Assignment: Concept Notebook


Here are the details for your concept notebook assignment. You can download this assignment here

Concept Notebook 300 points


1      Brief Introductory statement on "politics of sex"
4      Critical engagements with concepts
1      Concluding statement on notebook

Note: All parts of this concept notebook must be carefully proofread and typed in 11/12 point font and printed out in black ink. Hard copies should be handed in on the due dates listed at the end of this entry. 


1. Introduction (40 points)

You must submit a 300-400 word brief introductory statement reflecting on the meaning/purpose of critically engaging with the "politics of sex." Because this is due at the beginning of the semester, the purpose is not for you to demonstrate that you know what "politics of sex" is. Instead, this is your opportunity to begin reflecting on "politics," "sex," and the "politics of sex." Here are a few guiding questions to get you started. You don't have to answer all of them:

  • What is the "politics of sex"? 
  • What do you anticipate you'll learn/discuss in this class?
  • Why is/isn't it important to study? 
  • What is sex? 
  • What makes it political? 
  • What is "politics"?

In your statement, make sure to clearly articulate and explain your main points. You should draw upon examples (at least 2) from your own life, other classes, pop culture, and/or Straightlaced. Your writing for this statement can be somewhat informal ("I" statements are okay), but still must demonstrate a serious (deep, critical, thought-through) engagement with the meaning/purpose of "politics of sex"?

2. Critical Engagements with Concepts (4 @50 points each)

You must complete 4 critical engagements with key concepts/terms from our class. One of these engagements must be on sex/gender/desire. The other 3 will be chosen from: heteronormativity, privilege, sex, sexuality and gender (see due dates on next page). These critical engagements must include the following components:

First, a very brief (no more than 200 word) explanation of the concept/key term. Make sure to stick to 200 words or less. This will require that you spend a substantial amount of time really thinking through what the concept means and how to express that meaning succinctly and precisely.

Second, list two of our course readings that support your understanding of the concept/term. Then, briefly explain how/why each article supports your understanding. Course readings should be clearly identified and put in proper citation format (Chicago Manual of Style). See here for how to cite. 

Third, include an example (from your own experiences, an image, commercial, song, movie, news article, etc) that you feel connects to the concept/term. Provide a brief explanation of how your example fits with the concept and enables you to further explain/illustrate/engage with the concept.

3. Concluding Statement: 60 points
You must submit a concluding statement (400-500 words) on your concept engagements and their connection to your own understanding of "politics of sex." In this statement, you should explicitly discuss your concept definitions, drawing upon (and directly discussing) readings and your concept examples. You can also use this statement to reflect on the process of the class and on compiling concepts notebooks. Is this a helpful way to engage with the concepts? Did it enable you to develop a better understanding of some key terms? Did you find parts of the process especially challenging? Useful? Not useful?

You will be submitting your introduction and concepts individually for evaluation (see due dates below). Once these are all completed, you must compile them, along with your concluding statement, and organize them in a notebook. Notebooks can be 3 ring binders or folders. Make sure to clearly identify these notebooks with the following on the cover:

  • Your Name
  • Section
  • List of Concepts/terms discussed

You are encouraged to be creative with your notebooks and your presentation of concepts in individual entries.

Optional: Instead of turning in a hard copy of your notebook, you can post it on our blog (it's a great way to make your examples accessible for all of us to see!). Let me know if you are interested and we can work out the details.

Due Dates:

feb 2         Introduction
feb 14       Concept: sex/gender/desire
feb 21       Concept: heteronormativity
feb 21       Concept: privilege
feb 28       Concept: sex
march 7    Concept: sexuality
march 7    Concept: gender
march 21 Conclusion/complete notebook

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