Your first response paper will be due on the week of March 14th. (You may turn in your paper any time between the 14th and 18th of March.)
Each short response paper consists of a 2-to-4 page essay.
Choose an argument in Conklin’s book. Paraphrase her argument in your own words and describe the evidence that she uses to make the argument.
An obvious choice of argument would be Conklin’s that “compassionate cannibalism” was not a bizarre or cruel practice but, rather, a response to loss and grief that made sense from the point of view of the Wari’, who ate certain dead “out of a sense of respect and compassion for the dead person and for the dead person’s family” (Conklin 2001:xvi).
Describe how Conklin makes her argument. For instance: what information does she use to convince you that there is nothing any more strange about cannibalism as a response to loss and sadness than, say, burying a body in the ground, or burning it, or donating it to a medical school where future dermatologists can practice doing face-lifts on it.
How in Conklin’s account does the structure of Wari’ culture and society help to make this practice sensible? How might Wari’ views on the relation of the self to society relate to cannibalism? How do understandings of illness and loss relate to funerary practices? How do Wari’ talk about the body, memory, and emotions?
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