Ass2009: making modern identities– essay questions

ASS2009: Making Modern Identities– Essay questions

Due Date: Day of lecture in week 12                       Worth: 50% of your final mark


Choose ONE of the following questions to be answered in approximately 2000 words


·        In Christopher Noxon’s book Rejuvenile, he argues that ‘there’s a wealth of history to suggest that rejuveniles represent the crest of a cultural current that has been swelling since the dawn of the Industrial Age’. Reflecting on the themes of the unit, what kinds of social changes and developments could be included within this cultural current? How might they have contributed to the making of the modern Western rejuvenile?


·        In Jackie Huggins’ essay, ‘A Contemporary View of Aboriginal Women’s Relationship to the White Women’s Movement, Huggins argues that ‘white feminism and women’s studies are white cultural products’ . What does this mean? Can aspects of the other essential readings for this unit be considered ‘white cultural products’?


·        Andrew Solomon points out that “most hearing people assume that to be deaf is to lack hearing”. In doing so he points to one of the ways our assumptions about what is ‘normal’ can lead to gaps in our knowledge about the workings of our social worlds. Reflect on these gaps with reference to Solomon’s work alongside any other relevant unit material.


·        A crucial theme emerging throughout the unit has been that of personal agency. Reflecting on unit material, to what extent do you think personal agency is possible in postmodern society?


·        In postmodern society ‘authenticity’ is sometimes presented as the ultimate personal virtue. Reflecting on unit material, create an argument about whether or not you regard personal authenticity as a possibility in the postmodern world.


·        Create your own essay question on any of the themes or topics addressed in this unit in consultation with your tutor and/or the unit coordinator.



·        Marks will be deducted for failure to reference fully in Harvard style, proofread or provide a full bibliography. These are all very easy details to address, so please don’t lose marks needlessly.

·        There will be zero tolerance of plagiarism. Please familiarise yourself with the policy available via the university webpage if you are at all uncertain about this.


·        The essay topics are designed to create the opportunity for you to reflect on, and demonstrate your familiarity with, a good range of material covered in the unit. This familiarity is the key criterion in terms of how the work will be marked. The best approach will be to look for connections with all the reading you have been doing and make this the basis for your research.


·        That said, you will almost certainly need to do some further research too. Make sure you are using sound academic, sociological sources. Feel especially free to draw from any materials from your first year studies that you find useful or relevant. References made to relevant literature in the lectures might be a very useful guide too.


·        Do not quote or reference lectures. You are welcome to paraphrase the ideas developed there, but if you need to cite specifics, locate the details you need in an appropriate text.


  • The essay MUST be submitted in BOTH e-copy to your tutor’s email AND hard copy to your tutors pigeon hole.
  • Students tend to write and think best when they are interested in what they are researching. Try to choose a question and an approach that you find interesting.

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