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Doniger, The Implied Spider:
1. Choose one myth and apply Doniger’s analytical tool of telescope/microscope. How does it work? Does it help to explain the myth? Why would people create myths to enable this kind of tacking between perspectives?
Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail:
2. What are some of the defining characteristics of Spanish colonialism and how did they impact the colonies and continue to have impacts in contemporary Latin America?
3. What are some of the defining characteristics of British colonialism and how did they impact the colonies and continue to have impacts in contemporary United States of America?
Bellah, Civil Religion:
4. Are you convinced by Bellah’s argument that Christianity is distinct from Civil Religion? Why or why not?
5. What are the main characteristics of Civil Religion? How do you see it enacted in the public sphere in the United States? Give examples.
6. Today, there are racial uprisings demanding in the US demanding justice and equality for all Americans. Trevor Noah argues that POC were never represented fully in America’s ‘social contract’. How does American racism challenge Bellah’s notion of civil religion?
Lame Deer (Introduction and Chapter 1)
7. Who was Lame Deer? Why is his story particularly significant because he was a Lakota Sioux? How did Richard Erdoes compile his stories? Are these compiled stories myths or histories – what is the difference?
8. Describe Lame Deer’s vision quest and how this ritual can be analyzed in terms of Arnold Van Gennep’s categories of (preliminal, liminal, and post-liminal).