use the grading rubric (on the top right) for further grading criteria.

1. Please view the short video below about the Sanuma/Sanema of the Amazon (Brazilian and Venezuelan regions), who are part of the Yanomami (Links to an external site.) cultural area, and take good notes.

Using the information from the video, respond to the following:

a) Who enters an altered state of consciousness (ASC) in this film? For what purpose is this individual attempting to reach an ASC?

b) What methods are used to achieve an ASC, according to the narrator? Please be sure to identify and explain each method.

2.Watch the following video on the San Healing Ritual. Be sure you’ve carefully read the textbook chapter before beginning. Take good notes.

After watching the video, please reply to the following with good detail…

a) How did the healer learn he was a healer? How was the song symbolic? What did it mean for him?

b) According to him, what makes him a traditional healer? How does he diagnose those who are ill? How does he cure them?

c) Based on the textbook and video, explain and describe the relationship between San healing dance and altered states of consciousness.


Please write a minimum of three paragraphs (paragraphs should be 4-8 sentences in length) for your first post (original post: this cannot be divided into multiple posts– the 7 points is based solely on the first submission, whether blank, partial, or full: make it count!) describe the various methods used to reach an altered state of consciousness (ASC) and the cultural or religious interpretations.

  • Once you’ve given an overview, identify and discuss at least a couple different cultures or religions that experience altered states of consciousness. What about these practices did you find interesting or surprising? Why?
  • Can you compare these practices and/or beliefs to those in your own culture or religion? How are they similar? Different?
  • Please be sure to focus on the differences between religious and recreational use of drugs in order to reach an ASC, if you are speaking of recreational use.

Write three thoughtful replies to three original posts that stood out to you.

Refer to the Module 2 discussion forum for guidelines for discussion posts.

7 Points- Your original post- responses should include insight related to the prompt and include specific details, such as case studies or cultural examples, for support.

3 Points- Thoughtful, topic-related replies to classmates. Avoid, “I agree”-type statements and discuss why you agree and elaborate, to show you understand the course materials.

What discussion is used for in this course:

1) Engaging, meaningfully, with classmates regarding the content of the course.

Learning more than you knew before entering discussion, this happens by reading and considering classmates’ post content and working to consider what you learned while completing the readings, videos, Quiz and Topic Assignment. Did classmates see some of the content differently? What stood out to you? Why? You may use some personal reflection here!

  • Personal knowledge can be used (for discussion only), if you can accurately and clearly show its relationship to course materials for the module; this means you must use terms and concepts throughout your post. I encourage the use of personal knowledge, but only when it is used to further show comprehension of what we are learning in the module.
    • A post that is filled with opinion (what you believe is right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse, etc.), lacks course terms/concepts, or is unable to show the value of the module’s content in relation to personal knowledge should be avoided.
  • Remember, you will be using cultural relativism (Links to an external site.) throughout the course, which includes your work on discussion. This means refraining from judging another culture based on your own culture/biases. We will take that to also mean not judging another religion/culture based on our religion, as well.
    • For example, if you follow a particular religion, then hold off on using your religion as a basis for understanding/judging the cultures we study and their religious views. Instead, focus on the emic categories (Links to an external site.) (the perspective of those in a culture we are studying) and try to get to the heart of the meanings to those you are learning about in this course.
  • Your first post must be completed by noon of the due date or it will automatically lose 20% of the total possible points; late posting means fewer classmates, if any, will be able to read and interact with your post, thus it isn’t fostering discussion and isn’t meeting the basic goal of the assessment.
    • Discussion is the most valuable place to learn when you are in an online course. This is the point of the college experience! Learning. Growing. Becoming someone who can think critically and logically about the world around them. Use one another as resources for enhanced learning.

2) Showing deeper understanding of terms and concepts, rather than reiterating superficial information from the textbook.

  • If your post is written as a rephrasing of the topic assignment content (which everyone has completed) or a general summary of the textbook (which everyone has read), then it isn’t terribly engaging.
    • Instead, think on the terms and concepts and case studies that really stood out to you. Discuss those. Discuss why they stood out. Discuss how a particular concept or term or case study relates to your own personal knowledge. Make the post yours. By making it yours, you help your classmates learn and you make your post engaging to them.

3) Reflecting on the material (in your original post) and your classmates posts (in replies) and how the information you’re gathering, through the course materials or classmates’ posts, have added to your knowledge or challenged you to think about something we are learning in a new way.

  • An example of reflecting for this module’s content, while writing your original/first post, might include recognizing your ethnocentric (Links to an external site.) perspectives as you read/learned.
    • For example, the first chapter discusses cannibalism. It’s easy to judge a culture that participates in this act based on the fact that our culture sees it as bad (ethnocentrism), but as a student of anthropology, it is imperative to understand how cannibalism is practiced, in what circumstances, and why, within the culture we are studying (by using cultural relativism).
    • Your goal isn’t to have an opinion on the practice or belief, but to understand the meaning of the practice or belief to those being studied and remain aware of how your biases impact your perspective as you learn. If your culture has biased your perspective, then state that fact. We are all ethnocentric. This course is going to challenge you to become more aware of the way your culture biases your perspective of others.

4) Using course terms and concepts to show comprehension. Showing you understand means being able to explain the relationship between case studies (examples) of various cultures covered in class to those course terms (usually bolded words in the textbook) and concepts (usually headings or subheadings in the textbook).

  • Most of the course terms and concepts are pretty straight forward. However, students sometimes misuse terms or concepts because of their general understanding (what we call, “casual” or “everyday” meanings), rather than the anthropological understanding of the term or concept. Your score is based on your comprehension using the anthropological understanding.
  • Be sure to revisit the textbook and understand the terms and concepts you use before employing them in your work. The better you know them by the end of the module, the easier it will be to draw on that information later for exams or future modules (some terms and concepts return repeatedly in the semester).

Note: Grades are based on your ability to convey what you’ve learned in your own words, without quotes. Verbatim content will not earn points, but may result in a loss of points (no quotes, please!). This is where you explore what you’ve learned- make the posts your own!

Discussion Prompt

Please write a minimum of three paragraphs for your first post; the original post (first post) cannot be divided into multiple posts– the 7 points are based solely on the first submission, whether blank, partial, or full: make it count! discuss some of the perspectives, approaches, or methods anthropologists use to study religion.

NOTE: The bold prompt above is always broad/general and must be part of your original post, however, the following bullet points are not required, only suggested to get you thinking about the content from the module as you write your original post.

  • Include specific details from the textbook regarding the ways in which anthropologists collect data, the way in which they are expected to view the population they study, and the way in which they attempt to describe/portray those they study.
  • What is culture? Religion? How are they understood within anthropology?
  • What is the relationship between religion and the brain?

Write three thoughtful replies to three original posts that stood out to you.

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