Discussions can be an excellent strategy for enhancing student motivation, fostering intellectual agility, and encouraging democratic habits. They create opportunities for students to practice and sharpen a number of skills, including the ability to articulate and defend positions, consider different points of view, and enlist and evaluate evidence. While discussions provide avenues for exploration and discovery, leading a discussion can be anxiety-producing: discussions are, by their nature, unpredictable, and require us as instructors to surrender a certain degree of control over the flow of information. Fortunately, careful planning can help us ensure that discussions are lively without being chaotic and exploratory without losing focus. For discussions to accomplish something valuable, they must have a purpose.
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This entry takes as its focal point the philosophical contributions of Anna Julia Cooper with an emphasis on her scholarship and some attention to her commitments as an educator and activist. Authoring one of the earliest book-length analyses of the unique situation of Black women in the United States, Cooper offers clearly articulated insights about racialized sexism and sexualized racism without ignoring the significance of class and labor, education and intellectual development, and conceptions of democracy and citizenship. The entry concludes with a biographical sketch of Cooper in order to prioritize her scholarship and critically engage her theories rather than commencing by recounting her life story. Cooper takes an intersectional approach to examining the interlocking systems of race, gender, and class oppression—explicitly articulating how Black women are simultaneously impacted by racism the race problem and sexism the woman question and yet she is either an unknown or unacknowledged by white women, white men, or Black men factor in examining or eliminating these systems of oppression. For these reasons, Cooper argues, Black women have a unique epistemological standpoint from which to observe society and its oppressive systems as well as a unique ethical contribution to make in confronting and correcting these oppressive systems.
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The aquatic ape hypothesis AAH , also referred to as aquatic ape theory AAT or the waterside hypothesis of human evolution , postulates that the ancestors of modern humans took a divergent evolutionary pathway from the other great apes by becoming adapted to a more aquatic habitat. The hypothesis was initially proposed by the marine biologist Alister Hardy in , who argued that a branch of apes was forced by competition over terrestrial habitats to hunt for food such as shellfish on the sea shore and sea bed, leading to adaptations that explained distinctive characteristics of modern humans such as functional hairlessness and bipedalism. The hypothesis is highly controversial, and has been criticized as pseudoscience.