Study Questions for Readings Social Sciences Book Report (Book Report Sample)
The readings in this module seek to give you some perspective on why multiculturalism is a controversial topic. In the first article, Jack David Eller lays out the pros and cons of multiculturalism from an anthropological perspective. In the second, Amparo B. Ojeda, originally from the Philippines, expresses some of the challenges she has faced adapting to dominant U.S. cultural values. In the third, Moises Velasquez-Manoff draws on science and a critical perspective on multicultural/monocultural debates in the U.S. to make the case for diversity. And in the fourth, columnist and public intellectual, George F. Will, argues that multicultural education is both a huge waste of money and the path to perdition.
After you have read the readings, please answer each of the following study questions. I’ll look for thoughtful, original, insightful, well-written responses that use appropriate examples to support your points.
1.“Anti-Anti-Multiculturalism” (1997). (Note: This is one of the more challenging articles we'll read in this course, but provides an excellent example of critical thinking on a complex issue. Here Eller examines what he sees as the pros and cons of both multiculturalism and "anti-multiculturalism" or (monoculturalism).
Following Eller, what are key arguments for and against multiculturalism? What conclusion does Eller come to and how does he define it? What does he mean by "anti-anti multiculturalism"? What do you learn from this piece?
2.“Growing Up American”
Identify and discuss two examples of how Ojeda’s Filipina values clashed with what she encountered in the United States, especially in relation to how she chose to raise her daughter. What is the larger point about cultural diversity in the United States? What do you think?
3. Velasquez-Manoff What Biracial People Know (New York Times, March 4, 2017).
What is Velasquez-Manoff’s main argument in this 2017 op-ed piece from the New York Times? Why does he think that biracial individuals and diversity more generally benefit society? How does he appraise the current political landscape in the United States? How and why do you find his argument convincing or unconvincing?
4. George Will. “Schools Push a Curriculum of Propaganda”
What is columnist George Will’s argument in this brief anti-multiculturalist op-ed piece? Drawing on the anthropological and cultural perspectives you have learned in this module, how would you characterize Will’s argument? Do you agree or disagree with him and what makes you come to this conclusion?
5. Gosh, based on this set of readings, why do you think multiculturalism is so controversial? What is at stake? What are people struggling over? Where do you think anthropology comes down on this issue? What is your overall reaction to these arguments?
Multiculturalism can be defined as a state of society with distinct cultural or ethnic groups playing equal political roles. The term also refers to policies or programs that promote a multicultural society. Key arguments for and against multiculturalism suffice in Jack David Eller’s “Anti-anti-multiculturalism” (1997) article. While multiculturalism argues for the inclusivity of all American populations in culture and scholarship, anti-multiculturalism maintains that there should be a universal American identity. The author focuses on how political philosophers fairly deal with challenges that emerge from multiculturalism. Eller concludes that while anthropologists should not entirely embrace multiculturalism, it is critical to reject anti-multiculturalism (Eller 249). He, therefore, recommends anti-anti-multiculturalism as a way to extend Clifford Geertz’s thought of the scholar’s role in destroying fear of multiculturalism. In American societies, multiculturalists are concerned about discrimination of certain cultural groups in politics, scholarships, and arts (Eller 250). Lessons learned from the reading are that such a notion serves as an exchange of warning rather than being analytical.
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