INTRO TO ETHNIC STUDIES Fall 2020 50 points*
Read these instructions carefully and ask any clarifying questions you may have PRIOR to the
DUE via Canvas Upload Monday, October 19 (by 11:59 pm)
Part I of our course offered a sampling of seminal Ethnic Studies discourse intended to give a toolbox of
analysis for understanding the social dynamics race and racism historically and theoretically. The
theories and concepts we have studied can be applied to better understand the way in which the
complex landscape of race discriminates, Others, and oppresses people socially and politically. For this
assignment I want you to analyze an aspect of your social context (personal or within our contemporary
political context) using some of the sophisticated ideas we engaged in Part I of the course.
If you decide to approach the assignment on a personal level, begin by asking yourself the way in which
these concepts might be useful to understand your racialized or non-racialized experience (focus in on
one or two moments that a relevant our historical and theoretical discussions) in a particular moment in
your life. Questions that can yield a productive thesis for this option are:
In which way has the veil or double-consciousness played in your life?
Can you illustrate a moment when the duality Du Bois describes became evident to you?
What did this realization tell you about your own place in the hierarchy or race we live in?
The same kind of interrogation can be done with the other concepts we have studied up to this point,
including “intersectionality,” “white privilege,” and color-blindness.
What box do you check in the census and why?
Has engaging racial formation theory made you re-think the ethnic and racial categories you identify
How does hegemony and the understanding of racial hegemony complicated these choices?
To what extent do you think “white privilege” and “color blindness” been factors in your own social
10/18/2020 Thinkpiece 1
Have you been impacted directly or indirectly by these dynamics? Explain.
Are they factors that help or hinder your social development and why?
Alternatively, if you decide to analyze an external aspect of the current socio-political context, please
ground your analysis by citing an article (news outlet, magazine, or journal) discussing the issue. Our
contemporary context, for better or worse, is over-represented with issues that can better understood
through these concepts. Issues on immigration, police brutality, health inequities through the COVID-19
crisis, housing in the midst of COVID-19, fears around voter suppression, affirmative action, etc., all can
be analyzed through these concepts. You will need to some research and identify a story (from a reliable
news source) to then apply a conceptual and theoretical ground through which to better understand what
is at stake in that story.
This short essay is an exercise in positionality and/or theoretical understanding. Through it you will have
the opportunity to highlight and explore aspects of yourself as they relate to the broader themes of this
course or critical explore how our sociopolitical context is currently grappling with issues of race and
racism. Ground your essay in one or more of the paired themes below we have explored to date:
The veil & Double-consciousness
Racial Formation theory & Hegemony
Interlocking system of oppression & Intersectionality
White privilege & Color blindness
*You must engage at least two of the following sets of concepts/readings in your essay. Introduce the
concepts formally by telling me whose idea your engaging and defining it in your own words.
Your essay must be at least 3-4 pages (typewritten, double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, 1”
margins, following MLA format), with references and quotations properly attributed. Evidence of
academic dishonesty on this essay will result in an automatic 0. If in doubt, summarize, paraphrase, and
cite. In your essay be sure to state an argument or thesis and provide supporting details that draw from
the class discussions, readings, and supplementary materials from the course. This is not a research
paper. With the exception of the news source or media source for analysis of contemporary
context, only use assigned and recommended readings from the course.
Late assignments will be taken at 10% off if received within one week of the posted deadline, and at 50%
during the following week. Work not received more than two weeks after its deadline will be considered
missing and receive no credit. You must upload a copy of your essay to Canvas AND submit a hard copy
for me to grade. I will only grade the hard copy after you have uploaded your essay to Canvas. Do not
email me your essay
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