Ethnobotany Test Two

Due to unusual circumstances, test two will be a single take home essay question. Some of the material we have covered since midterm will appear on the final examination.

Type up your essay and either print it out and hand it in or email it to me by 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday 30 March 2004. Make sure your name is on your paper! My email address is

On the essay question keep your writing clear and legible. Take your time and do your best to use correct spelling and grammar. Think carefully and plan your essay. Be reflective, support your statements with specific examples where appropriate.

Essay Question

Many traditional cultures, including those of Micronesia, have generally abandoned their traditional material cultural practices. Traditional homes have given way to cement cinder block houses, canoes have been replaced by fiberglass outboard motor boats and airplanes, and few young Micronesians tattoo themselves from head to foot. While people hold on to their language, their traditional medicinal plants, and their traditional foods, material culture seems to be intentionally jettisoned.

Young men wear stylish closed foot athletic shoes, women adopt western clothing, and everyone wears sunglasses. Rope (pwehl) making has been replaced by rope buying at a hardware store. Traditional roofs are produced only for special cultural huts or tourist hotels, people live under corrugated steel or cement roofs. Of all the areas we study during the term, the loss of knowledge and the extent of the adoption of foreign ways is most evident in material culture. As none of the students come to class in ancient traditional wear, or walk to the college from town, arguing that material culture is important would be specious.* The daily choices made by Micronesians indicate that material culture is being abandoned and forgotten.

Issues to address in your essay:

Construct an essay that addresses the following issues:

If there are other issues or perspectives that you feel need to be included in your essay, then add them in.

*Specious: Apparently attractive, apparently true, or correct but not actually correct, actually false.