Questions and Presenters for each reading assignment:

Sociology 46N, Spring, 2014





Week 1:


Apr 1

Introduction to the class

Apr 3

Symbolic Ethnicity (by Gans)

* What is the third generation return?

* What is straight- line assimilation?

* What do the critics of straight- line assimilation argue?

* What does Gans say about apparent ethnic revivals?

* How does Gans characterize symbolic ethnicity, and what is it contrasted (explicitly or implicitly) against?





Week 2:


Apr 8

Imagined Communities Ch 1-4

*What are Anderson's 3 Paradoxes of Nationalism?

*What do the paradoxes mean, and what kind of evidence can you provide for or against them?

*What kinds of social organization predated the Nation?

*What is the role of language in the creation of the Nation?



Apr 10

Imagined Communities Ch 5, 6

*What role do writers, historians, publishers, and the bourgeoisie play in the creation of the nation?

*Why did Russia try to unify its empire with language?  Why did the English language not unify the English empire into a single nation (i.e. why did the people of the colonies never escape their colonial status)?





Week 3:


Apr 15

Imagined Communities finish the book

*What role does imitation play in the spread of nationalism? 

*What role do the census, the map, the historical map, and the museum play in the creation and legitimation of new nations?



Apr 17

How the Irish Became White, Introduction + Chapter 1

* Why does O'Connell oppose slavery, and why do the Irish in the U.S. support it?

* How does Ignatiev view the biological basis of race?

* If race has no biological basis, then what is it based upon?

* How is it possible for a people to 'become' White?





Week 4:


Apr 22

 How the Irish, Chapters 2, 3, and 4

*What is the evidence that Ignatiev cites for the Irish not being 'white' in the U.S. to begin with.  Do you find the evidence convincing, and Why?

*What role does the Democratic Party play in making the Irish White?


Presenter: Bang

Apr 24

How the Irish, finish the book

*How does Ignatiev describe the American city at mid 19th century?

*What is the role of riots, and of city political patronage, in the transformation of the Irish?





Week 5:


Apr 29

Who is Black? Ch 1-5

*What is the One Drop Rule?

*How was the Rule created and enforced?

*What kinds of arrangements predated the Rule?

*What have been the social consequences of the Rule?

*What kind of rules for racial identification of so- called mixed race persons prevail in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Spanish Latin America, Hawaii, and for Amerasians in Korea and Vietnam?

*What is the significance of these rules and how did they come about?


Presenter: Savannah

May 1

Who is Black? Finish the book

*Why do Blacks in the U.S. accept the one drop rule?

*What are the dynamics of color within the 'Black' community?

*What do these dynamics reveal about the acceptance of, and the ambiguity of, the 'one-drop rule'?






Week 6:


May 6

Why Are All the Black Kids... Chapters 1-4

* How does Tatum define active racism, passive racism, and anti-racism, and how prevalent does she think each is?

* In Tatum’s view, are African Americans in the US capable of racism?

* Why are some aspects of identity (whiteness, maleness, Christianity, heterosexuality, being able-bodied) apparently invisible?

* In what sense is identity in general and racial identity in particular formed in interactions with others? What are the developmental stages of identity formation?

* In what sense can desegregation of the schools, and attending mostly white schools be negative for black students?



Presenter: Rochelle

May 8

Why Are All the Black Kids... Chapters 5-8

* Why in Tatum’s view, do the black kids sit together in the cafeteria? What are the benefits of social segregation?

* Does Tatum hold a separatist view of black identity?

* What is Tatum’s view of affirmative action, and why does Tatum think whites and blacks hold such divergent views on affirmative action?


Presenter: Mai Ka



Week 7:


May 13

Carnal Knowledge (by Stoler)


* What are the various relationships between sexuality, male privilege, and imperial power?

* Why do the colonial authorities fear the offspring of the colonizers and their concubines?



May 15

 Passing, and the Managed Achievement of Sex Status, (By Garfinkel)


* Why is passing dangerous and risky?

* Before the operation, what are the situations that Agnes must avoid in order to avoid discovery, exposure and humiliation?

* In what sense do the surgeons restore Agnes' natural gender?  In what sense do the surgeons erase and destroy her natural gender?

* How does Agnes learn to be a woman? And what does womanhood entail?

* What does passing have to do with everyday life?


Presenter: Sarah



Week 8:


May 20

The Mismeasure of Man Chapter 2 (on craniometry)


* Why did scholars of the 18th and 19th century attempt to find evidence for inherent differences in racial biology?

* What was the theory of Agassiz based on, and what did it imply, and how was it eventually discredited?

* What were the scientific claims of Morton, how did he arrive at those claims.  What are the true determinants of skull size?  What do Gould's revisions of Morton's data show?

* What was Morton's social prestige and occupational standing during his life?  What accounts for Morton's stature?



May 22

The Mismeasure of Man Chapter 5 (On IQ), plus P. 264-269 on Cyril Burt


* How was the intention of Binet different from Goddard and Stanford's Terman and Yerkes who adapted his test in the U.S.?

* What is the difference between heritability and inevitability?

* What is the difference between within-group and between-group heredity, and what is the implication (explain the human height example).

* What are Goddard's results of IQ tests of immigrants?    What does Gould allege Goddard to have done with the pictures of the Kallikaks?

* What was Terman's financial interest in IQ testing? How do Terman and his colleagues infer the mental capacity of those who have died?

* What is the significance of zero values on the intelligence tests in Gould's view, and how did the zero values influence results and policy?

* What did Cyril Burt claim to demonstrate, and what have later researchers discovered about Mr. Burt?





Week 9:


May 27

Additional Readings from the Gender/Sexuality reader:


“Victorian Clitoridectomy”, chapter 22, by Sheehan


May 29

Additional Readings from the Gender/Sexuality reader:


“Negotiating Sex and Gender”, chapter 29, by Vance



Week 10:


June 3

No assignment, last class