Dancing Skeletons

Answer the following questions based on the ethnography Dancing Skeletons. It is not necessary to writean essay, but do engage the questions at a thoughtful level. Be sure to answer the question thoroughly aseach has several parts and use examples from the ethnography.1. Why is it important for an anthropologist to be able to speak the local language? Whatadvantages did the author enjoy because of her language ability? What difficulties ensue when aresearcher is not able to speak the local language? If all contact with the population is through aninterpreter, what sorts of bias might arise in the data collection?2. What was the outcome of the author’s visit to #104’s compound? What had happened to thechild since her last visit several years earlier? Why did the author use numbers to refer to peoplein her study, instead of their names? Do you think it was right for Dettwyler to intervene in thecase of child #104, or should anthropologists just study people in other cultures and endeavor tohave as little impact on them as possible? Is it possible to conduct anthropological researchwithout having some effect on the people you study?3. How do the medical resources of Magnambougou compare to those available in the UnitedStates? What are the main diseases children in Mali must contend with?4. Using female circumcision as the focus, discuss the concept of cultural relativism as used byanthropologists. Even though we may understand the beliefs behind the practice, does culturalrelativism compel us to approve of female circumcision? What are some of the rationalesprovided by cultures that practice female circumcision? What was Agnes’s attitude (Chapter 3)when she found out that neither the author nor her daughter had been, or where intending to becircumcised?5. Aminata’s parents could see that she was very skinny even though she ate a lot of food.“Everyone knows that you can eat a lot and still be skinny” (Dettwyler 1994: 44). How doobservations such as these contribute to the belief among some Malians that food intake andhealth are not related?Essay and Homework Requirements:• Minimum of 2 typed pages of your writing (not including heading or prompt)• 12 point font size• 1 inch margins on all sides• Double-spaced throughout• Spell-checked, grammar-checked

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