Using Cultural Differences to Teach Critical Thinking in General Education

Using Cultural Differences to Teach Critical Thinking in General Education

Speaker: Prof. Joseph Bosco (Department of Anthropology)
Date: 2 March 2015 (Monday)
Language: English

Anthropologists typically go to another culture, suffer culture shock and learn a different way to see the world, then come back and tell others about it. This idea that “the world does not need to be the way it is now” is at the heart of anthropology, and helps us understand the role of culture in our lives. Cultural assumptions are invisible to people who use them every day. Most of us accept culture as “the way we do things around here” and do not see or question our culture. Part of critical thinking is helping students see their—and other societies’—cultures.

In this GE lunch seminar, the speaker will

  1. discuss what anthropologists mean by “critical thinking” and explain how they go about teaching it in GE courses;
  2. use examples from common topics such as nationalism, magic, and sports to examine how these issues need to be taught so as to cultivate wisdom to students rather than just making them learn facts for exams;
  3. discuss why critical thinking as taught by anthropology (like that taught by other social sciences and humanities) is important for living in our global world.

Speaker’s Bio

Joseph BOSCO 林舟 is Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology, and 2013 Exemplary Teaching Award in General Education recipient. He has a BS in Biology from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. He joined CUHK in 1992. He has taught UGEC1681 Humans and Culture and UGEC2960 Magic, Myth and the Supernatural, and last semester introduced a new course, UGEC2664 Sports and Culture. His research interests include economic anthropology (the rise and development of consumerism in China), religion, and the cultural shaping of rationality. He is currently conducting research on pesticides in Taiwan and its risks. His most recent publication is “The Problem of Greed in Economic Anthropology: Sumptuary Laws and New Consumerism in China,” Economic Anthropology 1: 167–185 (2014).