SIS 202, Spring 2005
Cultural Interactions in an Interdependent World


      You should read assignments before coming to class on the day for which they are assigned. Section discussions may focus on any of the readings assigned before the section meeting.  All of the writing assignments in the course are based on the assigned readings.

      Articles and book chapters which are assigned readings in the course are available via Odegaard's electronic reserve offerings. These readings can be accessed here.  For copyright protection reasons, articles and book chapters are only available though Odegaard's electronic reserve offerings.  You also should read the New York Times regularly, focusing on the lead national and international stories. You will have an opportunity to subscribe at a student rate during the first week of class. 

      We will read four books in the class; the books are required texts, and they are available at the University Bookstore: 

    Hugh Gusterson (1996)  Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War.

    Cynthia Keppley Mahmood (1996)  Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants.

    Julie Marie Peteet (2005)  Landscape of Hope and Despair : Palestinian Refugee Camps.

    Carolyn Nordstrom (2004)  Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in

                                                the Twenty-First Century.  

As you will realize, not all of the authors we read agree with each other, and I do not agree with all of the authors.  You will have many opportunities in discussion and in writing to analyze, compare, and evaluate the issues and arguments presented by these authors and in my lectures.   

Writing Assignment Instructions: Book Précis and Topical Response Papers

The practice of reading is often most effective when practiced simultaneously with the practice of writing, and most good writers read a great deal in the genre in which they write. Writing is a process and a tool which will help you clarify your thinking and sharpen your analytic skills.  It is not a mere product of already formulated ideas.  Therefore, in this class you will practice pre-reading, pre-writing, reading, writing, reviewing, discussing, and re-writing.

For the 3 of the 4 ethnographies we will read in this course, you will prepare a book survey, a book précis, and a brief paper which responds to one of the questions which I will pose to the class.  You will turn in 3 packets of survey, précis, and response with an evaluation cover sheet to you on the day the response is due. 

Tracing the origins and development of your ideas through citation is an important skill.  You may any social science in-text citation form as long as you use it correctly, but we will teach an anthropological system of citation and provide you with a copy of the "American Anthropological Association Style Guide."  You may also use a recent version of Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (University of Chicago Press, various years) for help with formatting.

Book Surveys: I will teach you how to do a book survey in class on April 9th.

Also, here are the Book Survey Guidelines from lecture.

ü DUE: April 10, April 24, May 8

Book Précis: A book précis is a brief critical summary of a scholarly work.  A critical summary undertakes to (1) summarize the author's argument, (2) explain how the author gathered evidence and interprets that evidence, and (3) examine why the study is an important contribution to the understanding of an important issue.  Each précis should be approximately 2-3 pages (500-750 words only).  I will teach you how to write a book précis in class on April 9th.

ü DUE: April 15, April 29, May 13

Précis Guidelines                                                                                

Paragraph 1:

What is the author's main thesis in the book? Why is the study on which the book is based important?

Paragraph 2:

What arguments does the author present in the book that supports the main thesis? (Brief summaries of the chapters may be appropriate here.)

Paragraph 3:

What kind of evidence or details does the author use to support her or his arguments? What method(s) did the author use in her or his research?

Paragraph 4:

In what issues or debates does the author seek to participate or intervene? (Paying attention to footnotes and citations will help you answer this question.) 

Paragraph 5:

What broader questions/ issues does the author's perspective allow you to address? Does this perspective close off other important avenues of inquiry? (If so, how?) Are you convinced by the argument?

Topical Response Papers: After engaging in discussion about the book in your section seminar, you will prepare a short expository essay of 2 double-spaced pages (500-600 words only).  These response papers will require you to respond to a question using the ethnography and additional course readings that address the question.  The questions will be posted on the course website at 5PM on Thursday after you complete your discussion of the book.

ü DUE: April 22, May 6, May 20

Response Paper Guidelines                                                                             

Paragraph 1:

What is the issue that you are addressing? What is your argument in this paper?

Paragraph 2-3:

What evidence or details from the readings do you use to support your arguments?

Paragraph 4:

What is your conclusion about this issue? How is this conclusion related to conclusions offered by other authors (the readings) writing about this issue?

Paragraph 5:

What still puzzles you of further interests you about the issue?

Packet Submission:   You are encouraged to revise your response paper based on the peer review of your first draft.  Your grade will be based on your final draft and on the process of your thinking as represented by the packet as a whole. You will turn in your packet of survey, précis, and response essay (first and final drafts) stapled to an evaluation cover sheet on the day the packet is due. 

DUE: April 24, May 8, May 22







Writing Assignment Instructions: Final Integrative Essay

There is no research paper assigned in this course.  You will have done all of the necessary preparatory work for writing the final paper by doing the course readings, participating in seminar discussions, and writing the topical response papers. 

The final essay for the class will require you to answer a question by integrating readings from the entire quarter and using at least 8 different sources. You will answer a question from a list of options which will be available on the course website on May 27th.

The paper should be analytical in content.   In your paper, you may take issue with the read­ings, or you might analyze the significance of the readings. You should identify themes that tie together different interpretations. As with your previous response papers, you should be very careful about writing a paper that simply sum­marizes the contents of the sources. Of course, you will have to understand the readings and you may need present a brief overview of them, but your assignment is (1) to synthesize diverse perspectives, (2) analyze their value, argue an interpretation, and (3) explain the evidence which makes your interpretation persuasive. Finally, remember that most of the papers you will write in the Jackson School – and in many of your future life experiences – are exercises in persuasion. Don't simply assert or suggest your views. Instead, prove or demonstrate them.

Ø  You will use only the course readings for this analytic essay.  You may not use sources not assigned in the course.

Ø  No analytic essay that is a mere series of descriptive summaries will receive a grade higher than a 2.0.

Papers should run no more than 6 pages (maximum 1500 words on letter-size paper, with 12 point, double-spaced text, and margins at least one-inch but no more than 1-1/2 inch). 

You will turn in a packet of draft paper, peer review, and final essay with an evaluation cover sheet (available on the course website) on the day the packet is due.

ü  DUE: Draft of Essay, June 3

ü  DUE: Final Essay Packet, June 5




Take Note:

Ø       Note about topics: You will be given a choice of questions as topics for your response papers and the integrative essay topic.  You will get the list of questions for each topical response paper at the end of section on Thursday after completing the discussion of each book that we read in the course as indicated in the ‘SCHEDULE' section of this syllabus.

Ø       Note about submissions: All written work must be submitted as a process package with book survey, book précis, peer review, and topical response paper stapled to the evaluation cover sheet which is available on the course website.  Students are completely responsible for keeping track of all parts of the assignment for each book and submitting it as a package.  Packages are not acceptable without a cover sheet.  Packages must be stapled together. Any package submitted with a missing piece of the assignment will be evaluated as if that part of the assignment was not done.  Any missing piece will therefore drop the total grade by 1.0 pts on a 4.0 scale.  If you lose any piece of the packet, do submit the rest of your work for credit and for feedback.  (If you later find your missing piece, we will adjust the grade). 

Ø       Note about deadlines: All written work is due at the start of the Tuesday Section meeting; no late submissions will be accepted. Students who have not completed written assignments on time can not participate in section workshops based on written work.  You should expect that any late portion of an assignment will impact both your participation and writing grades. 

Ø       Note about not submitting one of the assignments: You must complete all assignments for this course in order to pass the course.  A grade of "0" for any required course work (a précis and response paper packet, the essay paper packet, participation, average of quizzes, etc.) will result in a failing grade in the course.   If you do not do one of the parts of an assignment on time, you should pass in the rest of the packet on time (for a reduced grade) so that you do not fail the course.