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					                             Identity Exploration
                         ENWR100 Introduction to Writing
                                 Sample Unit

[Although the readings are from a text we are no longer using, this unit and assignment
might be adapted for use with the current text.]

Unit 3: October 9 - October 26: Identity Exploration

In this unit we will explore writers’ efforts to understand what it means to create a
definition of self by affiliating with a particular cultural or social group. To begin,
consider how you may be showing your allegiance--loyalty, belonging--to a particular
social group by dressing and speaking in the ways that the group you belong to
approves and sanctions. These actions are often unconscious, but not always so.

Thursday, October 12:
Drawing Pictures.
The questions we will consider include: what importance does cultural and social
affiliation have to creating an identity? Do all people affiliate themselves to cultural
groups, or is just some people? if so who and why?

Read “An Ethnic Trump," by Gish Jen, "A Slow Walk of Trees," by Toni Morrison, and
"Hair," by Malcolm X.” Write a full, one page response to these readings. To these
writers, why do individuals choose to participate in ethnic or cultural rituals and practices
that mark them as members of particular groups? Post your response on blackboard,
under discussion. As well, respond to at least one classmate’s posting.

Monday, October 16:
In-Class: Reading and discussion of responses.

Read: "Goin' Gangsta, Choosin' Cholita: Teens Today 'Claim a Racial Identity," by Nell
Bernstein and "The Double Helix" by Roxane Farmanfarmaian" Write a one page
response in which you describe some instances of racial, ethnic, or other identity-
claiming that you have observed and reflect on your understanding of what this behavior
is all about.

Thursday, October 19:
Discussion of homework; preparations for first drafts.

Draft 1.
Monday, October 23:
In-Class: Peer Review; workshop.
(Bring two copies so that they can review at least some drafts in class.)

Re-draft essays for Thursday.

Thursday, October 26:
In-Class: Writing introductions. Again, bring two copies.

Homework: Prepare final drafts.

                                Essay Question: Identity

Please choose one question to address. If you have another essay you’d like to make,
just let me know of your idea and I will probably approve it.

Requirements: Write a 3-4 page paper in which you make a claim about identity (see
below) and support your claim with evidence from class readings and/or other sources.
You may include some discussion of your experiences, but do not let your experiences be
your only or primary source for supporting your claim. Quote and appropriately cite
(using MLA form) one of the essayists from this text. Be sure to include a Works Cited
page and appropriate citation methods, as is shown in your handbook.

   1. Malcolm X writes,
        I had joined that multitude of Negro men and women in America who are
        brainwashed into believing that the black people are “inferior”—and white
        people “superior”—that they will even violate and mutilate their God-created
        bodies to try to look “pretty” by white standards. (192)

      Malcolm X seems to be suggesting that for people from minority groups—races,
      ethnicities, nationalities or gender or sexual identities—imitating the aesthetic
      values [values about beauty] and behaviors of the dominant group is indicative of
      a kind of self-hatred or internalized “ism.” Make a claim in response to
      Malcolm’s X quote and position, supporting it with evidence.

   2. How do you understand movements to celebrate one’s cultural or social—ethnic,
      national, gender, sexual identity—heritage or identity? What purpose do these
      celebrations of identity serve for those who participate in them? What is the
      effect of these efforts on the broader public who observes these acts of self-
      identification? It may be useful to reflect and, if possible, read about a particular
      celebration or movement, i.e., gay pride events, the New York City Puerto Rican
      Day Parade, etc.
   3. How do you understand people who “take on”--adopt or borrow--an identity,
      often of a group to which they have no genetic or familial belonging? What is the
      motivation for this behavior and what does it do for the individual who adopts
      this “other” identity? You may note that the readings address various different
      ways in which this “taking on” takes place, suggesting that the motivation isn’t
      the same for all people. Explore the motivation and effects of this adoption of

Remember that in this paper you do not simply offer your opinion without support and
logical reasoning.

October 2006

Lingjuan Ma Lingjuan Ma MS
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