This class was tough.
It is such an eye opening course; you discuss different societies that very in technological advancements. These societies are broadly categorized into small-scale (indigenous tribes) and large-scale (western city), we compare the benefits and costs to there lifestyles. This course encourages you to be more accepting of others and build upon cultural competence. The readings are crucial to the understanding of terminology; he will provide examples in class but you need to have an idea what the themes are. This is large lecture class and participation is all; you want to standout from a group of 150+ students.
Some of the most memorable themes included: ethnocentrism and their negative effects on identity that leads to patriotism, sexism, racism, etc. Dr. Lauer did an amazing job expressing what ethnocentrism is. In the beginning of class he presented a picture of a boy that seemed to be from a third world country in Africa. He asked us, "What would you give this boy for a better life?" Everyone in the class started sharing ideas some of the most popular ideas were: irrigation systems, books and materials for schools, clean water, clothing. He later mentioned, this were all great ideas but no one stopped to asked "what has the boy said he needs for a better life?" That completely shocked me because I was fast to assume he needs the stuff I have in my society (implying my lifestyle IS the better life) without reflecting that firstly those might not be his points of interest and secondly what makes my lifestyle better.. for all I know they are living the dream and I am stuck with a high stress poor quality life. This example is a constant reminder that everyone behaves and thinks differently, therefore we cannot compare societies in our terms and most importantly define their success through a hierarchy where our norm is the top.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
Be open-minded when taking this course. Professor Lauer will challenge your way of thinking, societal norms, stereotypes, and he will address controversial topics for example domestic violence, religion, incest, death, evolution, etc. I do not expect you to change your beliefs, but I would recommend to give this Professor a chance to illustrate the way other people think.