Listen to part of a conversation between a student and a professor.
Student: Professor Dyson, you’re having your office hours now, aren’t you? I’d really love to talk with you for a couple of minutes if you could spare the time.
Professor: Oh, hi, Mindy. Please come on in. You’re always welcome in my office even if I’m not having office hours.
Student: Oh, it’s so nice of you to say that, Professor.
Professor: So, what can I do for you today?
Student: Well, you see, it’s my paper. You know… the one that you assigned to us earlier in the week.
Professor: Getting an early start I see. I seem to remember that it’s not due for another month. You sure are diligent, Mindy. I’ll give you that.
Student: Oh, thank you, ma’am. I just like to get started early on my projects in case I run into any trouble. That way I can get all the problems out of the way and have an easy time finishing everything.
Professor: Yes, I was once like you myself. It’s the best way to do things really. Anyway, so what exactly do you need to know about the paper? The length? The approach? Or even the number of sources that you need to use?
Student: Well, I have been trying to come up with a topic, and I think I have a couple of good ones, but I want to check with you first to make sure that I’m on the right track.
Professor: Okay, then why don’t you fill me in on your first topic?
Student: Sure thing. Well, since we’re investigating ancient pottery-making methods, I thought that I’d take a look at how the Romans developed their own pottery- You know, I was, uh, really impressed with last week’s class on Roman artwork. I had never known they had such advanced pottery-making skills, so I kind of thought that I’d investigate it a little more.
Professor: All right. Well, that’s a very good approach. So, your general topic is Roman pottery. Now, exactly what aspect of it are you going to discuss? Remember that since you’re an upperclassman, I’m going to expect more from you on this paper than I would from a freshman.
Student: I’ll keep that In mind. But, see, that’s the problem right now. I was totally fascinated by that lecture, but I simply lack the knowledge base even to get started on coming up with a topic to write on.
Professor: Yes, I see your point. It’s unfortunate, but most art historians focus on more modern times, so your education on ancient methods is probably a little lacking. Hmm, let me see what you could get started on. Well… there is always the Greek influence. You could take a closer look at that.
Student: The Greek influence?
Professor: Oh, yes. The Greeks had a, well, tremendous influence on Roman pottery-making. Remember that the two were just across the sea from one another. There was a lot of cross-cultural interaction going on. Why don’t you think about that aspect for your paper? There’s a fairly large corpus on this influence, so you shouldn’t have too many problems in finding what you need.
Student: Excellent. I’ll get on it right away. Thanks so much.
Professor: My pleasure.
Listen to part of a lecture in a sociology class.
Professor: Today we’re going to start, no sorry, I mean continue our discussions about family types and family issues. So we’re going to talk about the institution of marriage, which may be the farthest thing from your minds right now at your age. However, it’s the norm, I mean very common, in many countries around the world. In most cultures, people are expected to get married by a certain age and start their own families. Ah, even in America, until recently, it was also the norm, and among our many cultures, there are certain expectations of children. One of them is to get married. Most marriages around the world consist of one bride and one groom, a wife and husband. Yet, this is not always the case. The incidence of polygamy is more common than you would think.
Student A: Excuse me, is that polygamy or bigamy?
Professor: Polygamy. P-O-L-Y-G-A-M-Y. Polygamy means having more than one spouse, plural spouses, and they know about each other, and it’s legal. Bigamy means someone is married to two people at the same time, but they do not know about each other, or it’s illegal according to the laws of the area, or both. Now polygamy can be divided into two types. The most common type is where there is one husband and two or more wives. In this type of polygamy, there are two sub-classifications. The first one involves women who are not related to each other. This is the most common type. The second type involves women who are related to each other. Most often they are sisters. This occurred among Native American tribes, where a man would marry several sisters, and they all lived together.
Student B: What? Is it still practiced today?
Professor: It depends on the laws, but most states don’t allow more than one wife. Yet, Native Americans often have different customs that are allowed under our existing laws. But I’ll have to get back to you on that because I’m not really sure. Okay?
So the second type of polygamy involves a woman with more than one husband. In almost all of these instances, the husbands are brothers, and it is rare that two unrelated men will marry the same woman. This type of polygamy is practiced among some cultures in Tibet, Mongolia, the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic, and some parts of India.
Now, in an arranged marriage, there is often some kind of payment made between the two families. This can involve money, goods, or labor. Okay, so now I want to discuss the concept of arranged marriages. While not so common in our country, well, unless you count those Internet dating services, arranged marriages are still very normal in India, Africa, and much of the Muslim world. Up until recently, they were also common in Japan, China, and Korea, where pressure to get married remains very strong.
There are three main types of payment: bride price, bride service, and a dowry. The first two involve the man’s family paying the woman’s while the dowry involves the woman’s family paying the man’s. What kind of payment made depends on the culture and the value they place on the labor and offspring potential of the woman. In a culture where the woman provides a lot of labor to the family or has some special skills, the future husband’s family must pay for her. This is called the bride price. Unfortunately, women often have no say with whom they will marry. The males in the future wife’s family control who she gets married to. You see this in India and Muslim cultures. The future husband’s family must compensate them with money or goods for the loss of her labor and the loss of her future children. Essentially, she now belongs to her husband’s family.
Bride service is almost the same except that the future husband must provide labor for his future wife’s family. This is more common in Africa and some tribes in South America’s Amazon jungle. Essentially, the man, the future husband, must go to the woman’s family and work for them, sometimes up to two years before the marriage occurs. If the future husband changes his mind about the marriage, in both bride price and service, he is not given back his money or compensated. However, if the woman’s family changes their mind, the man must be compensated.
The final type of payment is the dowry. This occurs where the woman does not contribute to her family with labor, or, at least, her contribution is not going to be missed by the family. The dowry is also supposed to be to help the new couple set up living arrangements for them and can be money or goods such as furniture and other household items.