Recently in Assignments Category

Week 15- Final Blgo Assignment

This blog post is due Friday. I'd like you to select two of the presentations we heard this week and last week and draw connections between them. How are the issues related? What insights can we gain into both of these issues by looking at them together? How does an intersectional perspective help you to see these connections?

Blog 14 Assignment

Thursday's group presentations on sexual harassment and sex trafficking addressed how race, class and gender interact to make women vulnerable to sex-based exploitation and discrimination. Both presentations also addressed the roles of education and legal reform in combating these problems, and both groups discussed the inadequacies of these efforts.

In this week's blog posts, I'd like you to again think creatively about how to address sexual harassment and human trafficking. Do you see links between these issues beyond those similarities I listed above? Are this distinct issues that should be dealt with as such, or might there be common policies and strategies that can target both problems? Should we focus on prosecuting perpetrators, assisting victims, educating target populations? I'm especially interested in what you think about local aspects of these problems, as discussed in the presentations.

Week 13 Blog Assignment

This week's readings discuss what happens when people in America don't have access to food, due to economic and geographic factors. Lack of food security is not just a contemporary problem; Thanksgiving is, after all the story of Native Americans providing food to starving British colonists. Yet, as the articles demonstrate, lack of sufficient food is now seen as a personal failing rather than a systemic problem with how we produce, procure, and prepare food.

Tisdale and LeBesco focus on the cultural origins and meanings of the foods that we eat. Fitchen and Winne, in contrast, examine the cultural priorities that contribute to hunger and insufficient access to food and the failures of current institutions to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S.

In this week's blog post, consider alternative solutions to problems of hunger. Keep in mind the intersectionality of hunger (race, gender, class, age, location) and arguments that American food culture is, in a sense, dysfunctional across classes. Do we need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger? Or would innovations to food distribution programs and food subsidies suffice? What sorts of innovations do you suggest? Are there programs with which you are familiar that you see as successfully addressing the causes and repercussions of hunger?  Be specific in your post, both in your references to the readings and in your suggestions for addressing hunger.

Blog Assignment 12

This week we begin our final unit, on food. I chose to focus on food around Thanksgiving because this holiday is, for those who observe it, almost exclusively about food (albeit with a heaping dose of football on the side). Thanksgiving is also the only American observance that traditionally incorporates ingredients native to North America: turkey, potatoes, cranberries, corn (especially corn syrup), pumpkin, pecans. Yet the ways that these foods are prepared are European in origin: potatoes with gravy, pecan pie with corn syrup in the filling, jelled cranberry sauce. Even the turducken, a recently popularized dish consisting of a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, has its roots in medieval European dishes in which a large animal was filled with increasingly smaller animals.

Sallie Tisdale discusses whether there is such a thing as American cuisine. Kathleen LeBesco analyzes the gendered and classed meanings of one American food product. Both authors address ways in which Americans mythologize "our" food culture by creating meanings for foods and resisting and changing those meanings in ways that are intimately tied to gender and class identities.

For this week's blog post, reflect on the foods that you associate with Thanksgiving. If you grew up observing Thanksgiving, write about what you usually ate, who prepared it, the stories your family had about this food. If you did not grow up observing Thanksgiving, write about what impressions of Thanksgiving you have gathered from other people's stories, books, media coverage- news, television shows, advertisements. How are race, class and gender involved in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices? Does Thanksgiving confirm or refute the arguments in Tisdale's essay that there is no American cuisine? Is there "room for resistance," in Lebesco's words, in Thanksgiving observances?

Week 11 Blog Assignment

NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, I could not get this week's blog assignment to post on Friday. Therefore, this week's blog assignment will be due by the beginning of class Thursday.

This week we examine aspects of life that can be categorized under "leisure": shopping and television. The readings address how ideologies of race, class and gender shape and constrain how we engage in leisure activities and the significance of these activities for maintaining as well as shifting those ideologies. Activities like shopping and wearing makeup are not, according to these readings, merely innocent pleasurable past-times; rather, they play important roles in maintaining gender stereotypes, racial hierarchies, and class distinctions.

In this week's blog post, I would like you to consider this notion that leisure activities play an important role in constructing and maintaining identity. Think about hobbies that you or people you know have, or activities like cooking that are work for some and leisure for others, or how you react when you feel you don't have enough leisure time. How are the ideologies of identity implicated in, challenged by, or sustained by these activities or their absence? As usual, you can write about yourself, other people, fictional characters.

Week 10 Blog Assignment

For Tuesday, we are reading pieces that discuss welfare. I put these readings in the unit on Work because the authors address the interactions between welfare and what is perceived as work in the U.S. Mink refutes the standard feminist claim that the ability to work outside of the home for pay increases women's choices and equality. Dujon, Abelda and Tilly discuss flaws in federal welfare policy that perpetuate poverty, particularly for single mothers and their children.

Welfare, as discussed in these pieces, is defined primarily as AFDC: income support for people who have no or very low earnings. yet, as Mink mentions, Survivor's Insurance (related to Social Security) is not considered welfare, and recipients are not subject to the same requirements and surveillance as recipients of AFDC. Abelda and Tilly point out that AFDC functions for recipients similarly to the function of unemployment for those who are eligible for it, yet unemployment is not considered welfare either.

The taxes that state and federal governments collect are distributed to a wide range of programs and services that benefit people who live in the U.S; some programs benefit a small number of people, while others are intended to serve the entire population. So why are some of these programs considered welfare while others are not?

In this blog post, I'd like you to consider how and why we distinguish welfare from other programs that provide public benefit. Be specific; address one or two ways in which public funding of a program or service for public benefit is or is not considered welfare. Are assumptions about race, class and gender part of the distinction between welfare and non-welfare programs? Again, be specific. You may find it helpful to refer to earlier readings that discuss how public perceptions of the responsibilities, rights and privileges of various groups are shaped by race, class and gender.

Week 9 Blog Assignment

NOTE: I will not have email access tomorrow, since i will be working inside a polling place as na election judge from 6AM-10PM.

Due to technical issues with the movie I planned to show, you will, instead watch Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles. After watching the movie, please respond to the following questions:
Were you aware of the boycott against Forever 21 before seeing the movie? If so, did this awareness impact your shopping patterns? Do you think that broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign?

The movie addresses various aspects of the campaigners' lives and identities, including place of origin, family structure, and, of course, class. Is this movie an intersectional depiction of the campaigners? Are there other aspects of their lives that you think should have been addressed?
The story of the Forever 21 campaign is told almost exclusively in the words of garment workers. Should other people's voices have been included/ Why (and whose) or why not?

Since we will not have time for extensive discussion of the movie, I encourage you to include  other relevant comments or questions about the movie in your post.

Week 8 Blog Assignment

Our readings on education- particularly those by Asher and Lomawaima- discuss aspects of education beyond curriculum, performance, and funding. These authors focus on social and cultural aspects of education that reflect and reproduce social inequalities and hierarchies of identity. As we discussed in class on Thursday, an important part of education is the socialization that occurs in schools as students are taught skills and ideologies that reflect social norms.
Asher discusses safety and bravery in the classroom, which (as we discussed) implies that the classroom can be a dangerous or risky place. Lomawaima describes students' resistance to the intense surveillance that they faced in school. In this week's blog post, I'd like you to reflect on how  race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shape or affect the interplay between danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion in schools. You may use your own educational history as the basis for this analysis, or you may use a news story about schools or a fictional work. Keep in mind from our discussion on Thursday how schools are shaped by local, state and national policies and ideologies as well as Mickelson and Smith's analysis of equality of educational opportunity.

Suggested Length: 200 words 

Readings on Title IX for Tuesday October 27

For Tuesday's class, please look at the materials on this website:

You do not have to look at every page on the site, but please read the pages under the History link and explore the rest of the site, noting pages or resources that are of particular interest, or that are in some way problematic.

Week 7 Blog Assignment

This week's readings discuss connections between race, class, gender, and location. Specifically, the authors point out ways in which our perceptions of danger are shaped by the intersections of race, class, gender and location. WIlliams' efforts to secure a mortgage were hindered by perceptions that black homeowners make neighborhoods unstable. Kenny describes how  perceptions of cities as dangerous led to the creation of suburbs, which then became culturally marked as the sources of other dangers, such as cultural isolation and familial disruption.
Kenny focuses, in this selection, on media coverage of Amy Fisher and how that coverage reflected and reinforced fears about the instability of white suburban girlhood. In this blog post, I'd like you to similarly describe an event that has received widespread media coverage locally or nationally that reflects and reinforces fears about how race, class, gender and location are tied together. Like Kenny, I'd like you to describe the narrative that grew around an individual- e.g., the Columbine shooters or the Unabomber. You may rely on your recollections of media coverage (the strength of these narratives tends to imprint them strongly in our memory) but it may be helpful look up a couple of articles or video clips regarding this event.

Week 6 Blog Assignment

This week, we conclude our unit on families. Marsha Ritzendorf critiques government regulation of what counts as a family, as do  Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs. All of these  authors are critical of how government definition and regulation of family impact people who do not fit the perceived norm of a white nuclear two-parent family, and the authors tie these critiques to broader discourses and ideologies of race, class, and gender.

In light of this range of criticisms of governmental intervention in the formation and operation of families, what would you say to legislators if you were asked to advise them on future government regulation of families? What aspects of family composition and operation do you think that the government ought to regulate? What should be left to individuals, outside the realm of government regulation? Use the readings listed above as starting points for your advice, either agreeing or disagreeing with the authors' specific points of criticism, but feel free to address other areas of government regulation as well.

Suggested length: 200 words(+)

Week 5 Blog

Note: The Robertson article is lengthy, so please carefully read the beginning- pp. 199-205; pp 215-224; and the conclusion, pp 228-30. Skim the rest as you have time.

This week, we begin our examination of families with two readings on the history of marriage in the U.S. and one on being a wife in the 1970s. Robertson focuses on the moral aspects of marriage, Chauncey on marriage as an economic relationship, and Syfers on marital roles.

We live in a society that is fascinated by marriage and almost obsessed with weddings. Reality shows feature "bridezillas" who fanatically plan every detail of their "special day"; paparazzi are paid big bucks for sneaked photos of celebrity weddings. Wedding fairs, magazines, and stores abound. Photographs and video of the first same-sex couples marrying in various states are gushed over by sympathic news anchors.

In this week's blog post, I'd like you to imagine a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspect of weddings. What about weddings might be interesting to study from an intersectional persepctive, and why? What kinds of sources would you use and/or what research might you conduct?  What sorts of identities would you foreground in your research? Keep in mind the facets of marriage that are discussed in this week's readings as you formulate this mock research project, but be creative, and do not feel compelled to address something as broad as these readings do.

As you start developing your midterm paper topics, I hope that this assignment will help you to think about the process of developing a paper topic, picking a focus, selecting sources, and utilizing an intersectional framework.

Midterm Paper Writing Tips

If you are looking for guidance on writing an argumentative paper, I suggest that you check out the resources at "The OWL at Purdue." If you are still unclear on how to write an argumentative paper, consider scheduling an appointment with Student Writing Support.

Week 4 Blog Assignment

Note: This week's readings were handed out in class, but copies are also available in the GWSS office, Ford 425, and on the course website. If you get the readings off of the website, please note that you only need to read pages 359-60 and 364-70 of the Oullette. If you got the handout in class and want to read the entire Oullette article, you can find it on the course website.

The three articles that we will discuss on Tuesday address class from three perspectives. Susan Ostrander tells us how upper-class women define their own upper-class identity. Laurie Oullette explores how Helen Gurley Brown's "Cosmo Girl" discourse suggests that class identity "could always be reworked, improved upon, and even dramatically changed" (366). And Mary Patill-McCoy argues that understanding class requires attention to more than just economic status.
Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy both conducted studies of the populations that they write about, whereas Oullette bases her argument on books, magazines, and other media. In your blog entry, I'd like you to explore the differences between these methodological approaches. Do you find one to be more successful than the other? Why? Why do you think the authors used these different research methods? Are there gaps in their arguments that result from their choice of method?  Be specific; use examples from the articles to support your answer. Feel free to draw on other readings from the class that offer other methodologies as well.

Length: approx. 150 words

Midterm Paper

The handout that I distributed on 9/24 explaining the midterm paper and introducing the final project is now on the course website. I have also created a new category, "group project," in which you can post ideas for topics that you would like to address in your final projects and start putting together your project groups.

Week 3 Blog Assignment

This week we start to look at identity: how identities are constituted, how they operate, and how identity and oppression interact. Linda Alcoff says that "[i]dentities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events and social structures."  Patricia Hill Collins addresses how Black feminists in particular "possess a unique standpoint... or perspective" due to the "historical and material conditions shaping [their] lives." 

In this week's blog post, I would like you to explore what Alcoff and Collins mean by historical and material conditions and social structures by providing an illustrative example of how these factors contribute to the formation of identity and standpoint. The examples can be from your own life, from literature or film, or drawn from your studies.  

For example, in Star Wars, dichotomous thinking meant that one must either be a Jedi, unambiguously loyal to the "good' side of the force, or go over to the "Dark Side,' like the Sith. The Jedi had considerable power, as demonstrated by the institutions that they created- a governing Council, a training academy, and an organized military force. Anakin sought to escape from the slavery and poverty in which he was raised (material conditions), and the hegemony of Jedi ideology attempted to shape him into a Jedi. However, the inability of dichotomous either/or thinking to account for the multiple identity categories in which Anakin found himself (Jedi, child of a slave, etc) led Anakin to resist the totalizing Jedi identity by searching for his mother and  falling in love. The standpoint from which he viewed the Jedi identity was thus shaped by his experiences with material conditions and social structures.

It may be helpful to refer to some of the definitions that we went over during the first week of class, particularly the definitions of ideology, institution, and system, when thinking of an example.Your example may address either an individual's identity or a larger group identity.

Suggested Length: 200 words

Week 2 Blog Assignment

This week's readings show us what intersectional analysis looks like in different disciplines: history, education, anthropology, law, and biology. In light of Thursday's discussion and keeping in mind the terminology that we defined in class, do you find some authors' analyses more successful than others? Why (or why not)?  Think about your own major and/or minor field(s) (or if you are undeclared, an area in which you  have taken several courses). Have you encountered intersectional thinking in this area? If so, describe; if not, why do you think this approach is not utilized?

Please post your response by 2:30 Tuesday, but feel free to add comments after you finish the readings for Thursday's class. Your response should be 175-225 words.


Welcome to GWSS 3002 Gender, Race and Class: Women's Lives in the United States. Please introduce yourself to the class: where are you from, what's your major, have you taken other Women's Studies courses? Is there anything else that you would like to tell us?

Please select the category "Blog Assignment 1" for this post.
See you Thursday!