Short Paper Assignment(You may select either one of the following topics) 1.John
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Short Paper Assignment(You may select either one of the following topics)
1.John Sayles’s film Matewan is a dramatic portrayal of a famous U.S. labor battle in the 1920’s, mine workers in the coal fields of Mingo County, West Virginia. One of the central themes of the film is the challenge for the striking miners of overcoming racial and ethnic divisions in order to present a united front against the company. The film illustrates, in other words, the long-standing tension between race and class identity in U.S. political history. Your task is to discuss how in fact the film illustrates this tension in terms of the course readings, specifically, Goldfield’s The Color of Politics, and lectures.Firstly, to what extent does the film illustrate some of the claims that Goldfield makes in the last section of Chapter Five, “Early Twentieth-Century Labor and Radicalism”? Secondly, does the film in any way either validate or challenge any of the seven claims that Goldfield puts forward in the “Introduction” to explain “the inability of U.S. workers to develop sustained forms of class organization and consciousness”? Lastly, how might the readings, especially the “Conclusions” to Nimtz’s Marx, Tocqueville, and lectures, and lecture notes be employed to see a future resolution of the U.S. race-class conundrum as illustrated in the film. The reading, “Matewan: the film and the working class struggle,” on the course website under the section “Class versus Race” should be consulted in writing your essay. 2.The film Girls Apart compares and contrasts the lives and thoughts of two young South African women — one African and the other white. The film covers a wide range of subjects but focuses on their views and relationship to the apartheid system and the struggle against that system. In Chapter Five from her book Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought, “Gender and Race,” Elizabeth Spelman makes an argument about how gender and race should be treated by feminists. Your assignment essentially is to assess the validity of Spelman’s argument by drawing on the film and other data from the readings and lectures about South Africa.More specifically, you should address the following questions: How is the film and Spelman’s position relevant to the distinction between a social construction and essentialist approach to identity and group consciousness? To what extent, if any, does the film validate Spelman’s position about how to view women as a social category? How does it do that? What are the specifics about the South African situation as illustrated in the film and other course material that validate or contradict Spelman’s views regarding the relative importance of racism and sexism? Finally, what does the South African case suggest about Spelman’s point about “different forms of liberation” for “different women”?