ConversationThe topic of my research proposal: Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and her anthropology professor. Student: You know the topic I submitted for my research proposal, the historical origins of the Berber people of North Africa? Well, I started writing and it just wasn't working for me. I'm pretty much going nowhere with the research. Professor: I'm sorry to hear that. It was such an original choice. What happened? Student: Well, I found plenty of information about Berber's society in present day North Africa. But even though the evidence points to Berber civilization probably dating back five thousand years, there's no real scholarly consensus about their ancestry. Professor: That's true. We don't have a consensus. Feelings about their origins range from parts of Europe to the Middle East. Part of the problem is that the Berber language wasn't traditionally a written one so there aren't any historical records written by the Berbers themselves that we can trace back to antiquity. As a result, it's hard to find any direct evidence of their origin. Student: Yeah. The ancient Egyptians and Romans mentioned them a bit. I thought it was great when the graduate assistant, Raymond, recommended this topic to me. But along with the opposing theories, the main thing is that I just don't feel I will get enough material to base a paper on. Maybe I should have talked to you first, but I went ahead and wrote a totally new proposal. I hope that's okay. Professor: Yes, of course. But I wish we would've had this talk before you veered off into this new direction. You know, even though historians haven't come to a consensus, we could've worked together and I'm sure you could've written a good paper acknowledging of course that disagreements about the Berber's origin exist. Student: Oh, okay. Professor: And I also would have directed you to Anthrotopics as a place to look. Student: Anthrotopics? It rings a bell. Professor: I'm sure I mentioned it in class. It's a good website for scholarly sources on anthropological classes. Check it out. Maybe you could come back to the Berbers for your second paper. Student: Okay. I will think about it. Professor: But in the meantime, you said you have something else? Student: Yes, it's about nomadic populations and schooling in parts of Africa like how the whole issue of children attending school is being addressed in modern nomadic communities. Professor: That's certainly is a timely topic. In fact, I just read a recent study on this subject. African governments and international agencies are struggling to figure out how to deal with this issue. Student: I've brought you a copy of the proposal and this time I went ahead and did some research first so I know the material is there. It's not a historical topic. Is that a problem? Professor: Well, the assignment was to write on an anthropological problem related to an African community. The topic doesn't necessarily have to be historical.