Introduction

Introduction

Depictions of natives, primitives and savages abound in the popular cultures of developed countries worldwide. In this module we will examine common stereotypes of native people and primitive cultures to uncover the underlying ideologies driving them, and analyze what cultural purpose such stereotypes serve in modern day life. We will seek to discern what palpable differences exist between primitive and modern people, and to confront the cultural and ethical conundrums entailed by those differences. Finally, we will explore how primitive people view modern society, and assess what the future may hold for native cultures in our fast globalizing world.

This Writing and Critical Thinking Programme module is designed to teach students how to think and write clearly. The module exemplifies three principles central to the general USP philosophy: (1) thinking about important questions in a cross-disciplinary way, (2) understanding the methodologies by which a particular discipline makes sense of its matter, and (3) inviting students to make their own judgments about whatever material they are studying. Although the module focuses intensively on the topic, the majority of time in class is spent on matters related to writing.

To learn how to write well, one must also know how to read carefully and intelligently. The reading assignments that accompany the writing of essays offer students a chance to learn how to read inquisitively, to examine rhetorical strategies and assumptions, and to formulate genuine questions that can serve as the foundation for the essays that they write. In addition, students learn how to use sources and evidence appropriately, to research, and to format essays according to disciplinary protocols.