SBS 301 Cultural Diversity/Prof. Koptiuch


Think of this five-part project as a kind of archaeological fieldwork conducted in "the field" of your memory. You will receive instructions for only one part of the assignment at a time, so what comes next will be a surprise!

(only the first assignment is here on the web--the rest will be given out in class)

The purpose is not to test you on your memory or pry into your personal life, but to highlight the relevance of a critical understanding of cultural diversity and difference to your own experience. The point is to carefully consider an episode from your own everyday life in a manner similar to the way an ethnographer, through participant-observation, would "read" or interpret the everyday world of others. In this case, you are the ethnographer and you are the Other.

Remember, write clearly, concisely, imaginatively

Your life isn't boring--don't let your writing be boring!

Papers will be critiqued for spelling (use that spell-check!), grammar, rhetorical style, narrative structure, argument, persuasiveness, voice, etc. Think speculatively, write with care. PROOF READ BEFORE TURNING IN!!

Note: at the end of the project, we will post everyone’s final writing (PME #5) on an internet web page for the course. You may wish to keep this in mind as you imagine an audience for your piece, and develop a "voice" directed towards that audience. Or if you wish, you may define the particular audience for whom you write your piece.

PLEASE TYPE (double spaced)

PME #1. FIRST-PERSON PREWRITE (2 pages only) Describe briefly and concisely an outstanding incident from your own past experience which prompted you to realize your own "difference" from others (or other people’s difference from you). Stick to one of the key socially constructed differences we target in this course, defined by the "borderlands" of race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and/or (trans)nation. Choose an incident in which you were a participant (i.e. not just something you heard or read about). Describe it as best you remember it, sticking to the concrete, specific event (you can dwell on more or the details or repercussions in a later PME). Try to pick a specific incident that still remains emotionally important to you for whatever reason (eye-opener, painful, enigma, anger, discovery, pleasure, conflict, recognition of inequality, discrimination, or privilege, etc.). You should write this piece in first-person (i.e. I remember, I did, I felt...).

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