Select ONE of the following topics/questions and write ONE essay of no more
than 1600 words in response. Limit the use of sources other than required, recommended and optional readings, and make sure that you properly cite those sources.
1. Present and critically evaluate Gilman’s views on the “sexuo-economic relation”
between males and females, in human societies in general, and her own society in
particular. Be sure to present and address her argument as to the rationale for
instituting and perpetuating excessive (or ‘unnatural’) “sex-distinction”. Is
(excessive) differentiation of individuals and their activities, thoughts, attitudes etc by
sex a/the cause of inequality and oppression based on sex-category? Is it a/the effect
of the latter? Both? Discuss.
2. Compare and contrast Gilman and (Marx and) Engels on the causes/bases and
mechanisms of gendered inequality and oppression.
3. Compare and contrast Mead’s conception of the relationship between the individual
and society to that of at least ONE other theorist we have covered in this class.
4. How does Mead define self-consciousness? What role does language play in the
development of self-consciousness? What roles do language and self-consciousness
play in social interaction (and vice-versa)? Support your answers drawing from the
excerpts from Mead’s work in STCE, the discussion offered by Edles and Applerouth
in STCE, and/or the recommended/optional relevant readings through the course
5. Discuss Du Bois’s concepts of the color line, the veil, and double consciousness,
using concrete examples. What substantive/practical and theoretical issues does Du
Bois’s use or application of these concepts raise, and help him (and us) address?
6. Discuss the implications of color/race and sex/gender differentiation and inequality
(as discussed and theorized by Du Bois and Gilman) for Mead’s theory of
communication and resulting vision of a universal society, and vice-versa (pay
particular attention to Mead’s discussion of the limits to individuals taking the attitude of others whom they are affecting, STCE: 436-437).
7. iscuss the implications of Du Bois’ descriptions and analyses of the historical
intersection of ‘race’ and ‘class’ in U.S. society (and beyond) for the current situation
in U.S. society. Are the increased presence (and visibility, even celebration) of non-
White (non-heterosexual, non-Protestant Christian) people in the middle and upper
echelons of the various institutions of economic, political and socio-cultural power
and influence, and the perennial presence (and new visibility) of White (heterosexual,
Protestant Christian) people in the lower echelons of the same institutions, a sign or
‘proof’ that race is of decreasing significance in determining the life-chances and
well-being of people in our society? Discuss.
8. Consider the implications of the ‘debate’ and conflict between the stances/responses
to mainstream U.S. society and culture represented by Booker T. Washington and
W.E.B. Du Bois on the part of oppressed, discriminated against, and/or excluded
individuals and groups for today’s U.S. society (and beyond). Is the incrementalist
and accomodationist strategy/stance preferable over the principled and unyielding
strategy/stance? Is so, under what circumstances and conditions? Discuss
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