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A conversation between a professor and a student discussing a possibility

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Narrator
Listen to a conversation between a professor and a student discussing a possibility.

Student: Dr Isaacs?

Professor: Yes. Can I help you?

S: I'm Louise Newman. I made an appointment to see you at two? I'm sorry- I'm a few minutes early....

P: Ah, yes. Newman. That's fine. Come in. Sit down.

S: Thank you, sir.

P: Now- what can I do for you, Newman?

S: Well, uh...I was wondering if it would be possible for me to audit your Advanced Communications course, um, COM 410, next term?

P: Hmm. I don't generally like students auditing my classes. Why can't you enroll in it?

S: Because I don't have the prerequisites, Doctor.

P: Neither 310 nor 312?

S: I'm afraid not. You see, I'm not in a liberal arts program at all. I'm getting my master's in Zoology.

P: Zoology? Huh! Why are you interested in my course, then? It's a sociology course. We deal with the, um, phenomena of international communications.

S: Yes, I understand that, sir. But you see, my thesis is concerned with inter-species interactions. I'm working with Doctor Schmidt and his orangutan project. He's been working on, uh, orangutan - human communications, but my own project is orang interactions with, with other primate species.

P: Sounds interesting. What species?

S: Well, right now, I'm just looking at the, uh, potential for interactions between several different primates. Besides Dr Schmidt's orangs, the Primate Lab is keeping some chimpanzees and gibbons, and several New World monkey species. At the moment, I'm trying to find out which might offer the, you know, richest activities for examination.

P: And how do you suppose my Advanced Communications would be of value to you?

S: To be honest, Doctor Isaacs, I'm not sure. I'm hoping it will come to me during the term. At the moment, I just have a, a feeling that there's going to be some parallels between human intercultural interactions and primate interspecific interactions- and that looking at cultural, um, frictions may supply clues to what I see in my research. And, uh, vice versa, of course!

P: I see. Well then, why can't you enroll in 310 or 312 this next term? And then take 410 after that?

S: Unfortunately, I don't have any classes after this term, Professor. My final six to eight months needs to be spent on active research and my thesis preparation, and then on my orals.

P: Hmm. You're not making it very easy for me, you know, Newman.

S: I'm sorry, Professor. But I am really eager to sit in on your classes. I've heard a good deal about them.

P: Good things, I hope.

S: Oh yes sir!

P: (laughs) Well, have you taken any sociology-related courses at all?

S: Hmm. Well, uh, I've had the usual ethology classes- animal behavior classes- in the Department of Zoology, of course. And when I was a sophomore, I took World Social Systems- you know, capitalism versus communism?- which is a required undergrad course. Oh, and I took a cultural awareness course as an elective- Views of Existence, I think it's called. I found that very interesting.

P: Yes, that's Sociology 242. Who taught that, do you remember?

S: Um... Oh, yes- Doctor Wright. He was good.

P: Ah! Josh White- yes, he's a good man. What was your grade in 242?

S: Oh, I got an A. I really enjoyed that subject, and Doctor Wright's a very engaging speaker.

P: (laughs) Yes, he is, isn't he? Let me ask you a question. Can you define "habitus"?

S: "Habitus"? Uh...yes, I think so. Isn't it a word referring to the common, daily, habitual practices and assumptions that we have within a given, uh, social environment? People are at the same time the, um, creators of and the, uh, product of their habitus, I think.

P: Yes- that's very accurate! Well, Newman, you seem to have some familiarity with this field, and I'm certainly intrigued with how you hope to, um, apply what you may learn. I like "thinking outside of the box" very much, and you seem to be doing that. You'll be able to attend all of the classes, I presume?

S: Yes, I'm sure I can. Uh- they're Thursday mornings, right? At nine thirty?

P: Yes, that's right. And you're welcome to join in any of the questions or discussions. You won't be taking the final exam and you won't be getting any credit hours- I hope that's clear.

S: Yes, of course, Professor.

P: And you can try your hand at my little pop quizzes if you like- I'll grade them for you. One of my small pleasures in life is seeing how poorly my students understand my quiz questions. (laughs)

S: Oh. (laughs) Forewarned is forearmed, I guess. So I can really audit 410?

P: Yes, that will be fine. If you have any further questions, please feel free to come back and see me.

S: Thank you very much, Professor Isaacs. I really appreciate this. It is very important to me.

P: My pleasure, Newman. And I would like to hear how your research is going. Have a good day.

S: Yes sir, of course. Thank you.

1

What is the topic of this conversation?

2

What is Dr Schmidt researching?

3

Who is Josh White?

Listen again to part of the passage and answer the following question.

4

Why does the professor say this: "You're not making it very easy for me, you know, Newman"?

5

What will the student be unable to do?

 

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