The basic challenge in sociology and anthropology is to understand ourselves and others more fully. Both disciplines ask us to probe beneath the surface and to question why people behave as they do, especially in group situations. The sociological perspective asks us to question the taken-for-granted, to ask why our society operates as it does and how our social arrangements could be different. Similarly, anthropologists hope that by understanding other cultures, we can come to a better understanding of our own culture and, eventually, of ourselves.
The Sociology/Anthropology program at Wooster stresses, above all, the value of learning how to deal with contemporary social issues and how to develop problem-solving and research skills, including the use of computers.
“Weaving Together Women’s Lives: Building Identities Across Navajo Generations”
Through narratives presented by three generations in a Navajo family, Louise Lamphere and her collaborator Carole Cadman draw on Navajo cultural conceptions of place, kinship and womanhood to talk about women’s lives across three generations. Rather than viewing grandmother and weaver Eva Price as rooted in Navajo “traditional” life during the 1930s, and Carole a bilingual Navajo caught in between Navajo and Anglo cultures, with Valerie representing the “modern” college-educated professional, these narrative contest the trope of assimilation. Through photos and personal memories, Louise and Carole talk about themselves, Carole’s mother Eva and her daughter Valerie. They weave together stories of their educational experiences, their connections to family and kin, and the importance of the Kinaalda. Using elements of Navajo and Anglo culture, just as a weaver uses individual threads to create a unique pattern, they create a new blueprint for their lives. Tuesday, April 9th, 7:00 p.m., Wishart Lean Lecture Room.
Preparing for natural disasters was not at the top of Gus Fuguitt’s priority list, but as a participant in a sociology Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of South Florida (USF) this past summer, he learned a great deal about how individuals and communities prepare for, experience, and recover from such calamities as Hurricanes Isaac and Katrina.
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