Assignments

Format: one page (minimum), 12pt Times New Roman, 1.5 spaced, one-inch margins, name and date listed in the Header. ALWAYS list your sources!!

Hegemony Assignment: Using what you have learned about Culture, analyze the ‘Fair & Lovely’ commercial advertisement posted on the website. Answer the questions: Imagine that you are an eight year old girl watching television in a small village in Southern India and Fair & Lovely commercials air several times during the program you are watching. What cultural ideas and values are implicitly or explicitly expressed by these commercials? Whose values are they and where did they come from? What type of conclusions would you draw based on your repeated observations of this commercial? How can these hegemonic ideas be used to justify social inequality?  Can you think of hegemonic ideas, norms and values that are pervasive within your own culture? (For more information on ways to analyze advertisements, see Simpson & Mayr p.34-37 and 140-142)

Language Assignment: Consider the significance of language in culture and society. Using what you have learned about language, consider the cultural significance of American Sign Language (ASL) and/or Black English Vernacular (BEV). What are the implications of analogous sign languages such as cued speech and Signed English or Standard English programs in public schools? Would you consider the cochlear implant, training in ‘proper’ English, or English-only policies a type of symbolic domination by those in power or a means of empowering  marginalized people by increasing access to a type of symbolic capital? There are no right or wrong answers, yet it is important to explain the reasoning for your perspective.

Orientalism Assignment: Edward Said defined ‘Orientalism’ as prejudiced outsider interpretations that are shaped by the attitudes of imperialists that serve to justify occupation and exploitation. Use what you have learned in class and in the readings to produce a one-page analysis of an imperialist representation (cartography, literature, film, etc). Who produced the representation and in what historical context? What meanings are conveyed to the viewer? What effects have been and continue to be generated by the representation? Bring a copy of the image to class and be prepared to discuss.

Stereotypes Assignment: Identify and describe a popular stereotype that operates in society today. Use the information on the course website and the readings to analyze the role and function of that stereotype in society. What are the socio-historical circumstances and essentialisms that contribute to the development of that stereotype? Who benefits from the stereotype, who is affected by it and in what ways? What type of solutions would you recommend to raise public awareness about the causes and consequences of that stereotype?

Gender Assignment: Research and write a ½ page description of a ‘third gender’ category and a ½ page description of a type of intersexuality. Be prepared to present and discuss in class.

Race Assignment: Prior to reading the literature on Race on the course website and in the text book, write a minimum  ½ page essay on your ideas about race and include the following: How do you define ‘race’? What type of racial groups exist, and how do you differentiate one racial group from another? Is race important? If so, why? Be honest about your opinions and ideas and do not worry about being judged. After you finish the readings, answer the same questions in a ½ page essay and address the ways that your previous answers and ideas have changed or stayed the same.

Anti-Development Assignment: Research and describe a contemporary resistance movement. What were the social and historical circumstances that gave rise to the movement? What structural circumstances does the movement aim to change? Is it a reform or revolutionary movement? What type of tactics and strategies do the movement leaders and participants employ?

TEK & GLP Assignment: Consider the relationship between power and knowledge, and contemplate the importance of traditional ecological knowledge in bio-cultural conservation. What is your perspective on the implications of global literacy programs for rural people living in peripheral areas? Do they empower people and increase opportunities or do they enforce a hegemonic knowledge system? If you worked for an international agency tackling this problem, what type of recommendations would you provide to design a program that would empower women through education while conserving traditional ecological knowledge systems? Use the material in the course website and the readings to support your argument.  

Restorative Justice Assignment: Locate a news article that addresses a specific conflict; it does not matter if it is a small-scale dispute between two parties or a large-scale dispute between large groups. Use the material presented in the website and the readings to make your case for devising a meaningful way to achieve a resolution to the dispute. Would you recommend a punitive approach that will enact a penalty on those that infringe or would you implement a means of seeking restorative justice through a community-based system of conflict resolution? Be sure to include a link to the article for in-class discussion.

International Food & Music Festival (+ additional extra credit): Prepare and bring an international dish to share with your classmates and create a playlist of music that originated from the same region or cultural group. Bring a copy of the recipe to share with your classmates and provide a link to songs. Be prepared to introduce the food and music to the class.