Reflection Papers

Reflection Paper 1

Write an essay that discusses the very different ways Améry and Arendt discuss the problem of genocide. How does each explain the Holocaust?

Reflection Paper 2

For those who intend to write a final research paper, submit a 1.5–2 page summary of the topic, including a potential thesis statement, preliminary outline, and bibliography of sources that you will use in addition to the materials from the course.

For those who will compare and contrast three of the major case studies from the second half of the course, write a preliminary analysis of roughly the same length (1.5–2 pages) of one of the books you intend to write about for the final paper. I will give feedback on both types of writing assignments and you may use them in the final paper.

Short Mid-term Paper

Choose one:

Topic 1

In your 6–7 page paper (including notes and bibliography), use the theoretical and historical readings we have studied thus far to answer the following questions: What is the relationship between perceptions of the attributes or cultural practices of "others" and "interventions" aimed at controlling, altering, or harming "others"? What dynamics contribute to these processes? What are the results? Construct a strong thesis about the relationship between representations and interventions that you will demonstrate by comparing and contrasting the following cases: 

  • Collective violence in India and Sri Lanka
  • The Holocaust
  • Female genital operations

Topic 2

In your 6–7 page paper (including notes and bibliography), imagine that you are a discussant on a panel that includes the following presenters: representatives from the American Anthropological Association, Jack Donnelly, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Christine Walley, and Makau Mutua. The topic of discussion is whether practices of "female genital operations" are violations of human rights. Your paper will provide your own thesis on the status of FGOs that draws upon each panelist's presentation (to which you will refer / critique as you build your own argument). Please incorporate the perspectives of writers like Patterson or even Tambiah wherever appropriate.

Final Paper

Choice 1

Write an in-depth comparative analysis of three of the ethnographic cases from the second half of the course.

Choice 2

Complete a research paper or project on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. Research projects must draw upon the readings from the second half of the course and final research papers will receive a bonus of at least 1 / 3 of a grade.

Extra Credit

Attend the Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative (GHMHI) dinner at MIT on the evening of Session 10, to hear Sa'ed Adel Atshan speak about violence, trauma, and humanitarian politics in Palestine.

Atshan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies at Brown University's Watson Institute.