With everything we've discussed in class about communications--from senders to receivers to feedback to subject matter for speeches to oral and written critiques--what is the best way to learn about something you don't know, or even dislike? And how does one communicate this effectively, intelligently, respectfully and thoughtfully?
Perhaps Googling something you don't know about comes to mind, or typing it in at Wikipedia. But let's move beyond a cyberspacial understanding to literally walking in someone else's shoes--I call it embodying and inhabiting the subject. Sociologists and ethnographers think about subjects this way, as do anthropologists, marketing gurus, and even some historians.
So, what does it look like if one walk's in the shoes of someone else--literally?
Meet A.J. Jacobs. (Check out his blog here.) He's a journalist, an author, an innovator, and ultimately a COMMUNICATOR--I call him a journalistic sociologist. He applies himself to his craft in inventive, interesting ways.
A recent project of his involved taking the moral imperatives and prescriptions for living from Bible literally. The result is a book titled The Year of Living Biblically. Read and listen to an excerpt here. Read a review of the book here. Listen to an interview, too.
As you listen and you read think about this experiment in terms of what you can learn about communications from it.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What, if anything, about Jacobs's background led to his experiment? Why did he want to conduct such an experiment? To what extent did Jacobs live in the shoes of those in the Bible who preceded him? What did he learn? What was most transformative, interesting, and/or challenging? How did people respond to Jacobs? If you could ask Jacobs a question (besides "Why?"), what would you ask him? Why?
Could you ever see yourself conducting this kind of experiment? If so, what subject would you embody and/or inhabit? Why or why not? By what means would you communicate knowledge of your subject? Why?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section (post before 8:30am 6/24/08).