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Archetypes of Women in Cameroon Question
1. Upon approval of the topic from the professor (via an in-person meeting or concise email), students will write a 2500-word library research paper. (My research paper will be on overcoming period poverty and educating girls about hygiene. Specifically, I would like to focus on cultural silence in the village of Méhé, Cameroon. As I know it’s recent news in 2021. From here, I suggest considering two or three key terms that might be useful for you — consider some of the concepts from the course. For example, maybe there’s something in the Bodies chapter of Wade & Ferree that could be useful or the term ‘misogyny’ that comes up in our next readings.Link to the book https://b-ok.cc/book/5411201/0e9489
From here, consider what you want to argue…offering a unique thesis will make your paper stronger; in other words, consider what your ‘punch line’ will be while avoiding common or cliche arguments.
Let me know if these thoughts are useful!
Paper topics should focus on an emergent issue of gender inequality such as contemporary conversations about gender and media, the Internet, sport, or schools. While the focus of the paper should be on a recent issue, it is understood that these contemporary issues are always linked to the past.
Sociological papers are best written with a clear thesis statement and theoretical orientation. Closely considering the professor’s feedforward on your initial idea (as discussed in person or over email) and considering directions you want to take will help in further developing your ideas into a fuller final paper.
These essays should be well-written and well researched with a minimum of six scholarly sources. Note: it is more important that you write a good paper rather than fixate on the number of sources you do or do not have. In other words, ask yourself: do I have enough sources to back up my claims? Is there more I need to say and associate with sources? Is this a good argument and a good paper?
Crafting a Strong Sociological Essay:
1. Select a topic that is reasonably specific. “Gendered labor exploitation” is too big of a topic. Something more specific might be:
- Conspicuous consumption and changing notions of femininity in middle-class Canadian households
- “New” masculinities in single-father families
- Princes and Princesses: How Disney socializes children into hegemonic gender roles
*Please do not copy these topics verbatim — part of the work of completing essays is crafting your own topic, question, and argument. You must create your own unique topic.
2. Within your topic, you need to identify an issue, problem, or question that you are going to address in your paper. This is helpful to inform the direction of your paper, and later might be shifted into a thesis statement. For example:
- “How does conspicuous consumption reflect the desire many women have for upward class mobility yet result in their own stigmatization concerning ‘loose morals’?”
- “If fathers are no longer the breadwinners and not socially enabled to be the ‘nurturing’ parent, then what roles do Filipino fathers play in mother-away households?”
- “If cartoons are aimed at children, how are these forms of entertainment not just entertaining but educational in terms of shaping hegemonic ideas of men’s and women’s roles?”
3. You answer that question in your paper. In order to answer the question, you need to develop some kind of argument.
- Note that if your research question can be answered with a “yes” or “no,” then it is not nuanced enough — go back to step 2.
- Answering the question also means applying a sociocultural perspective. In other words, you’ll want employ theory such as feminist, intersectional, or queer orientations to your analysis. Whatever theory you employ, sociological perspectives are usually attentive to diversity and complexity, critical, and often oriented towards justice in terms of thinking about power dynamics.
- Look at a range of sources (i.e., books, articles in scholarly periodicals, popular media, websites). Think critically about your sources. How are they limited? Is there a particular perspective? On what basis do they claim authoritative knowledge? Be cautious of the information you get off the internet; these are usually not scholarly, peer-review sources.
- While a variety of sources might provide interesting information, the core of your argument and library research needs to focus on academic sources. This means academic journal articles and academic books. Look to see if they are from a peer-reviewed journal and/or published from an academic press.
4. Drafting — a final paper in an upper-level university course will require a number of drafts before it is ready for submission. You may, for example, create three or four drafts before you’re confident that your paper is nearing completion. If you haven’t created several drafts, it’s probably not finished yet.
5. Thesis statement — you may not know what you’re arguing until you’re done a first or second draft. This is because we learn and refine through the process of writing. Once you’ve written one or two drafts, see if you have a clearer picture of your thesis statement. Insert that revised thesis into your introduction and let that lead your next round of drafting as you create a more coherent focus and argument throughout your paper.
5. Have a good look at the rubric I will use to mark your essay (available by clicking on the assignment submission link below). If you get bogged down in the writing or organization, then come and see me.
6. When you have a draft of the paper, get someone to read it over and tell you about holes in your argument, ungrammatical sentences, and muddled or awkward aspects of your writing or thinking. Another strategy is to stand up and read it aloud exactly as if you were presenting to the class. This is a very effective way to identify weak spots in a paper – if you don’t know what you are saying, you can be sure that I won’t too.
Check out the excellent writing advice available here: https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/. The Intros and Conclusions, Paragraphs, Revising and Editing, and Passive Voice sections may be particularly pertinent.
Thinking sociologically means:
- Identifying how ideas and behaviors reflect and reproduce particular interpretations or ways of understanding and naming the world, particularly relations between people and state institutions, arrangements of power, identities, categories, performances, and so on.
- Being attentive to diversity and variation in ideas and practices along lines of ethnicity, race, income/class, education, gender, sexuality, age, location, cultural context, etc.
- Engaging with the sociological imagination – considering how everyday activities, events, or experiences are tied to broad axes of power and structural processes that are often rendered invisible; sociologists illuminate these relationships and dialectics
- Paying attention to the ways in which gender, household, labor, family arrangements, etc. are folded into and contested within everyday life, and how these reflect (but also shift) social, political, and economic relations for people in different social positions, categories, or roles.
- An analysis that is detailed and holistic, taking into account a wide range of factors.
- Being comparative without being judgmental and avoiding simplistic, oppressive, unjust, or passé language. The words you choose matter, so be clear about what you mean and thoughtful with your word choice.
- Making empirical rather than normative statements; back up what you are saying with empirical information that is research-based from academic, peer-reviewed, and sociocultural sources.
- 2. PRESENTATION SECTION
- TRANSCRIPT REQUIRED AS I AM GOING TO RECORD MY VOICE
- Your library research papers should be accompanied by a presentation aimed at wider audiences. Students can choose the presentation format such as a poster with a five-minute audio narration, a 10-minute PPT presentation with voice recording, a 15-minute podcast with a relevant cover image, or a five-page zine. Other ideas are welcome! Presentations should be transferable, meaning you should be able to upload the audio and/or visual files of your presentation to Moodle. Students should seek topic and presentation approval from the professor on or before November 1st (via office hours or a one-paragraph email). Final projects — including the paper and accompanying presentation
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