Lecture 1

Jan 29

A Pre-Agricultural Outlook

Read James Suzman, " Sympathy for a Desert Dog " on the NYTimes website. (Or download as .pdf, you have trouble getting access). Suzman's essay turns on what to make of the terrible suffering inflicted on a dog by village children.

Write and submit via the comments a one-¶ response to one of the following prompts:

  1. Sum up the logic of Suzman's essay for an unfamiliar reader. What lesson does he draw from the story of this dog?
  2. Give a hostile critique of Suzman's conclusions, written for someone who's just finished reading Suzman's article. Since you only have 1 ¶, try to focus attention on what you see as the critical flaw in his argument.
  3. Writing for someone familiar with both authors, set Suzman's thinking in proper relation to Harari's idea that we organize our experience in relation to an "Imagined Order." If Suzman and Harari are in agreement, write a ¶ summing up their thinking, noting differences of approach or terminology, but emphasizing their shared vision. If they are in disagreement, write a ¶ noting similarities in their thinking or terminology but emphasizing the core difference.

Post your response below under the appropriate heading.

MLA Source Citation

In 2016 the Modern Language Association revised their widely used style guide for source citation. You probably learned MLA citation in high school, but you may have learned the old method—or you may be using EasyBib without really understanding what you're doing. Blindly following a machine's prompts is likely to get you into trouble. As computer tech people say about the danger of relying on algorithms without understanding them, "Garbage in, garbage out."

For a refresher, you can consult this video tutorial on MLA citation: link. For future reference, the Purdue University writing lab has an excellent online resource for source citation. Go check it out now, and if you like what you see, make a bookmark so you can come back later.

Practice Quiz: I've designed a quiz so you can test your mastery of MLA style, available on Blackboard here. After completing the quiz, be sure to click the link to see how you did, and where you went wrong. This quiz counts for completion only, but the quiz next Friday will be scored for mastery.

51 responses to “Lecture 1

    • Editted Version:
      Suzman first uses his story with Dog to point out that the Ju/’hoansi don’t seem to have sympathy towards animals, which makes him angry. Then he explains the possible reason behind it: His affection is from the neolithic revolution which tends to treat dogs as part of a family. However, the Ju/’hoansi are hunter-gatherers which doesn’t emphasize sympathy on non-human animals. It’s because the Ju/’hoansi are hunter-gatherers. The only thing they need to do is to find ways to predict and hunt their preys better. Consequently, they don’t have the obligation and the responsibility to take care of the dogs which doesn’t give them any advantage. They don’t need the help of dogs. However, unlike hunter-gatherers, people under the great impact of neolithic revolution do need the help of dogs, and dogs are thus exploited for their human-like traits. Gradually dogs are adopted by people and are treated as one part of the family. Sympathy for dogs starts from that. The difference of attitude towards animals is because the different environment of ancestors, and this difference gets inherited.

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