Politics of Location Paper

Politics of Location Paper
ENGL 292—Literature By Women—Global Perspectives
DUE: Tuesday, Oct. 19th in class
You will write a 3-4 page double-spaced and typed paper in which you explore your own politics of
location—which is the cultural, ethnic, geographical, familial, or gender factor of your identity that
makes you who you are! To do this paper, think about your life experiences as they have been shaped
in part by the social and political structures in which you live. How is your perception of the world
and your relationships with others affected by these structures or idea systems? How have your
experiences been in part socially constructed or culturally expected? Specifically, you are asked to
think about your experiences and relationships in relation to your race, class, gender, nationality,
and/or sexual orientation. How have these factors—and the ideas attributed to them in society—
helped to shape your experiences and perceptions? How has your experience been connected to or
helped you to think about living in a global world context?
What to do:
Briefly describe an experience (or relationship) in your own life then analyze it with attention
to how you think the politics of race, class, gender, nationality and/or sexual orientation played a part
in shaping that experience or relationship. While you can focus more on one than another, you must
discuss at least two of these factors in order to consider how your experience or relationship might in
part have been shaped by the politics of these intersecting locations.
Don’t try to tell your life story. The more specific you can be about an experience or a
relationship, the clearer your essay will be. To begin brainstorming, you might think about the
following: You might consider an experience that caused you to realize your gender or your race or
class or nationality as relevant factors in your life—when did you first realize you are a man or a
woman? White or of color? How have you been made aware that your nationality was significant?
How did you learn about gender differences or racial differences? You might describe your culture or
cultural landscape and think about how it helped to shape this experience or relationship. You might
consider how these factors of race, class, gender and nationality affect your relationships with people
or a person—do they create barriers or help you make friends? At some point in this paper it will be
important for you to discuss the ways in which power—in the form of inequality or privilege is at issue
in your experiences. In other words, how you have experienced oppression or have access to privilege
as a consequence of these factors. Write about your own life, not someone else’s nor do I want
“fiction” for this assignment—I want this to be a way to connect with the reading and goal of the
course. We will share this work with the whole class or a smaller group—depending on our time.
Think about the characters that we have already seen in our two short stories by Emecheta and
Head, and the longer novel by Aidoo. How are these women impacted by their surrounding cultural
reality as a woman, and what lens does the narrator of the stories use to help us find the intersections of
these locations and how that forms the choices, decisions, and circumstances for this character? What
are some different choices made by different women in the readings? What power relationships exist
and are being “dismantled” or uncovered in these stories? Use these questions to help you examine
your own life history and a telling incident or event or relationship that has formed who you are.
Conclude your paper by reflecting on the value of this kind of writing exercise. What did you
learn from exploring your politics of location and writing your paper? What did it help you to think
about that you had not thought about before?
Good luck and have fun with this assignment