Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
Ancestor worship, or filial piety so characteristic of Asian cultures, for example, does not really resonate with Americans who favor children, not grandparents.
If a student takes the whole series of my folklore courses including the graduate seminars, he or she should learn something about fieldwork, something about bibliography, something about how to carry out library research, and something about how to publish that research.
Americans often have trouble enjoying the present moment.
Future orientation is combined with a notion and expectation of progress, and nothing is impossible.
Life, it seems, is nothing if not a series of initiations, transitions, and incorporations.
I mentioned that one of the tripartite formulas in American worldview involves time: past, present, and future.
In my introductory course, Anthropology 160, the Forms of Folklore, I try to show the students what the major and minor genres of folklore are, and how they can be analyzed.
My academic identity is that of a folklorist, and for many years I have taught only folklore courses.
Americans have a penchant for the future and tend to disregard the past.
I have a great advantage over many of my colleagues inasmuch as my students bring with them to class their own personal knowledge of national, regional, religious, ethnic, occupational, and family folklore traditions.
Polls are frequently taken to try to tease out or determine likely directions and trends, but once taken, they belong to the past, requiring that new polls be taken.
Cities all over the world are getting bigger as more and more people move from rural to urban sites, but that has created enormous problems with respect to environmental pollution and the general quality of life.
In the light of our culture, these are not unreasonable questions and tactics, but if once again, we try to see the lens through which we look, we can see that there is far too great an emphasis placed on the future.
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