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English 007 (Langdon): Zuni Man-Woman and Raising Cain (Spring 2020): English 007 Assignment (Spring 2020)

Library Orientations Spring 2020

The Assignment

Over the next week, you will using sources from the Chabot library to investigate one of the following research questions:   

1.     Matrilineal and Matrilocal societies: In The Zuni Man-Woman, we have learned about a matrilineal, matrilocal culture. This is a society in which only women own property, and it’s the female line that matters. When couples marry, they live with the wife’s family. Most of you have noticed that women have more power and status in this culture than they have traditionally had in the west.  Do some research into matrilineal and matrilocal societies. Are there other such societies in the world today? Did more exist in the past? How do these cultures differ from ours? Are they matriarchies in the same sense that our culture has traditionally been a patriarchy? Is there any such thing as a true matriarchy? Are men oppressed in matrilineal societies in the same ways that women have historically been oppressed in patrilineal societies? Are matrilineal societies more tolerant than patrilineal societies? How has gender been constructed differently in matrilineal and patrilineal societies?

2.     Third Genders.  In The Zuni Man-Woman, we read about the lhamana, or the berdache, in Zuni culture, but Zuni culture is not the only culture to recognize a third gender.  (Third genders were also mentioned in both Becoming Nicole and “Rethinking Gender.”)  Do some research into third gender traditions in other cultures around the world.  What do these different third-gender traditions have in common?  How are they different?  Do the cultures that recognize third genders have anything else in common?  What accounts for the widely varying attitudes toward gender variance around the world?  Why do some cultures celebrate third gender people while others view them with disgust?  (Here are some specific third gender traditions that you might look for while doing your research:  the Muxe of Mexico, Hijras in India (along with related traditions in Pakistan and Nepal), the Mahu of Hawaii, the Bissu of Indonesia, the Kathoey of Thailand, the Bakla of the Philippines, the Mashoga of Swahili cultures in East Africa, the Mino in Benin, Mangaiko in the Congo, "Sworn Virgins" in the Albania and the Balkans, Femminiello in Italy, and the Fa'afafine of Samoa.)

3.     Girl Trouble: In Raising Cain, we read about the problems boys face in our society today. The book focuses on the ways that the codes of masculinity restrict and harm boys and prevent them from experiencing the full range of human emotions. Drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide and depression are all attributed to our culture’s narrow definition of masculinity. What about girls? Are there not codes of behavior for girls in our culture as well? What are they? What problems do girls experience because of the ways that our culture defines femininity? Have we made any progress in recent years in addressing the problems that girls face in our culture? (In 1995, Mary Pipher’s book Reviving Ophelia raised awareness of the many problems faced by girls in American culture. You might want to include Reviving Ophelia in your research and also ask yourself about the impact of this book. Has it led to any changes in the way that we raise girls in America.)

Once you have finished your research, you will compile it into an annotated bibliography.  An annotated bibliography is a bibliography (or, in MLA style, a works cited page) in which each citation is followed by an annotation (a brief summary of the source).  (I will provide sample annotated bibliographies for you to look at while you are working on this project.)


1.     Your entire annotated bibliography should be formatted in MLA style.

2.     Each citation should be correctly formatted in MLA style.

3.     You must write at least four annotated citations.  (You may write more than four if you would like.)

4.     Your four required citations must be of sources from the Chabot libraryIf you do additional annotated citations, you may use sources that you found through Google searches, but your annotated bibliography must contain at least four sources from the Chabot library

5.     Each citation should be followed by an annotation that summarizes the information or argument in the source.   

6.     Each annotation (or summary) should be at least 200 words. 

7.     The summaries must be in your own words.  You may use a quotation or two in your annotations, but for the most part, they should be in your own words.  If you use quotations, make sure you adhere to the principles for using quotations effectively that we have been discussing in class.  Do not simply copy sentences (or long phrases) from your sources. If you simply copy phrases and sentences from your source, you will receive a zero.  Plagiarism is just as unacceptable in a summary just as it is in any other kind of writing.

Note: You will be writing about the sources you find on your midterm exam, so you want to find good sources that will enable you to write a good midterm exam essay. If you simply look for short sources that will be easy to summarize quickly, you will probably have difficulty completing the midterm exam. Take this assignment seriously and try to learn as much as you can about your topic.

Due Date:  First Draft, April 9th; Final Draft, April 16th