SAMPLE Midterm Exam




The midterm exam will include material from weeks 1-7 of the semester; from lectures, the assigned readings, and the films, There will be 55 multiple choice questions (I've deleted the short answer questions, or turned them into multiple choice) and one essay question.   Here is a sample.


MULTIPLE CHOICE   1 point each   (please place letter to the left of the question number, not to the right of the question)


1. Chili Peppers were domesticated in   a) China   b) Africa   c)  Australia   d)  Southeast Asia  e) Mesoamerica


2.  Horsemeat has never really been eaten in France since 1450.    a) True   b) False   c) More or less correct   d) the statement is too ambiguous to answer.


3.  The human body needs argonium for healthy development.    a)  yes    b)  no     c) only children under 7 need argonium.


4.  As omnivores, humans can readily digest the cellulose found in most plant leaves.   a)  true   b)  false   c) the second part is true, but humans are not omnivores.  


5.   Some evidence suggests that humans spent thousands of years or more  in or near the ocean after coming down from the trees and before moving to savannah life.   This evidence includes a) liver capable of synthesizing dopamines   b) lungs capable of staying underwater for up to 3 minutes  c) arms that have vestigial gillflaps  d) fingernails adapted for opening shellfish   e) eyelids that are cover the whole eyeball  f)  b & e 


6.  When the lecturer spoke of the importance of maize in Mesoamerica, he suggested that images of early Mesoamericans show rulers wearing food on their   a)  feet   b) head   c) wrists  d) shoulders


7.  In the Trobriand Islands a man is responsible for supplying yams to the family of his   a) mother   b) spouse  c) sister   d) brother   e)  a and b  


8.   The practice of eating clay earth (kaolinite) is apparently related to   a) neutralizing excess acid   b)  absorbing poisons  c)  providing missing minerals   d)  a & b    e)  a, b & c   f) a & c


9.   According to Nabhan, the number one cause of death in the western world is  a) terrorism   b)  cancer   c) heart disease   d)  automobile accidents   e)  malaria   f) old age    g) stupidity


10.  Who contributes more to the family's caloric intake in most societies;   a)  men   b)  women  c) children


11.  Chimpanzees are known on occasion to stalk and kill and eat    a) condors   b) monkeys  c) deer   d) llamas


12.  Vitamins A, D, E, and K are the  a) "heavy" vitamins   b)  "fat soluble vitamins"  c) "protein rich" vitamins   d) "protective" vitamins   e) .  


13.  The main theme of the film “The Hunting Ape” is:  a) to show the distinction between diet and cuisine   b) to give evidence that human ancestors were cannibals  c)  to illustrate that a change in diet led to a change in social behavior in human history d) to argue that an aquatic ape never existed   e) to exemplify the proposition that hunting and gathering provide a better yield of quality food than agriculture.


14.  Alcohol has been linked definitively to  a) morphogenic syntosis  b) getting drunk   c) AIDS    d)  Infectious hepatitis    e) bicycle riding   f)  b & c    g)  a & b


15.  The pod in the pickup truck that convicted a murderer in Phoenix was from the edible:  a) mesquite  b) palo verde  c) cedar  d) oak


16.  Expeditions from Europe were sent to seek cloves in part because it was believed this spice was:  a) able to turn metal into gold  b)  an antidote for the plague in Europe  c) used in French cooking   d) better than garlic


17.  Rejecting offered food is generally a sign of   a) hunger   b) embarrassment   c) hostility     


18.  Gary Nabhan asserts that a particular kind of oil or fat ingested at meals produces a) the same kind of response among different ethnic populations   b)  different responses among different ethnic populations  c) an array of postprandial practices, including multiple alleles.


19.  In Japan, if you eat an improperly prepared fugu fish, you won't die, but you can get very sick.    a)  true   b)  false


20.  Some animals eat bamboo almost exclusively despite its high silica content, including the

a) bamboo rabbit   b)  panda   c)  bamboo lemur   d)   hyrax    e)  bamboo muskrat   f)  d & e  

g)  b & c


21.  "Tasters" have far fewer fungiform papillae on their tongues than do "non-tasters."   a) false   b) true


22.  What kind of figure of speech is it when one says that someone else is a nut     a) synecdoche   b) metonym   c)  alliteration   d)  metaphor   e) simile


23.  In Mexico most foods are categorized in such a way that balancing the one with the other is seen as important to health.   The usual categories are :  a) strong and weak   b) hot and cold   c) wet and dry   d) raw and cooked   e) green and ripe   f) fried and baked


24.  When on the Day of the Dead, Mexicans eat a ritual meal in the cemetery, they are most likely to be enacting a form of   a) self punishment   b) rejoicing   c)  communion   d)  self parody   e) displacement    f)  gift giving


25.  The five main types of maize include   a)   farmer,  flint,  elemental , sweet, grover,   

b)   pop,  carpal,  flour, crested,  yellow    c)  flint, dent,   flour,   sweet, pop     d)  white, variegated,  yellow,  crested, dent    e)  sweet, pop,  dent,  yellow,  flour   



(there are 55 such multiple choice questions – on lectures, films, texts, and syllabus)




SHORT ESSAY   Pick one of the following (please don't spend more than half an hour on this question, unless you really want to.)   5 points


1.  What does the quotation "The stomach is the center and origin of civilization"  mean to you?


2.  How do you think food practices reflect the social organization of a society?   Give examples from one or more societies.


3.  What distinction do you make between diet and cuisine?   Which is more important in understanding the worldview of a people?   Speculate on how dietary taboos and preferences relate to this question?


4.  Present Harris'  argument explaining "meat hunger" in Poland, at least in outline form.   Were you persuaded?  Why or why not?


5. Discuss the importance of maize in some cultures.  Use examples of other foods we discussed or watched in class that are equally important in other cultures and tell what this says about food and culture.


6.  In class we saw two films back-to-back; one on cannibalism and another on food taboos.  Discuss these two films and show how they are related and what kind of insight they offer anthropologists on human culture and society.