Directions: It’s been a unique semester, why not take a unique final? Answer six of the following questions in roughly a few paragraphs or 150 words each, for a total of roughly 900 words. Please let me know if you have any questions. I await reading your thoughts!
1) America has long been a country populated by immigrants, the particular cultural blend changing frequently. For many years, America was the premier destination for immigrants – that is beginning to change, as Canada, Australia, and some countries in Northern Europe become very popular destinations. What do you believe the effects would be if America did become culturally insular – to end immigration policies from other countries? (A complete shutdown of immigration is extremely unlikely in the future, but the trend towards decreased immigration has been common in the past few years.)
2) 2020 has been a grim year, and for many people the worst year in their lives. It has had an effect of helping us appreciate the fragile relationships we have with our family and friends. I have lost two family members this year, one of whom was my son. This essay question has two portions to it:
a) I’d like for you to talk to someone you respect in a socially distant, safe way (this means if you don’t live with them, then call them on the phone or have a video chat with them) and ask them for advice about life in general. You must:I) Get meaningful, important information from them. Don’t get a “Life, Laugh, Love” speech – get to something you didn’t know before.II) Get at least two paragraphs worth of advice. Don’t get a single sentence.
I am fully aware this would be very easy to cheat on – to pretend you spoke to your grandpa. You totally could, and I’d likely never know. But here is some pretty crappy advice from an old man to you – everyone has people they love die in their lives, and everyone would do a lot to be able to sit down with them again and have a deep, meaningful conversation – but the opportunity never came up, because it would be weird or awkward. I am giving you this opportunity – tell the person you respect that you have a wacky teacher who is asking you to interview someone you respect. This is your opportunity. If you’d cheat on it and waste it – you haven’t fooled me. You’ve fooled yourself.
I also ask this question of you – what advice would you give to someone younger than you?
3) Think about your life in February 2020 – and think about how it has changed today. How do you think life will be six months from now? A year from now?
4) Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – are similar faiths, but are contrasted often with faiths more common in East Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shinto. Explain why these faiths are often contrasted with Abrahamic faiths, and discuss similarities you can find with all of them.
5) China and the United States are different countries, and much has been made of this in the recent years. Do you believe China and the United States are destined to be rivals, partners, both, or neither?
6) If you were to look at the world in, say, the year 1000, you’d never guess that it would have been European cultures that would have become the head honchos of the world. China or the Middle East would have likely been the best choices. What was it that made the West come to dominate the economic and cultural rhythm of the world? Do you think this cultural and economic hegemony is breaking down (or has already broken down)?
7) What changes do you think the world will see in the next hundred years? How will the politics, economics, and culture change? Do you think these changes will be beneficial, deleterious, or some of both?
8) Culture can be a very difficult thing to define, as we have seen in our class. How would you define it? Please create a definition of your very own – it need not be verbose or scientific, just one that you would use. When two people come from the same culture, what do they have in common? When two people come from different cultures, how do they differ?
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