Question for April 4th

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Thursday, 4/7/2011, at 2:43 PM

Craig Jeffrey describes boredom and waiting as core features of the lives of middle class urban youth in northern India. How does “time pass” both circumscribe and create the basis for their identities and activism?

Optional Comment on Shadow Lines

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Thursday, 3/24/2011, at 9:21 AM

Amitav Ghosh provides a sensitive account of how people of different generations and genders experience partition. Analyze his account of how partition influences historical memories, current realities and social identities.

Optional Comment on Gandhi

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Thursday, 3/24/2011, at 9:20 AM

Gandhi is as committed to personal transformation as to opposing British colonial domination of India. Why does he engage in such rigorous and disciplined self transformation? And how is his struggle to achieve mastery and control over his own life linked to his broader political goals?

Question for March 23rd

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Tuesday, 3/22/2011, at 11:36 AM

Benedict Anderson identifies several paradoxes concerning nationalism (p. 5). Discuss one of them: 1. Nations are objectively modern in the eyes of historians but subjectively ancient in the eyes of nationalists. 2. Nationality is formally universal—ie everyone can, should and will have a nationality—but nationality is irremediably particular in its concrete manifestations.

Question for March 21st

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Friday, 3/18/2011, at 6:01 PM

Nationalism is both a positive, constructive and also a divisive, exclusionary source of identity. How do the readings by Marx and Parekh help explain this double edged quality of national identities and how would you evaluate their arguments?

Question for March 9th

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Monday, 3/7/2011, at 2:14 PM

The Battle of Algiers and The Wretched of the Earth provide a rich and powerful depiction of French colonial domination of Algeria. They suggest that the colonized can only regain their sense of humanity through mass based, often violent anti colonial revolutionary struggles. Analyze and critically evaluate these perspectives drawing on both the film and the reading.

I. Rigoberta Menchu

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Thursday, 3/3/2011, at 9:04 PM

Rigoberta Menchu describes herself as a Guatemalan, Mayan, Christian, single woman. How does she reconcile these different aspects of her identity? Which of her identities, or what combination of them, inform her political activism? Please read chapters, 1,15, 23-end and as much of the rest of the book as you can.

Question for March 2nd

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Monday, 2/28/2011, at 9:42 PM

Bouvard describes the mothers of the plaza de mayo as revolutionizing motherhood. How do these women’s roles as mothers influence their political activism? To what extent do they either reinforce and/or transform women’s traditional roles?  In other words, are the mothers simultaneously challenging gender inequality and authoritarianism or are these two goals incongruous?  

Question for March 2nd

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Monday, 2/28/2011, at 9:42 PM

Bouvard describes the mothers of the plaza de mayo as revolutionizing motherhood. How do these women’s roles as mothers influence their political activism? To what extent do they either reinforce and/or transform women’s traditional roles?  In other words, are the mothers simultaneously challenging gender inequality and authoritarianism or are these two goals incongruous?  

Discussion question for Feb. 28th

Submitted by Amrita Basu on Saturday, 2/26/2011, at 3:53 PM

 Dugan argues that “…movements not only vie for believable and palatable movement or self-collective identities but also for the control over the definition and perception of the opponent's collective identities.” Find examples from the readings of how social movements have framed their own identities and the identities of their opponents and assess the effectiveness of these strategies.

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