An important part of our course is researching information on diversity and multiculturalism and its social, cultural, and ethical impact upon individual citizens, groups of people, and society at large.
Below are four scenarios pertaining to cultural diversity. For this assignment, you will prepare a research paper that focuses on one of these scenarios, analyzing what happened, what the consequences either are or might be, and how the situation can be corrected and or prevented in the future. These must be concrete suggestions that could actually be implemented rather than vague references or opinions. While the situations have been fictionalized, there have been actual situations that are very similar. You will submit the report in three sections throughout the course, with a due date for each section. These due dates are posted on the Course Schedule.
The Course Project should be six to eight pages in length, with an additional Title page and Reference page(s). The Reference page should include a minimum of four different scholarly, academically accepted books and/or journals used. Do not use Wikipedia and similar encyclopedia websites, such as about.com or buzzle.com. Please review the detailed instructions for each phase of the project, which you can find in the Assignment tab for that week. Your project will be graded as follows.
- Week 2: Students will submit the research paper topic proposal. 25 points
- Week 4: Students will submit the reference list and outline of their research paper. 75 points
- Week 7: Students will submit the final version of their research paper. 150 points
Here are the scenarios. If you happen to be familiar with an actual incident, you may request it as your scenario, but you will need my approval first.
- A large hydroelectric dam built in the 1950s and 60s created a 1-million acre impoundment, and it has been a major means of both producing electricity and flood control for many decades. In early spring each year, the water level above the dam is lowered to allow a reservoir for upstream snow melt and runoff later released downstream in a controlled fashion. This annual event has drawn no notice until this past spring, when a Native American tribe whose reservation borders on the impoundment came forward to claim that an ancient burial ground had been revealed less than a mile above the dam when the water level was lowered. To them, this was sacred ground and disturbing the bones of their ancestors was tantamount to desecration. Citing both 19th century treaty agreements and contracts with the U.S. government at the time the dam was built concerning the sanctity of holy grounds, the tribe insists that the burial grounds cannot be submerged again and that the water level must be maintained at its present, lower level. They also say that their culture does not permit the removal and reburial of the remains and that the federal government has recognized the rights of Native Americans to protect their holy places. Anthropologists have surveyed the site and report that indeed it is an ancient burial ground, but that the people may be from a much older group than those presently claiming ancestry.
There are a number of problems presented. One, with no reservoir to hold snowmelt and runoff, there is likely to be major flooding downstream. Second, the lower level will mean less hydroelectric productive potential, and third, the lower water level will have a major impact on the recreation industry all along the impoundment apart from the reservation. Can this situation be resolved, and if so, how? Are we dealing with a cultural issue or one of race or ethnicity? How do the factors of economics and political power enter into the matter? Create a plan to bring this situation to resolution.
- You have been asked to look into a company’s promotion policy. Maria, a person of Latino ancestry, has filed a complaint that she was unfairly eliminated for consideration for a promotion because of her distinctive accent. She is a second generation native-born American citizen with a graduate degree, and has been with the company for 10 years and in her current position for 7. Alex, the person who received the promotion, is an Anglo, also has a graduate degree, but has less time either with the company or in the position. He is, however, considered to be an “up and comer” and has better job evaluations than Maria. Maria points out that she is not only the only Latina, she is the only person of color and the only woman in the department. She claims that her lower evaluations reflect a built-in bias on the part of her White male supervisors. She also states that she was told by her supervisor that she was not being promoted because he feared that their clients would have trouble understanding her accent. She alleges that the company is engaging in discriminatory practices.
The company argues that Maria is a good employee but is often loud and aggressive in her approach to co-workers and supervisors and has had some problems with attendance and tardiness. She has been counseled twice by her supervisor for tardiness, and once for absence. Each time she gave family problems as reasons. She explained that in each case a family member needed help and it was her duty to be there for the family member. When the issue of accent was introduced, it was acknowledged that it was a major consideration but was not because of discrimination. Maria often spoke very rapidly, and her accent made understanding difficult when she did. The company alleges that the ability to communicate clearly was an essential component of the job in question. Evaluate the situation. Are there indications of structural or individual discrimination involved or prejudicial attitudes? Is there any indication that Maria was unfairly treated? Is the company within its rights to expect its employees who communicate directly with customers to speak in unaccented English? Regardless of your findings, come up with a plan to avoid this sort of thing from happening again.
- According to the U.S. Justice Department, in 2003 about 10.4% of all African American men between the ages of 25 to 29 were incarcerated, as compared to 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of nonHispanic White men. What is going on here? Why are Black men in this age group so much more likely to be in jail than are people of White or Latino descent? Research the incidents of criminal prosecution, convictions, prison sentences, and time served by race and ethnicity for all three—African American, Hispanic, and White men. What factors or variables are associated with who gets involved in crime, why, and what happens to them in the criminal justice system? Also look into how many judges, lawyers, and lawmakers are White compared with those who are African American. What does this tell us about structured inequality?
- Islam is a highly controversial and sensitive issue in today’s world, and there are many misconceptions about its beliefs, values, and goals. For example, many Americans believe that most Muslims live in the Middle East, while in reality Indonesia has many more people of the Islamic faith. What this means is that Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is practiced in many different cultures, and it both shapes and is shaped by those cultures. For this assignment, research the teachings of Islam and how they are interpreted and or practiced in different countries and cultures, including the United States, Great Britain, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries. Additionally, how is it contrasted with Christianity and Judaism? How do these understandings impact the ways that Muslims and non-Muslims interact and communicate with one another?
Week 2: Project Proposal
|Content||10||40||Discusses which topic scenario has been chosen and why, and how the topic is important to the study of cultural diversity.|
|Research Goals and Plan||10||40||Describes what the student expects to find and or what the students would be interested in learning; describes how the student plans to go about his or her research.|
|Organization and Editing||3||12||Proposal is well written, well organized, and free from errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.|
|Formatting||2||8||Proposal is in correct APA format, with a Title page.|
|Total||25||100||A quality paper will meet or exceed all of the above requirements.|
Week 4: Reference List and Outline
|Outline and Organization||35||47||Outline lists the main topics the project will cover and incorporates the key elements of the chosen topic scenario; outline is clearly written and wellorganized.|
|Reference List||30||40||Reference list contains at least four credible sources.|
|Formatting||10||13||Submission is in correct APA format, with a Title page.|
|Total||75||100||A quality paper will meet or exceed all of the above requirements.|
Week 7: Final Paper
|Content||105||70.2||Addresses each component of the chosen topic scenario, integrating concrete examples and strategies, and uses information from sources to support points.|
|Documentation & Formatting||15||10||Follows correct APA format, including a Title page and reference page with at least four credible sources.|
|Organization & Cohesiveness||10||6.6||Cohesive and well organized, with a clear introduction and a conclusion that summarizes the paper’s key points.|
|Editing||10||6.6||Uses proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.|
|Length||10||6.6||Meets minimum length requirement of six to eight pages of text.|
|Total||150||100||A quality paper will meet or exceed all of the above requirements.|
The following are best practices in preparing this project.
- Include a Title page in APA format. For information on APA formatting, please see the APA reference materials located in your Syllabus.
- Include an introductory paragraph that introduces your chosen scenario and previews the main topics your paper will cover.
- Include a concluding paragraph that summarizes your main points and the benefits of learning about the issues you’ve discussed.
- Use headers to organize your paper and divide into sections as appropriate.
- Include a Reference page in APA format, with at least four credible sources.
- Check to be sure you’ve covered all the questions posed in your topic scenario and that you’ve provided clear strategies for problems that have been presented.