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Sociological Perspectives on Gender and Society – SOC 228
Gender and Society – WST 218
Monday, May 24, 11:59 PM
The main goal of this exam is to demonstrate understanding of the study materials assigned in the syllabus, and the lectures explaining and discussing them.
Students will answer the following questions based solely on the materials assigned to each particular question.
External sources are not allowed. The use of Internet sources will be considered plagiarism. Students who plagiarize will get an F.
Responses should demonstrate that time has been spent reading the assigned materials, and that, as a result of that effort, a personal perspective has been developed regarding the proposed discussion topic.
Answers will be no less than 350 words. As answers need to demonstrate understanding of the assigned readings, responses should be focused and effective.
Read the questions at least three times before trying to answer them.
For questions about this exam, email the instructor. Preferably use the email address designated for this course (which you can find in the Syllabus).
Please, answer the following 5 questions:
1. Review the notion of compulsory heterosexuality. Describe three situations from daily life in which you experienced compulsory heterosexuality (or compulsory heteronormativity). In your answer, explain how exactly each example relates to Adrianne Rich’s analysis. Make the connections as explicit as possible. (100 points)
Rich, Adrienne: Compulsory Heterosexuality
Lecture Compulsory Heterosexuality, March 16
To answer this question successfully, make sure you understand the concept of compulsory heterosexuality, as explained by Adrianne Rich. The question is basically asking to first understand the concept, and then apply it to three real life situations. To get full points, answers will demonstrate a proper and in-depth understanding of the notion of compulsory heterosexuality, plus ability to apply it to real life situations.
Remember that Adrianne Rich is interested in power relations within the context of a hetero-patriarchal society (how these are produced and reproduced). Hence in her article, she approaches heterosexuality as a political institution, rather than a sexual orientation. She emphasizes heteronormativity is an institution and ideology that attempts to normalize heterosexuality as the only valid option for women. Why? Because this helps justify and perpetuate the subjugation of women by (heterosexual) men. Your challenge is to understand this connection!
Remembering the teens magazines indoctrinating girls to become a commodity for boys’ consumption, should be helpful here. Think this subjugation model assumes (and necessitates) the existence of boys and girls or, otherwise a society where heterosexual relations exist. Now think about those magazines, as a social institution (aka the media) fabricating such docile girls. Wonder: would it be possible to have a patriarchy, a power system where women are subjugated to men, without “heterosexual women” or without the institution of compulsory heterosexuality producing “heterosexual women”? Is domination possible without social mechanisms to produce subjugated subjects? Would slavery be possible without enslaved people?
In any case, remember your goal with this question is to apply the notion of compulsory heterosexuality or compulsory heteronormativity to three real life situations. Do not try to summarize Adrianne Rich’s article in your answer. Rather link each example to something she argues in the article in regards to the concept of compulsory heterosexuality. That is more than enough!
2. Describe three ways in which Sylvia Rivera’s life story challenges binary understandings of identity. Conclude by referring to the historical significance of her struggle for trans and gay rights. (100 points)
Rivera, Sylvia: Queens in Exile
Lecture Challenging the Binaries, March 23
Before answering, make sure to understand the difference between gender and sexual orientation.
Remember the announcement on April 28 includes resources for allies.
The proper pronoun to refer to Sylvia Rivera is “she” (you can also use “they” but please, strictly avoid “he”).
3. Explain how age, race, class, and sexuality intersect according to Audre Lorde. (100 points)
Lorde, Audre: Age, Race, Class, and Sex (from Sister Outsider)
Lecture Intersecting Oppressions, April 6
To answer this question, make sure to understand the concept of intersectionality (explained in the tutorial). Then read Audre Lorde and analyze her essay using the notion of intersectionality.
Quotes are highly recommended. If you use quotes, indicate the page number form where the quote was taken from, and always explain quotes using your own words (don’t leave it to the reader to guess why you are using a certain quote). Be explicit. Do not rely on extensive quotes. Balance the amount of space you use for quotes and your own critical analysis.
4. Share 3 takeaways from Sara Aurelia’s presentation. Or otherwise: what did you learn from her? (100 points)
Lecture Body Sovereignty, April 13
5. How would Silvia Federici explain the economic and environmental exploitation maquiladora women workers experience in the movie Maquilapolis? (100 points)
Federici, Sivlia: Introduction (from Caliban and the Witch)
Lecture: Women in Global Perspective, May 4
This question is asking to link a theoretical introduction to the analysis of a movie. Hence make sure to understand the introduction first. Imagine you were Silvia Federici watching the movie. Which aspects of the movie would you emphasize as proving your ideas? Note-taking is highly recommended.