Ethical Issues in Anthropology

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Ethical Issues in Anthropology


DiGangi, Elizabeth A.

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Popular depictions of anthropology often include adventurous people who travel to exotic locations or who work on engaging cases in their home laboratory. It all appears intriguing and exciting. While this may be true, actual practice is frequently beset by decisions to be made without any easy solutions: is it okay to pay research participants for their biological materials, such as blood samples? Should you always tell human research subjects what you plan to do with the data you collect? What should you do if you have a fallout with your research colleague with whom you share half of your collective intellectual property? How do you decide to whom the data really belongs, anyway? Is it okay for a professor to have an affair with an undergraduate student? Would the answer change if it were with a graduate student or a research colleague? What happens when you suspect someone of professional misconduct and are afraid of retaliation if you report them? In this course, we will discuss ethical conundrums such as these by debating their multiple sides. We will engage with these topics via case studies, readings, and discussion. Students will leave the course armed with skills to justify their decisions about ethical questions that they may face in the future.

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