Nacirema

For Hartwick Cultural Anthropology 2018 we read the classic 1956 Horace Miner article “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema.” [Image credit, The Weird, Wonderful Ways of the Nacirema People]

“The Nacirema” is one of the most-assigned articles for introductory anthropology courses and is often used outside of anthropology as well. For this reader, Guest preserves the potential for surprise, stating that “as you read, consider how the Nacirema’s rituatls are similar to or different from practices you may have experienced in your own life” (44).

Despite its classic status and heavy use in introductory anthropology courses, a Twitter debate emerged in summer 2018 about whether we should be using this article in class. As a result I have been rethinking my own use of the Nacirema.

What do you think? What is the main take-away point of the Nacirema? What would you identify as problematic aspects of the article? Is the main point worth pursuing even with these problematic aspects?


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