Virtual Site Visit and Report
Diversity in U.S. Society
In this course you will make visits to websites dedicated to people unlike yourself on one of the major social locations. They may be of a different race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or age group. At the site you will take written notes of the things you read. You will pay particular attention to the questions and issues raised in class discussions and readings. You will, then, write a three-page report that tells of your research and answers the below questions pertaining to diversity issues examined in class. Use concepts, theories and ideas from class readings and discussions when writing reports. The best papers will use terms from the book and other readings. For example, if describing a different racial/ethnic group, please refer to the chapters discussing race and ethnicity or if you visit a religious institution use ideas from the chapter on religion to help you understand your experience and describe it in your paper. All reports will be typed, double-spaced in 10pt., New Roman font. Use default margins. Any wide margins will be penalized. Please see syllabus for due dates. NO late papers will be accepted.
You will visit a website of institutions/groups and neighborhoods/communities. At least one visit will be to an institution or group (e.g., churches/mosques/synagogues, cultural centers, museums, non-profit organizations) and at least one visit will be to a neighborhood/community (e.g., home for the elderly, Chinatown, other ethnic/racial community/neighborhood).
You should understand your site visits as field research. Take notes. You must turn in your notes with your paper. You should have many pages of hand-written notes. Taking notes is part of your grade for this assignment.
Approximately half of your paper will be dedicated to a description of the site. Describe the place you visited. What did it look like? What types of people did you see? Describe languages, clothes, symbols or other examples of ethnic, religious, or other difference. What did you learn about the community or institution? How are you similar to and different from the people you researched? Did your visit challenge any stereotypes that you had of this population? How so? (see p. 79)
With the other half of the paper you will discuss three of the following questions/issues:
a). Andersen and Hill Collins note that one of the most important aspects of gender, race, and class difference concerns questions of power. In order to bring about justice and equality in our society, we must not only see diversity in terms of interesting cultural differences but also recognize that race, class, gender, etc. are all part of a matrix of domination that influence the relative power, privilege and prestige of various categories of people in our society. How do issues of power relate to what you sensed in your site visit? In what ways do prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes affect the people at the site you visited?
b). How does your visit to this site challenge the myth of the assimilationist, incorporating melting pot society described on pages 3-5 of your book? How do the people at your site resist or accept assimilation?
c). How is this local setting influenced by global issues? What does this setting reveal about global changes? See pp. 13-14, chapter 3. Related issues include immigration and economic restructuring.
d) How did you know the people at your site were different than you? Was it phenotype? Linguistic difference? Other cultural markers?
e) On page 260 of our book the authors write, social division always correlates with linguistic differences. In what way does your site visit illustrate this statement? What social divisions are evident between you and the people at your site? How are these divisions evident in different ways of speaking?
f) Chapter 13 of our book helps us understand class diversity. At your site how are class differences illustrated? Is the site you visited diverse in terms of class? What symbols of class difference did you see? Are the people at your site of a different class than you? How do you know?
Grading. You are graded in the following way:
Description: 3 points. You should describe your site using the questions in 3. Do not write about things that have no significance to issues of diversity and multiculturalism
Questions: 4.5 points (1.5 each). Answers to three questions from 4 should be one or two paragraphs long.
Directions: 1.5 points. Did you follow all the directions especially those in the introduction to the assignment.
Overall: 1 point. Graded on overall quality of paper including important insights made in paper, writing and effort.
SUGGESTIONS OF SITES TO VISIT
National Museum of Mexican Art DuSable Museum Chinatown
Pilsen Neighborhood Little Village Neighborhood Devon Street District
Ukrainian National Museum (721 N. Oakley) Indo-American Center
Polish Museum of America (984 N. Milwaukee) Italian American Sports Hall of Fame
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture (6500 S. Pulaski) daycare centers
Swedish American Museum Center (5211 N. Clark) nursing homes