You are encouraged to take an artistic/expressive approach and use a variety of mediums: music, visuals (collage, photography), etc. For example, share with us two of your favorite songs, poems, images (copy and paste lyrics, verse, pictures, paintings) and write 1 page of commentary about how they express an important perspective upon social problems.
The goal of this exercise is to facilitate your internal connections between “what is” (as observed via sociology) and your perceptions of “what could be” or “what should be.” If this class seems only to exacerbate this disjuncture, then artistically express your emotional/intellectual frustration. It is important to be as honest as possible on this assignment. Students are to be nonjudgmental about what is presented and it will be graded on a credit/no credit basis based on participation (as opposed to evaluation of the content). Please keep the presentation to ten minutes maximum.
A. Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Class and Family
This problem focuses on the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and nationality in the way the United States views multiple births. Explain the relevance of the following quote: “…on a certain November Day an obscure woman in Iowa gives birth to seven babies; we marvel and rejoice. On the same day an obscure woman in Nigeria gives birth to her seventh child in a row; we are distressed and appalled” (Zwingle 1998, 38). Why might reactions to these two events be so different? In order to answer this question, compare newspaper reports of multiple births by reviewing the way in which the characteristics of the parents are closely scrutinized by the public, the medical establishment, and the media, in general, in its reporting of such events.
B. The family — What accounts for its (in)stability?
This problem focuses on the family and the debate surrounding its stability. Some scholars and politicians argue that “stable families are the bedrock of stable communities.” Others argue that “stable communities and economies are the bedrock of stable families.” Which of these two positions would you take and why? Remember to support your position by using the appropriate readings and theoretical approaches, regardless of which position you support.