Degree Year

1987

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology

Advisor(s)

Jack Glazier
Ron Casson

Keywords

Anthropology, America

Abstract

You have in your hands a thing: a discrete, bounded entity. You see paper, which you identify as a thing, and you see some concept, 'thesis', less directly than paper, but still as a thing.

But as much as you have a thing, you engage in a process, the interaction of my mind and yours, a time-delayed conversation. A thesis (or article or book) performs the role of an intellectual launching pad, a catalyst for thought. Both 'realities', the slices of a dead tree and the process-engagement, confront you through experience.

And yet, as Americans we are more likely to think of even the process elements of a thesis as a thing: a bounded, complete set of thoughts ready for dissection. Unless reminded, we allow the process to slip into the background. We forget the engagement and concentrate on the analysis. I call this paper "Journeying Towards America" to emphasize what we sometimes forget: that any written work is both a journey shared and a place reached, a process of exploring the intricacies of the foreign terrain, and a recounting of the things found there.

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